Collaborative Doctoral Awards

An image of IWM's new Collaborative Doctoral Award students

IWM supervises several Collaborative Doctoral Award students who are researching their PhDs through the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award Scheme.

CDAs offer the possibility for students to combine academic work leading to a doctorate with the acquisition of practical skills and work experience outside the university context. We can benefit from work on parts of the collections that have not previously been the subject of close study, resulting in improved access to those collections for the full range of IWM users.

Current students

Details about our current students and their research are listed here:

Current Student Research Profiles (PDF)

You can find out more information about students who have completed their PhD under the CDA scheme here:

Current and past CDA studenships (PDF)

You can also follow more about their research on our Research Blog.  

CDA testimonies

Hear from two of our students who have recently completed their PhDs on how they found the CDA experience.

Lizzie Oliver

For the last three years I was based at IWM and the University of Leeds as a Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) student. My PhD research focused on the life-writing of former prisoners of war (POWs) of the Japanese who were held captive on the island of Sumatra during the Second World War.

Working closely with materials held within IWM collections, I was able to explore the ways in which former POWs represented their experiences of captivity, whilst also shedding new light on a little known part of that history – the construction of the Sumatra Railway. I have also examined the transmission of these histories to younger generations, learning that the stories of captivity remain a pivotal and poignant legacy of the Second World War to this day.

For IWM, I had the privilege of cataloguing some of the materials I worked with, learning new archival skills to ensure that these papers are easily searchable by the public via the museum’s catalogue.

The CDA based at IWM offered a great opportunity to enrich my research, because I have been able to draw upon the many years’ expertise of researchers, curators and oral historians who are all here within the museum’s walls. I have met with staff from the Art Department, Photography, Documents and Sound, and Research; from IWM London, IWM Duxford and IWM North. Without having those conversations and tapping in to such diverse networks of knowledge and experience, it could have taken years to find the wonderful little treasures from IWM holdings that have enriched my thesis, supported (and challenged) my findings, and deepened my knowledge and respect for the personal histories that are preserved within its collections.

My article on immediate post-war responses to the Far Eastern story was published in a special issue of the Journal of War and Culture Studies in August 2014, and I am currently a Leeds Humanities Research Institute fellow, working on the Liddle collection. Beyond that, and since my academic background is in literary studies, I am particularly keen to combine my interest in archival research with a project looking at the exciting films and fictional narratives that are emerging from, and about, Southeast Asia. However, I believe that as a researcher I will continue to benefit from my time immersed in IWM collections, and learning from the experts here, for many years to come.

Chris Deal

Having spent the past three-and-a-half years exploring transcripts of Soviet radio broadcasts held in the BBC Monitoring Service archive at IWM Duxford, I felt elation, relief and a touch of sadness travelling home from my viva voce exam recently. Elation because I had 'passed', relief that I had no corrections and only needed to print out and bind a final copy for King’s College London library, and sadness that something that had been central to my life had finally ended.

From the moment my viva date was confirmed I had worked on preparing answers to potential questions, revised the relevant literature, and examined my methodology for any holes. The viva is seen as a worrying part of the PhD, and I must confess to being very nervous in the build-up, but it was a very valuable experience in which two interested academics read through and talked about different aspects of the work I had been doing over the past three years – personally I found my upgrade exam, after only a year, much harder.

My PhD experience has been both thoroughly enjoyable and highly educating – and not just through learning about the BBC Monitoring Service, Soviet radio and the Cold War! I remember the sense of trepidation I had wondering how I would write almost 100,000 words on one subject, or even talk at a conference about my work, and now I look back and think 100,000 words was not that hard to fill and I have enjoyed presenting and discussing my work at conferences in the UK and US.

Being a CDA student has certainly helped throughout my research – the access to the IWM archives I have been allowed made my research easier and faster to carry out and more enjoyable, and I have benefited from being able to attend meetings at IWM. These have provided real insight into the workings of the museum and, importantly, demonstrated the importance of research away from the university environment. It has also been a pleasure to regularly meet with my fellow IWM CDA and PhD students and hear about their work – I look forward to reading the outcomes of their research.

My PhD has shown me how much I enjoy archival research and I hope to remain within academic research in some form or other. Having finished, my current challenge is to work on publishing my thesis and other related material. Then perhaps I will be seen exploring other aspects of the BBC Monitoring Service archive or sat at a desk in The National Archives!

Current opportunities

IWM offers up to three studentships a year to study for a PhD jointly supervised by IWM and a UK Higher Education Institution, funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

Information for prospective academic partners

We will be recruiting academic partners for our 2017 studentships later this year. If you are from a UK Higher Education Institution and would be interested to hear about available opportunities to co-supervise a studentship with IWM please join our academic mailing list.

Information for prospective PhD students

Applications have now closed for our 2016 studentships. Our next round of student applications will open in spring 2017. We regret that we are unable to accept speculative applications.

No other PhD funding opportunities are currently available.

IWM is part of the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership consortium.