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PhD Studentship with the Royal Geographical Society on Indigenous Knowledge & Historical Photographs

  • Date06 February 2020

Rupununi re-collections: historical photographs, Indigenous knowledge and heritage in Guyana

AHRC PhD Studentship

Rupununi re-collections:

historical photographs, Indigenous knowledge and heritage in Guyana

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship on historical photographs, Indigenous knowledge and heritage in Guyana at Royal Holloway University of London, in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Kew Gardens. This award is made by the Science Museums & Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. The project, due to begin in September 2020, will be supervised by Professors Jay Mistry and Felix Driver at Royal Holloway University of London and Dr Catherine Souch at the RGS-IBG, with further advisory support available at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The Project

This project aims to reconnect historical photographs documenting Indigenous peoples and practices to contemporary initiatives concerning Indigenous knowledge and heritage development. Working in the Rupununi region of Guyana, the project will explore the use of significant photographic archives as a resource to enrich the understanding of Indigenous knowledge and practices, Indigenous heritage, identity and rights in contemporary Guyana. It will link work on Indigenous knowledge and memory with collections-based research, using methods of visual elicitation and digital repatriation in collaboration with the relevant Indigenous communities. The project combines (a) archival research in UK collections with (b) field-based photo-elicitation in the Rupununi. A participatory action research framework will allow research questions to be refined and addressed with participants in an iterative way to produce tangible benefits. The student will be encouraged to use participatory video as a way of creating new interpretative narratives. The possibility of a small-scale exhibition will also be considered in order to engage with wider audiences in Guyana.

A full project description is available here.

The Studentship

The studentship covers up to four years of maintenance stipend at the AHRC rate for collaborative awards in London (£17,835 per annum) plus fees. It also includes support for a range of training and professional development opportunities, expected to equate to between 3 and 6 months of the full project time. The CDP consortium offers a tailored programme of Cohort Development events, such as workshops and training days throughout the academic year. Funding is available from the CDP consortium to support CDP student travel and accommodation for Cohort Development events.

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in geography, anthropology, history or other relevant discipline and will need to satisfy AHRC eligibility requirements including Masters-level research training or equivalent. We particularly welcome candidates with prior experience in working with museum, photographic and/or archival collections, though others are encouraged to apply.

Please note that applicants must meet the current UK/EU residency requirements of AHRC, which usually requires that they have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to start of the award; EU residents may be eligible for fees-only awards.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit (1) a two-page curriculum vitae, including contact details of one academic referee, and (2) a 1-2 page letter outlining your qualification for the studentship to: Professor Jay Mistry, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX ( no later than 31 March 2020.

Any enquiries should be directed to Professor Jay Mistry ( or Professor Felix Driver (

Interviews are scheduled to be held at the RGS-IBG, provisionally on 16 April 2020.

Further Information

Full project details, click here.

PhD research in Geography at Royal Holloway:

Further information about RGS-IBG collaborative doctoral research:

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships:

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