PhD Studentship: True Colours: The effects of detergent use on the historic interpretation, understanding and conservation of museum textiles with the V&A and Open University

True Colours: The effects of detergent use on the historic interpretation, understanding and conservation of museum textiles (OU &V&A Museum, CDP 2019)

Supervisory team: Dr Simon Collinson, Dr Alex Forsey, Frances Hartog, Joanne Hackett

Ref: 12263

Based in The School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences (LHCS), The Open University, Milton Keynes

Three years from 1st October 2019

Stipend: £15,578 per year.

Conservation science is hugely important to preserving our cultural heritage and this PhD is a collaboration between the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum and the Open University. It involves analysing and improving current wet cleaning processes for museum textiles to ensure their longevity for future study. The current washing process involves the use of anionic and non-ionic detergents (i.e. surfactants) but the analytical science of any residues is poorly developed and little is known about the long-term effect of their use on museum textiles. This conservation science project will also evaluate how museum professionals balance display presentation against effective cleaning, placing this with the broader context of existing research on practices of museum display and interpretation. Further project details can be found at

Further information

This three-year research studentship is funded by the AHRC and is based at The Open University in Milton Keynes and provides a stipend of £15,578 per year. There is also a “Student Development Fund” equivalent to 0.5 years of optional additional funding. All academic fees (at UK/EU level) are covered. There will also be support for conference and workshop participation. The student would be required to live in the UK and within commuting distance of The Open University in Milton Keynes. Interested candidates will be expected to have a degree (classification 2:1, or higher) in chemistry, materials sciences, natural sciences, or a relevant subject. The ideal candidate would have a good background in analytical chemistry. Good numeracy, ICT, communication and organisation skills are highly desirable. For a suitable candidate part-time study may be available.


Informal enquiries relating to the project should be directed to Dr Simon Collinson (

How to Apply

Please send an email with your CV, a completed application form and a personal statement (outlining your suitability for the studentship, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date) to

Closing date: 5th June 2019

Interview date: Interviews will be arranged promptly after the closing date and can be conducted via Skype if appropriate.


LHCS holds Athena Swan Bronze Status. We promote diversity in employment and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

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