Dear CGF subscriber,
Please find below details of a Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to be undertaken at University of Glasgow in collaboration with Forest Research (Scotland) and the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
Do circulate project details to current or former masters students you know who might make for a suitable applicant.
Many thanks indeed,
Skies Above, Earth Below: Mapping the Values of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park
Arts and Humanities Research Council
‘Collaborative Doctoral Award’ PhD Studentship
The AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) studentship project centres on Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park (GFDSP), south-west Scotland, a designation granted in 2009 by the International Dark Sky Association in recognition of exceptionally dark night skies in a place where people have committed to keep the sky dark by controlling levels of artificial light pollution.
The project will treat the GFDSP area as a creative crucible for interdisciplinary research designed to examine:
* the local effects of dark sky park designation on land-use, community life, and the activities and future policy plans of a range of local stakeholders
* star-gazing and starry sky appreciation as contemporary cultural phenomena
* "the return of the dark" as a contemporary, creative condition of living in the region
The CDA Researcher will "map" the life of the GFDSP, seeking to understand the groups, organisations, and activities which have grown up around, and which continue to sustain it. The project combines methodological approaches drawn from cultural geography, the environmental humanities and citizen science movement. It will treat darkness and stargazing, respectively, as cultures worthy of critical investigation, generating an ethnographically informed understanding of the social lives, landscapes and environmental values of a Dark Sky Park.
Project fieldwork will trade in a mixed economy of words and walks, stories and secrets, maps and memories, skyforms and landforms. The project will gather rich, qualitative data about the diverse ways that darkness is differently dealt with, monitored, managed and mediated: in local communities; among astronomy enthusiasts at observatories and viewing platforms; and, through the working practices and ordinances of local authorities and land management agencies, principally the Forestry Commission.
The project is framed by an awareness that natural darkness is today an alien medium for the great majority of the UK population, and that the cultural losses arising from this ultra-modern form of environmental "blindness" are profound. It is also responsive to current celebrations of darkness, lighting and luminosity that are enjoying an international re-enlightenment. In declaring 2015 'International Year of Light', the United Nations recognised how the infinite choreographies of darkness and light affect the everyday experiences of people the world over. A range of scientific and artistic multidisciplinary international events dedicated to darkness resulted. As well as a surge in cultural activity exploring the dark and the celestial bodies it makes visible, there has been a resurgence of academic interest in the human experience of dark and light, with cultural geography and literary studies engaging with new conceptions of and ideas about the relationship between darkness and light, humanity and the cosmos. Ways of being-in-the-night have been documented, in terms of off-grid lifestyles, illuminated atmospheres and light festivals, and the staging of illumination as land-art. The project is also informed by literary investigations into the nature of various kinds and contexts of darkness from cultural histories of night-time, to the city at night, as well as questing after natural darkness, and astronomers' and poets’ readings of the night sky.
By working in collaboration with Forest Research, the CDA researcher will help to inform the Forestry Commission's contributions to professional networks, debates on environmental governance, sustainable tourism, and cultural ecosystem services: topics that express intangible values while also speaking to the everyday concerns of policymakers and managers on the ground. Public-facing project legacies will include an "Archive of Darkness" exhibition and specialist public reference “Library of the Starry Night” located at a GDSFP visitor centre, and the creation of novel research methodologies transferable to Dark Sky Areas internationally as a means of valuing and conserving natural darkness.
The CDA studentship will be joint-supervised, by a team combining academic, regional and non-academic areas of expertise, and representing different collaborating partner organisations:
* Professor Hayden Lorimer, Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow
* Dr David Borthwick, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow (Dumfries Campus)
* Dr David Edwards, Social and Economic Research Group, Forest Research, Edinburgh
* Keith Muir, Tourism and Communication, Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park
The project arrangements will enable the appointed student to take advantage of study opportunities offered on two University of Glasgow campuses (Gilmorehill and Dumfries), and at the premises of Forest Research and the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, the studentship will cover Home/EU tuition fees and a stipend towards living expenses. The stipend is set at £14,254 for 2016-17.
Funding is available for 3.5 years of full-time study (compared to a standard studentship of 3 years’ duration). The extended period of funding comprises a ‘Student Development Fund’ covering the final 0.5-year of studies. The Student Development Fund will enable the appointed student to undertake new development opportunities as part of the PhD programme. A further annual allocation of £500 (provided by Forest Research) is available in support of costs incurred during fieldwork activities.
The appointed student will also benefit from the personal and professional training opportunities provided by the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities:
How to Apply:
Applications for this AHRC CDA studentship are welcomed from candidates with undergraduate (high 2:1 or 1st class) degree and masters degree qualifications (or who are due to complete a Masters degree programme in 2016). Priority will be given to applicants with a Masters qualification in the following areas: human geography, environmental humanities, science studies, landscape studies, material culture, social anthropology, heritage and tourism studies.
Eligibility status: applicants must meet the residency criteria set out in the RCUK Conditions of Research Training Grants. These state that, in general, fully funded studentships are available to applicants who are settled in the UK and have been ordinarily resident for a period of at least three years before the start of postgraduate studies. EU nationals currently resident in the EEA are normally only eligible for fees-only awards (i.e. without stipend).
Applicants should supply the following:
- a CV
- degree transcripts
- covering letter which should detail the particular attributes and/or achievements making you a suitable candidate to undertake the proposed project
- two supporting letters of reference
- a sample of academic writing (i.e. a Masters-level assignment, approx. 2000-3000 words in length)
Informal inquiries can be directed to: [log in to unmask], or, [log in to unmask]
Applications must to be received by the deadline of 4pm, Friday April 29th 2016.
Applications should be sent to: [log in to unmask]
Short-listed candidates will be invited to interview at University of Glasgow, to be held in mid-May 2016.
The appointed student will commence registered studies at University of Glasgow on October 1st 2016.