Paratexts Seeking Understanding

Paratext Seeking Understanding - Call for Proposals


Drs Garrick Allen, Christoph Scheepers, and Kelsie Rodenbiker, directors of the Paratexts seeking Understanding project at the University of Glasgow, request applications for grants to fund subsidiary research that contributes to the broader goals of the project. Paratexts seeking Understanding tests the cognitive functions of paratextual elements found in ancient manuscript cultures, especially those of religious literatures, working to understand the ways that these ubiquitous features contribute to processes associated with the acquisition of knowledge and understanding through engagement with literary and visual artwork (aesthetic cognitivism).  


We seek applications to carry out philological research combined with empirical research on specific manuscripts or manuscript cultures, using the traditions preserved in the Chester Beatty, Dublin as a shared basis of analysis. Applications can engage Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist texts, particular manuscript cultures that reflect these traditions, or other manuscript cultures represented in the Chester Beatty collection.  


Subsidiary projects must explore the paratextuality of a particular manuscript or manuscript culture through philological research and through at least one empirical or experimental study, to be designed in consultation with the project’s Scientific Team, led by Christoph Scheepers. Applicants will agree to work with the project’s core Scientific Team based in Glasgow to execute the study and demonstrate an ability or willingness to work across disciplines.   


Applications should (1) identify a particular manuscript, manuscript culture, or tradition that will form the focus of the subsidiary project, (2) describe the paratextual features of that tradition that lend themselves to empirical study in the context of aesthetic cognitivism, and (3) clearly articulate a concrete research question (related to the project’s Guiding Questions) that lends itself to operationalization by the Scientific Team. Subgrantees will agree to work with the project scientific team to participate in the project’s public experimental space at the Chester Beatty in 2026.  


A background in the empirical sciences is not a requirement to apply. We seek philologists with a concrete research question relating art, knowledge, paratextuality, and manuscript cultures, who demonstrate an openness to collaborate across disciplines. 


Applications are due 15 April 2023 and results will be communicated on 15 May 2023. Submit application materials to with the subject line "Application Submission [applicant last name]."


Projects run for 36 months (from 1 October 2023). All subsidiary projects must be completed by 30 September 2026. Project activities can be allotted across the 36 months as necessary. For more information, see the application and application support tabs.

For any queries, please contact

 For more information on earlier stages of the project, see this video:

Insights Hidden in Plain Sight | Garrick Allen, Dublin City University