Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

The V&A awards up to three new studentships a year to support doctoral study at UK Universities, funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme.

Since 2005, the V&A has worked with UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Awards, delivering on a wide range of doctoral projects. As part of the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) consortium that began in 2014, we have been able to award a number of fully funded PhD studentships anually, each of which is jointly supervised by specialists at the V&A and a HEI. The HEI administers the studentship, receiving funds from the AHRC for fees and maintenance. The Museum provides additional financial support to the student towards travel and related costs. The programme is helping us to produce a new generation of scholars working between the academic and heritage sectors and we are proud to host a thriving postgraduate community. Further details on the CDP schemes are available from the AHRC and CDP Consortium websites.

Call for Expressions of Interest now open

The V&A invites Expressions of Interest from HEIs wishing to develop a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) project with the Museum for studentships starting in the academic year 2021 – 22.

The V&A welcomes expressions of interest from scholars wishing to develop CDP studentship projects of high quality, appropriate for collaborative study at doctoral level, which are relevant to AHRC subject areas and the V&A’s research priorities. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of Art, Design and Performance, and holds a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects. The Museum holds many of the UK's national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance. This year the Museum is particularly keen to encourage applications in the following areas:

  • Histories, cultures and practices of Photography
  • Digital humanities
  • Histories of collecting, including contested and ‘difficult histories’
  • Legacies of colonialism in the V&A’s collections
  • Embodied and other forms of museum-based learning
  • Museums and community engagement
  • Environmental humanities

Please note: Due to the major move in 2020 – 23 of collections from Blythe House in Olympia to a new purpose-built Collections and Research Centre in Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, we are not currently able to develop CDP proposals related to the following collections: Asia; Theatre & Performance; Fashion, Textiles or Furniture.

Studentship projects must be jointly proposed by a member of staff at the V&A and a colleague from a UK HEI. Students cannot submit proposals for projects, though supervisors can submit applications with a nominated student; those interested in following this route should consult the studentship FAQs below.

Completed Expressions of Interest must be submitted using the appropriate form to ahrcresearch@vam.ac.uk before the deadline of Wednesday 14 October 2020. These will be assessed by an internal panel at the V&A. Applicants will be informed of the panel's decision in early October and those that meet the academic requirements of the PhD and the V&A's research priorities will be supported in developing full-length proposals for a deadline of Friday 4 December 2020. The three successful CDP projects will be selected by an expert panel in January 2021 and studentships will be recruited to begin in Autumn 2021.

Please refer to the following guidance when preparing your application:

Please address any enquiries relating to the V&A's CDP scheme to: ahrcresearch@vam.ac.uk.

Information for prospective PhD students

Studentships at the V&A are advertised on the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership consortium webpage between January and June each year to start in the next academic year.