Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Art, Design, and Performance

Start dates

October 2020

Application deadline

4 May 2020

This project is now closed. The details below are for information purposes only.
View our current projects here.

Applications are invited for a fully-funded AHRC Collaborative PhD in Partnership with the Science Museum London to commence in October 2020.

The PhD will be based in the School of Art, Design and Performance, and will be supervised by Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan (Professor of Design History and Theory), Dr Laurel Forster (Reader in Cultural History), Dr Helen Peavitt (Curator of Consumer and Environmental Technology, Science Museum) and Nick Wyatt (Head of Libraries and Archives, Science Museum).

The project has been awarded an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) by the Science Museums and Archives Consortium (SMAC).

This studentship is funded for 3 years and 9 months (45 months) full time or part-time equivalent. The studentship has the possibility of being extended for 3 months to more provide professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months of funding be used to pay for the costs the student might incur in taking up professional development opportunities.

CDP students are expected to spend at least 3 to 6 months during their funded time or part-time equivalent on professional development. This can include appropriate placements, work experiences, and attending training courses. The use of this time will need to be agreed by the student with by co-supervisors to best support the individual student’s training requirements and professional development.

The student will need to submit their thesis within four years (48 months) of starting their studies, if studying full time. The successful candidate will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees and up to four years of maintenance stipend at the AHRC UK/EU rate for collaborative awards in (£16,885 for 2020/2021 per annum). The award is available full-time or on a part-time basis at 50% time.

The work on this project will involve

  • Training to conduct archival cataloguing and digitisation and to contribute object specific histories at Science Museum London 
  • Research on museum and archive collections
  • Developing oral history skills to interview present and former Kenwood employees and consumers
  • Developing skills in public engagement and outreach with a view to putting on events with the Science Museum London and contributing to interpretation and events at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant

This project will critically explore the design, mediation and consumption of Kenwood Manufacturing Company Ltd’s products. The student will focus on a yet unspecified period between its founding in 1947 to the present.

There will be a particular emphasis on demonstrations in shops, department stores, trade and public exhibitions, country and agricultural shows as a selling technique, a hitherto neglected area of study.

These mediation strategies will be compared and contrasted with the actual consumer experience of Kenwood products through oral and written testimonies. This will be set within the broader context of domestic appliance consumption and include a critical investigation of contemporary gendered and class identities of technologies and consumers.

The project draws on the Science Museum’s Kenwood and related holdings. Based at the University of Portsmouth, the student will have access to nearby archives at Kenwood’s Havant headquarters and research material from the recent HLF funded exhibition and documentary film ‘Kenwood in Havant’ at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre.

The student will build object histories of design, mediation, circulation and use, providing valuable insights that will help the Science Museum in informing the development of a model for future displays, interpretation and collecting strategies.

Entry Requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Applicants must meet the current UK/EU residency requirements of AHRC, which usually requires that they have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to start of the award; EU residents may be eligible for fees-only awards.

We welcome candidates with a background in: Design History; History of Technology; Social, Cultural, Public and Women’s History; Historical and Cultural Geography; Cultural and Media Studies; Anthropology. Experience of working with museums and archive collections and/or oral history would be especially welcome. Candidates invited for interview will be expected to submit a sample of written work.

How to apply

Please contact Prof Deborah Sugg Ryan ( who can give you full details of the project and discuss your interest.

When you're ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

Please note, to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code AD&P5440420 when applying.