British Association for South Asian Studies

News & Events

27 May 2020

AHRC Collabortaive Doctoral Programme- studentship

 Deadline:  9th June  2020

Start date1 October 2020

Interviews are likely to take place on Friday 26 June at the British Museum if permitted by then, otherwise online.

The University of Lincoln and the British Museum are pleased to announce the availability of a fully-funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from October 2020 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme. We encourage applications from suitable candidates with relevant experience, as well as coming from an academic background. This studentship can be studied full or part-time.

This project explores the critical role that women played in collecting objects from South Asia during the colonial and post-colonial eras, highlighting the agency of women of all backgrounds in the formation of museum collections and knowledge production.

This project will be jointly supervised by Dr Sarah Longair and Dr Sushma Jansari and the student will be expected to spend time at both the University of Lincoln and the British Museum, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.

Project Overview 

This project will investigate the lives, collections, activities, writings, and networks of women collectors and donors of material culture from South Asia to the British Museum and other collections in the UK. It will explore how and why women collected objects and what motivated them, how they acquired knowledge about their collections and the dynamics of their donation of objects to museums.

With a focus on objects from South Asia, this project will be set in a colonial and/or post-colonial context, during which South Asian, British, and later British South Asian women negotiated the challenges of living under the British Empire and its aftermath. It will make an important and original contribution to our understanding of the British Museum as well as other institutions, demonstrating how gender, race, and empire influenced the forging of collections. It will examine how far collecting and engagement with material culture was a means for women to establish their own network, and how these factors aligned with or challenged racial and social divides in imperial and post-imperial settings.

Using the British Museum as a starting point, it will trace the lives of selected women and their collections and donations to the British Museum and other UK museums. Objects themselves will be studied as well as associated archival material. Personal papers and publications will shed further light on the way in which women collected and donated, the networks within which they acted, intermediaries who assisted them, and how this knowledge was disseminated. The research will require the student to spend time researching at the British Museum, along with other museums and archives.

Research questions include:

  • Which women collected in South Asia and what was their role in colonial/post-colonial society?
  • Where and how did they acquire objects, and what motivated them?
  • What informed the decisions of women vendors and donors when passing on collections to museums, and what tensions existed in this process?
  • How distinctive were their collecting patterns – i.e. are their collections representative or exceptional?

Details of Award

CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (3.75 years) or part-time equivalent. The studentship has the possibility of being extended for an additional 3 months to provide professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months of funding may be used to pay for the costs the student might incur in taking up professional development opportunities.      

The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home/EU UKRI rate for PhD degrees. Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2020/21 is £4,407.

The award pays full maintenance for UK citizens and residents only. The Doctoral Stipend for 2020/21 for this award is £16,885 per year. In addition, the British Museum will cover research expenses up to £1,000 per year. 

Further details can be found on the UKRI website:

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


  • 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 Master's-level qualification, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting. Suitable disciplines are flexible, but might include History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, or Museum Studies.
  • 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 of Lincoln and the British Museum

All applicants must meet the AHRC’s academic criteria and residency requirements:

How to Apply

To apply for this studentship, please follow the link and prepare the following documents:

  • CV (maximum 2 sides A4)
  • Covering letter describing your reasons for wishing to undertake this project, how your prior experience prepares you for this studentship, how you would refine the project based on your interests and experience, and a proposed research plan (maximum 3 sides of A4).

Those called for interview will be asked to prepare a presentation.

Apply Now

Please arrange for two references to be sent directly to

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

All new CDP students will be expected to attend the CDP Student Launch Event on Monday 21 September 2020 at the British Museum.


Please contact Dr Sarah Longair for informal questions about the studentship