PhD Studentship Available. Animating the Evacuee Archive: Memory and Materiality

PhD Studentship
Collections Based-Research Programme

Project title:  Animating the Evacuee Archive: Memory and Materiality

Department:  Film, Theatre & Television

Supervisors:   Dr Teresa Murjas and Dr Lisa Purse

Project Overview:  

The Evacuee Archive is a historically significant collection. The largest of its kind in the UK, it contains a wealth of autobiographical documentation produced by a range of socially and culturally diverse Second World War child evacuees from the UK to a variety of national and international destinations, including – via the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (CORB) – South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. It also contains material garnered from individuals involved in evacuation processes. The archive holds strong potential for investigating how personal experiences and memories interlock with local, national and international events and political decision-making, and with related publicly rehearsed historical narratives and ideological discourses. It also provides rich opportunities for reflecting on how the experience of being evacuated has impacted longer term on individuals and their families. The available documentation includes written testimonies, diaries, letters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and a variety of ephemera, such as, for example, ships’ menus.

We invite applications from appropriately qualified candidates in any relevant discipline, including theatre, museum studies, history, performance, film and media studies. You should have an interest in socio-political histories and their documentation. The project framework proposes practice-led doctoral research that will engage with, intervene in and animate aspects of this archive within a range of publicly accessible spaces, thus shaping and re-routing it via a hybridized range of potentially interactive events. An inter-disciplinary practitioner might approach investigation of the archive via a number of strategic routes. These could, for example, be conceptualized (auto) biographically, thematically (e.g. the intersection of personal and cultural memory), or by categorizing types of sources. The materials available within the archive lend themselves to critical investigation via a multi-media approach, given both their status as material objects and the fact that they constitute narrative traces or fragments of personal experience, but this is not a priority, and other modes of exhibition and public engagement will be equally viable.

The critical frameworks and practical outcomes of the PhD research will be informed by, and interlock with, an important new cross-institutional project funded by the Arts Council, in which the supervisors are involved. This focuses on themes of war and conflict. This project also engages with the University of Reading cross-departmental research theme Minorities: Rights and Representation

Applicants should indicate their proposed scope, methodology and lines of enquiry in relation to the collection and any relevant skills, knowledge and experience. We would expect the successful applicant to have significant input into the final shape of the PhD project. The Department of Film, Theatre & Television is housed in the new Minghella Building, offering enviable practical facilities and dedicated technical support. Each subject area has its own specialised production space, but all spaces are multifunctional, reimagining the boundaries between media and enabling cross-disciplinary work. This environment provides an ideal context for our well established, thriving practice-as-research culture.


  • Applicants should hold a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject.
  • Due to restrictions on the funding this fees only studentship is only open to candidates from the UK/EU.

Funding Details:

  • Start date: October 2013
  • Duration: 3 years; part-time applicants are also invited
  • Value of award: a fees only studentship is available, in addition to a backing grant of £1000 per annum for equipment/placement/outreach support (or part-time equivalent).
  • One off bursary of £3000 in first year

Placement: The studentship offers a placement at UMASCS working on an engagement and access project connected to the Reading at War exhibition and programme.

Teaching Opportunities: A suitably qualified candidate will be offered teaching opportunities on the Department’s undergraduate degree programme.

How to apply:  To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Film and Drama to the University.  Go to: for more information and to apply online.

Please quote the reference CBR-5 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your online application.

Application Deadline:  31st July 2013

Contact information