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Chance to study Paralympics and curate exhibition with new PhD scholarship


The chance to study the story of the Paralympics in the UK and put together an exhibition is being offered in a new postgraduate scholarship.

The fully-funded PhD is a collaboration between De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT).


Margaret Toronto, 1976, Image courtesy of Margaret Maughan

Based at the NPHT’s offices in Aylesbury, the student will have access to all the archives to tell – for the first time – the visual history of the sports.

Details of the project are here and the deadline for applications is 14 January 2020.

It will be supervised by Dr Beatriz Pichel of DMU’s Photographic History Research Centre and Associate Professor Dr Heather Dichter, of DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture and programme leader of the university’s Business Management in Sport MSc.

Dr Pichel said that the work would focus on the daily lives of disabled athletes not just famous faces, and have an opportunity to bring the NPHT touring exhibition to Leicester, curating its content to adapt it to local communities in the Midlands.

She said: “It’s not just an interesting PhD project. It will give the student so many skills – academic research, curating an exhibition and finding these incredible stories.

We supervise a lot of students on this kind of collaborative scholarship – we have current students based at the V&A and the National Science and Media Museum.”

The work will start just after the 2020 Paralympics close and finish as the Paris Paralympics begin in 2024. It is part of the Midlands4Cities programme which aims to increase the numbers of scholars studying the arts and humanities at universities across the region.

“The student will have the opportunity to get not only history PhD training but also they will have the heritage and exhibition training as well,” said Dr Dichter. “There are many different routes into this - applicants can have backgrounds in sports history, disability history, photographic history, or British history.

“The Midlands has a very rich Paralympic tradition, we have so many national governing bodies who are based here and we are very excited to be working with the NPHT on this project.”

The Midlands4Cities programme offers supervision, training, mentoring and career support to applicants. Midlands4Cities Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) is an AHRC-funded collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, De Montfort University, University of Leicester, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.

The M4C Doctoral Training Partnership is awarding up to 94 PhD studentships in arts and humanities for 2020 entry through, and 15 Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) which provide fully funded project opportunities with partner organisations over a four-year period. Two of those 15 collaborative projects will be held at DMU.

Posted on Wednesday 27th November 2019

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