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BCLA: Applied Research Collaborative Studentship

This Applied Research Collaborative Studentship, supported by the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities (SGSAH), offers a position for an interdisciplinary PhD researcher to contribute to the development of a ‘Literature House’ for Edinburgh, in partnership with the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, and researchers at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust was established in 2004, the first city to receive the designation. It is now one of 39 cities of literature across 28 countries, and occupies a leading role in the international network supported by UNESCO. Building on 16 years of success promoting Edinburgh’s literary history, supporting new Scottish writing, and leading the way for newly-designated cities of literature around the world, the Trust is now undertaking a new project, establishing a ‘Literary Quarter’ on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to give literary activities a permanent physical presence for the benefit of residents and visitors. In partial fulfilment of this aim, the Trust is repurposing the historic John Knox House as a ‘Literature House’ as a focus for Scottish writing (

The Trust has partnered with researchers at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Edinburgh to develop the Literature House and Literary Quarter as immersive digitally-mediated experiences, drawing on forefront research in the Digital and Public Humanities. The Trust wants to deepen this partnership by appointing a PhD researcher who can support achievement of their strategic goals. This PhD researcher will situate the Edinburgh Literature House within the history of such institutions, to establish a context for an investigation of how the Literature House can now meet the needs of communities and stakeholders in an era of rapid technological change. The PhD project will involve historical and theoretical research, and the gathering and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data regarding user and stakeholder attitudes, expectations and modes of engagement. It will also involve analysis of how digital capabilities might be used within the Literature House to fulfil strategic objectives, engaging users at local, national and global levels. Alongside academic research, this studentship includes six months on placement with the City of Literature Trust, participating in planning and delivery for the initial public launch of the Literature House, and contributing to community engagement activities.

This PhD studentship, which includes fees and a stipend for maintenance costs for 3.5 years of study, is jointly funded by SGSAH, Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh, and the UNESCO City of Literature Trust. The student will be formally enrolled at Edinburgh Napier University, and co-supervised by a team of three project partners from ENU, UoE and UNESCO. The student will also participate in training and events organised the SGSAH.

The Studentship start date is 1st March 2021. Applications should be submitted by 5 pm on 1st November 2020 via Edinburgh Napier University’s Research Degrees website, following the link for full-time application to Creative Industries: Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview, likely by online videoconference.