AHRC PhD studentship in collaboration with Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales.

Project title: Exploring the potential of online collections for sustainable creative communities and practices

Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from 1 October 2022 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

The project focuses on Amgueddfa Cymru’s new website for contemporary art in Wales as a case study for understanding how online collections can be used and shared to stimulate creative practice, and how cultural institutions can learn from these digital practices.

This project will be jointly supervised by Dr. Jenny Kidd and Dr. Bronwen Colquhoun and the student will be expected to spend time at both Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.

Application Deadline: 23rd May [Interviews week commencing 6th June]
Start date: 1st October 2022

Project Overview 
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the activities and operations of cultural institutions worldwide have necessarily been oriented around digital – and in some instances blended – practices and experiences. Institutions have had to quickly adapt to generating content for the digital environment and to roll out new initiatives that expand visitor experiences beyond museum walls. This ‘pivot’ presented opportunities for more expansive and playful digital practices but has also shed light on a number of issues related to digital inequalities and the longer-term sustainability of that work in economic, environmental and community terms (Kidd, Nieto McAvoy and Ostrowska 2021). As we debate the digital futures of our creative and cultural lives, there is a pressing need to understand and respond more comprehensively to these opportunities and challenges.

The student will take a case study approach to Amgueddfa Cymru’s new website for contemporary art in Wales (produced in collaboration with Welsh Government and Arts Council Wales). The Virtual Art Collection project (working title) will include not only artworks from the Amgueddfa Cymru collection, but the work of creatives across Wales, giving those artists a voice and an internationally significant platform. This new initiative is the culmination of a major digitisation project that aims to share Amgueddfa Cymru’s visual art collection more widely with the people of Wales and international audiences. Crucially, the website will incorporate functionality that aims to encourage deeper levels of engagement and interaction with content. This may include the creation of personal collections, games, and opportunities for users to post and share creative responses to artworks. 
The student will work with a number of user (and potentially non-user) groups alongside the development and soft launch of this new resource to investigate its real-world capacity to inspire creative practice and community engagement, as well as any persistent barriers to its use, once ‘in the wild’. Groups already involved in the consultation, and who could be included through this participatory action research approach include; formal education settings such as schools, colleges and universities, artists, arts organisations and artist collectives, and community groups including Disability Arts Cymru, Platform, Engage Cymru, National Theatre Wales TEAM outreach programme, Race Council Cymru, Amgueddfa Cymru Youth Forum, Amgueddfa Cymru Producers and museum volunteers). The student will also conduct interviews with members of staff at Amgueddfa Cymru and other cultural institutions to explore institutional perspectives on evolving digital practices, priorities, and experiences post-pandemic. 
The research will be cross- and interdisciplinary, contributing to the fields of Museum Studies, Digital Heritage, Digital Humanities and Art History. It will make an original and evidence-based contribution to debates about how to open collections and extend access beyond institutions, how to do so in ways that foreground responsible and user-centred innovation, and how to meaningfully harness the potentials of participatory culture and user creativity within museum and heritage contexts. It will do so by working in close proximity to a unique, rich and timely case study.

Research questions might include:

  • As we emerge from the pandemic, what have museums learned about digital practices that are accessible, participatory, and sustainable?
  • Going forward, how can online collections be used to stimulate creative practices that are ethical and user-centred? 
  • Which methods best capture, and allow for nuance in reflection upon, those practices?
  • How can these insights inform – and challenge – the broader suite of online, offline and hybrid activities museums now facilitate?

Details of Award

The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2022/2023 is £4,596 *

The award pays full maintenance for all students both home and international students. The UKRI National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2022/2023 is £16,062, *plus a CDP maintenance payment of £550/year.

The student is eligible to receive an additional travel and related expenses grant during the course of the project courtesy of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales worth up to £350 per year for 3.75 years (45 months).

The project can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.

The successful candidate will be able to participate in CDP Cohort Development events.


This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants. To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

Further guidance can be found here –  https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/UKRI-030221-Guidance-International-Eligibility-Implementation-training-grant-holders-V2.pdf

We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply.

Applicants should ideally have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting. Suitable disciplines are flexible, but might include Cultural and Museum Studies, Digital Heritage, Digital Humanities, Art History and Sociology.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the museum sector and potential and enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in related areas.

As a collaborative award, students will be expected to spend time at both the University and Amgueddfa Cymru.

How to apply
Applicants should submit a full application to Cardiff University here and include: 

  • Covering letter outlining suitability for the studentship and approach to the research project (max. two pages).
  • Curriculum vitae (max. two pages).
  • Sample of writing from either academic assignment/publication OR museum interpretation/publication (1,500 to 8,000 words).
  • Transcripts of undergraduate and masters qualifications (or evidence of equivalent).
  • Details of two referees, at least one of which should be able to provide an academic reference.

Further Enquiries
For further enquiries, feel free to contact Dr Jenny Kidd kiddjc2@cardiff.ac.uk.