AHRC Collaborative PhD Studentship Announcement: ‘Ground-breaking: Community Heritage in Glasgow’s allotments’

Issued: Wed, 22 May 2013 08:42:00 BST

The University of Glasgow’s School of Humanities and School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, in partnership with the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS), are pleased to announce a three-year PhD Studentship under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) Scheme, to begin 1 October 2013. The award covers Home/EU tuition fees and provides a maintenance award of at least £13,726 per annum, and some research and training expenses, for three years. Applications for the studentship are due no later than Wednesday 19 June 2013.

The Research Project

This collaborative and interdisciplinary doctoral research project considers the relationship between past, present, and future in the role of allotments within urban spatial and community structures, focusing on the case study of Glasgow. Glasgow has a rich heritage of allotments, dating to the last quarter of the nineteenth century and thriving today, constructed on reserves, both intentional and inadvertent, of land in the rapidly growing city. There are currently 32 allotment sites in Glasgow, comprising approximately 1200 individual plots, with the prospect of more coming into existence and benefiting from the lessons of earlier sites. The Scottish Government is currently carrying out a consultation on allotment legislation, demonstrating the timeliness of this topic for further research.

Drawing primarily on the disciplines of History and Geography, the project will reveal the ways in which allotments in Glasgow provide a lens onto the broader development of the city, rather than a retreat from it. For example, the 'origin stories' of the specific gardens show the predominant social and political concerns of particular eras, whether World War I-era Victory Gardens; the establishment of the Friends-led Scottish Allotment Scheme for the Unemployed during the 1930s economic depression; the provision of fresh food and interventions into family diets common in gardens founded in the 1970s; and the grassroots community organisation at the heart of groups, such as South Seeds, working today. Focusing on these specific small-scale landscapes, the allotment project will consider both the natural resources of urban environments and the ways in which urban form is imprinted in miniature on these 'green' spaces.

There is considerable scope for the CDA researcher to shape the project according to their scholarly interests and academic background; for example, the project could focus in depth on themes such as: environmental activism; social, economic, and class relations in the industrial city; produce, nutrition, health and well being; or landscape design and urban planning.

Overarching these thematic emphases is a core set of questions:

  • When, where, and why were specific allotments founded, and to what extent have these been tied together across the space of the city?
  • How have the spaces and their intended uses developed over time?
  • What kinds of horticultural, social, political, and economic communities have emerged within and across the city’s allotments?
  • How do differing communities interact with and adapt local gardening habitats?
  • What is the heritage of these allotments, in the eyes of both plot holders and the broader public?
  • How can this heritage be harnessed to ensure the future of both specific allotment sites and the broader allotment movement?

The Collaboration

The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS) is an educational and public advocacy organisation for allotment sites and plot-holders across Scotland. SAGS represents council-owned, private, and community sites, with varied land ownership and site management relations, as well as a remarkably diverse range of gardeners. The aims of SAGS are to protect existing sites and advocate for new allotment spaces; preserve skills in gardening and design; and promote the value—in the broadest sense—of allotments.

Working with SAGS will enable the CDA student to create a comprehensive historical and geographical survey of Glasgow's allotment gardens. Carrying out archival research on the allotments' histories, geographical fieldwork, and/or oral history interviews, the CDA researcher will contribute to SAGS’ ambitious community heritage strategy of the partner organisation). This strategy recognises the importance of learning from the past and promoting local heritage as a means of securing the future of allotments, for which there is a growing demand in the 21rst century, as well as empowering the communities that surround allotment sites. In particular, the CDA student will contribute to the ongoing Glasgow Allotment Heritage Project, and participate in a range of educational, outreach, and advocacy initiatives.

Within the University of Glasgow, the CDA student will be welcomed into a range of dynamic research communities across the School of Humanities and the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, including the newly-formed, postgraduate-led Landscape Discussion Group.

Academic Supervisors

The Student

This studentship will be of interest to applicants with backgrounds in a range of disciplines and subject areas, including (but not limited to) cultural, social, and environmental history; historical and cultural geography; and horticulture, landscape, and cultural heritage studies. Applicants should hold (or expect to achieve in 2013) a Masters degree with Merit or Distinction and an undergraduate degree with first-class or upper second-class honours in a relevant field.

The studentship is governed by the terms and conditions of AHRC postgraduate studentships. Applicants must therefore have a relevant connection with the United Kingdom, usually through residence. For full details of eligibility, please see the AHRC’s Guide to Student Funding.

How to Apply

Applications should include the following materials:

  • CV
  • Covering letter describing in detail your interest in and suitability for undertaking this project
  • An example of scholarly work up to 4000 words in length (e.g. coursework essay, or a dissertation chapter)
  • Degree transcripts (this may be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • 2 academic references (these may be sent directly from your referees if they would prefer)

Please send application materials to Christelle.LeRiguer@glasgow.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Allotment CDA Application.’



Further Information

further info

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