PhD Studentship: The People’s Friend? Recovering Scottish Popular Magazine Culture – with National Library of Scotland and the University of Strathclyde

The People’s Friend? Recovering Scottish Popular Magazine Culture

Fully-funded AHRC Collaborative PhD Studentship, 36 months, from 1 October 2018

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded collaborative PhD to research Scottish popular magazine culture, with a particular focus on the period from the founding of the People’s Friend (1869) to the 1930s. The studentship is a fully-funded award under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme made through the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium (of which the National Library of Scotland is a member).

The studentship will commence on 1 October 2018 and last for three years. Student Development Funding (equivalent to an additional 6 months funding) will also be available to allow time for further training and skills development opportunities that are agreed as part of the PhD programme. It is expected that this will take the form of a six month placement at the Library in the relevant curatorial teams in the Department of Collections & Research.

The project will be supervised by Professor Kirstie Blair and Dr David Goldie (University of Strathclyde) and Dr Graham Hogg (National Library of Scotland). The student would be based both at the Library and in the School of Humanities at the University of Strathclyde, as part of a strong cohort of students working in Scottish studies, periodical and magazine culture, and nineteenth/early twentieth -century studies.

The Library has a very significant and under-researched archive of Scottish popular magazines from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Investigating how these magazines constructed a specifically Scottish sense of identity and culture, the project will explore their lasting influence and significance within wider British and international publishing contexts. Through this partnership, the student will also investigate and develop expertise in the issues involved in digitisation, and act as an adviser on the Library’s periodical digitisation programme through a built-in six month placement at the Library. Besides reconsidering a vital aspect of Scotland’s literary heritage, then, the PhD will also include reflection on questions of ‘recovery’ and digitization, considering how this archive connects to reading communities today. D. C. Thomson of Dundee are additional partners on this studentship, and the student will also have the opportunity to work with the D. C. Thomson archivist on events centred on Dundee’s popular magazine culture, including celebrations of the People’s Friend 150th anniversary in 2019.

How to Apply

Applicants should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject area in the Humanities (e.g. English, History, Scottish studies) and a Masters degree in a relevant field either completed or about to be completed. The student also needs to satisfy AHRC residency eligibility criteria. International students are not eligible to apply. Students with residency in EU countries other than the UK may apply, but will be eligible for a fees-only award rather than full funding. The full studentship award for students with UK residency* includes fees and a stipend of £14, 777 per annum for three years. The Student Development Fund (equivalent to 0.5 years of stipend payments) will supply funding for an additional six-month internship at the Library. In addition, the Library will supply up to £1000 per year to contribute towards travel and related research expenses.

Applicants should submit a CV, a sample of academic writing (no more than 1500 words) and a cover letter describing reasons for applying, previous research experience, and justifying your suitability for the award. The names and contact details of two academic referees should also be supplied. Applications should be sent to Kirstie Blair ( and Graham Hogg ( Informal enquiries can be sent to Kirstie Blair ( The closing date for applications to be received is Friday 17 May 2018. Interviews will be held in late May/early June.

*UK residency means having settled status in the UK, i.e. there is no restriction on how long you can stay in the UK; and having been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship, that is you must have been normally residing in the UK apart from temporary or occasional absences; and not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purposes of full-time education

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