New PhD studentship on uncertainty and ambiguity in conservation documentation

TECHNE AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award - Announcement
Ligatus, University of the Arts London and The National Archives
Invitation for PhD applications

Project Title: Observing uncertainty: ambiguity in conservation documentation and its implications for the care of collections

Location: London

Funding for: Home and International Fee Status (International applicants will be asked to pay the balance between the home fee award and the international fee charged by their home institution)

Funding amount: Tuition fees and annual maintenance equivalent to £17285.00

Duration: 3 years full-time/6 years part time

Requirements: Undergraduate and postgraduate qualification in conservation or conservation science or information science, skills in computing, condition surveys, book and paper conservation or equivalent experience.

Programme start: October 2021

Application deadline: 9:00 1st of March 2021

Interviews: week beginning the 8th of March 2021

TECHNE submission: 19th of March 2021

The University of the Arts London (UAL) and The National Archives are pleased to offer an AHRC TECHNE Collaborative Doctorate Award (CDA) which aims to explore uncertainty in conservation documentation records and how it affects decision-making in collection care. We invite applications from those with an interest in the archives and cultural heritage sector who would like to undertake PhD study. This project will examine how documented uncertainty can be understood, and propose methods of processing historical documentation records containing uncertainty indicators. This will be primarily based on the conservation documentation records of The National Archives. As this is a collaborative award, the successful candidate will be expected to spend time at both the University of the Arts London and The National Archives.

Ligatus has been leading research in conservation documentation since 2003 building on the success of projects such as the condition survey of the manuscripts and printed books of the Library of the St. Catherine Monastery in Sinai, Egypt, the Language of Bindings thesaurus, the digitisation and survey of the archive of the artist John Latham and more recently the Linked Conservation Data project. UAL has a leading and coordinating role in collaborative work by a large community of experts in the fields of bookbinding history, conservation documentation, information and computer science. UAL’s research is assessed as being 83% World Leading and International in the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) for Art & Design, History, Practice, Theory; is ranked a top 5 research university in its broader peer group in the UK and first in the Power ranking for Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory category.

The National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, and for England and Wales; its mission is to collect and preserve the record of Government, to use expertise and knowledge to connect people with history through our collections (spanning 1000 years and both physical and digital formats), and to lead, partner and support archives at home and worldwide. Alongside underpinning research for millions of people through access to our records, as an Independent Research Organisation, TNA has a strong commitment to innovative and sector-leading research in the understanding of physical and digital archival collections and practice. The Collection Care Department (CCD) is a hub for student training and continuing professional development, and an incubator for challenge-led research, where conservators and heritage scientists work collectively to co-create projects and address topics relevant to book, paper, photograph, and textile conservation. The teams are involved in developing innovative research and evidence-based policy on the preservation, conservation, access, and documentation of iconic items as well as large scale archival collections and their related datasets.

It is important to us that our organisation is more diverse, so we encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and identities. We’re especially keen to hear from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates who are currently under-represented.

UAL diversity policy:

TNA diversity policy:

Please note that interviews will be held online via Microsoft Teams.

Further details:


For questions please contact Dr Athanasios Velios: