The following exciting interdisciplinary four-year scholarships are currently available.

  1. Comparison of painting lining methods for historic house environments

This research project will investigate the risks posed by historic house environments on the physical integrity of lined canvas paintings. The research is intended to break new ground in terms of non-invasively monitoring the physical stresses occurring at the paint/canvas interface, through coupling mechanical analysis with spectroscopic and relaxation techniques, it will provide a means of condition assessment of paintings on open display. Current re-lining treatments will be assessed in terms of performance in uncontrolled environments with the ultimate aim of formulating best practice guidelines.

Application deadline: Open until filled.

  1. Strain modelling in historical tapestries

This project, co-funded by Historic Royal Palaces and developed in collaboration with IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, will investigate the effect of environmentally-induced strains on the potential structural deterioration of the historical textile tapestry collections at Hampton Court Palace. The project will seek to understand how humidity and temperature influence the strain distribution in these tapestries based on innovative real-time strain monitoring and analytical structural modelling. The results of this research will inform the preservation management of these culturally valuable objects.

Application deadline: Open until filled.

  1. CFD modelling of dust in the built environment: sources, transport and deposition

The challenging project will look at the processes of ingress, generation, transport, deposition and resuspension of particulate matter and compare domestic and heritage indoor environments using computational fluid dynamics, as well as by extensive monitoring. This will lead to a better understanding of the dynamics of particulate matter and of the evolution of its concentration in air, as well as its accumulation on surfaces, associated with maintenance costs. The project is supported by Dyson Ltd and has been developed in collaboration with the National trust.

Application deadline: Open until filled.

  1. ‘Wet walls’: Developing 4D moisture survey techniques for historic buildings

Moisture ingress is a serious problem for many historic buildings, as it can cause severe deterioration. Whilst several specialist techniques are available to estimate the moisture contents of building materials, they have generally only been used individually to provide 2D snapshots. This innovative project, co-funded by Historic Scotland and developed in association with Consarc Design Group, will develop combined methods to visualise the spatial distribution of moisture and its temporal dynamics. The results will be used to improve understanding of moisture problems and enable the development of better conservation solutions.

Application deadline: Open until filled.

  1. Extracting epidemiological data from collections

The project addresses the slowly accumulating material change on heritage objects caused by environmental agents of deterioration (specifically temperature and humidity). The hypothesis is that functions of material change can be derived from historic climate data and object documentation obtained over long periods of time, but that greater precision and lower uncertainty could be obtained by gathering real time data captured at higher frequency including
photography, potentially acquired through crowd-sourcing. This exceptionally exciting project is supported by the Getty Conservation Institute and is in collaboration with English Heritage.

Application deadline: Open until filled.

  1. Spectrally dependent light sensitivity of modern materials

Modern materials narrate the story of the 20th century. The project will look into the light sensitivity of modern art and heritage materials, specifically into how the photodegradation of modern materials is spectrally dependent. A photodegradation chamber with a spectrally adjustable light source will be constructed and used to understand how the spectral distribution of illuminants can be adjusted to improve the appearance of degraded objects to museum visitors. The challenging and exciting doctoral project has been developed in collaboration with Philips Research and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Application deadline: 2 September 2014, 5pm.

  1. Collection Surveys as Part of Library Document Supply Chain

The project will look at how memory institutions could gather data about the ‘health’ of their collections using the recent developments in near infrared spectroscopy. The premise of this project is that if in a library the surveying step is integrated in the document supply chain i.e. from repository to reader, significant amounts of data could be collected at minimal cost and thus readily available for the purpose of preservation management. This exciting project has been developed in collaboration with Lichtblau e.K., The Bodleian Library and the Library of Congress.

Application deadline: Open until filled.

  1. Mass digitization and metadata enrichment of 3D cultural heritage artefacts by automatic and user-based metadata acquisition

The project will look at the state-of-the-art ‘conveyor belt’ approach to high fidelity 3D digitization of complex cultural artefacts. Effective management and exploration of collections depends on the acquisition not just of the artefacts themselves, but also of semantic metadata, providing annotation of, and linkage between, acquired assets in the collection. This PhD project aims to explore the potential for the application of mass digitization technology in cultural heritage organisations, and to develop tools and techniques for the enrichment of collections with metadata by automatic and user-based acquisition. This exceptional project has been developed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research and the Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums.

Application deadline: Open until filled.

Before applying, please check the eligibility criteria.

Deadlines for applications have passed for the following 2014/2015 opportunities:

  1. Online Collections Modelling Tool

In the last decade, environmental and energy concerns have led to widespread re-examination of scientific evidence supporting environmental guidelines for heritage collections. This project, co-funded by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Conservation Institute, will develop computational modelling of damage processes as a key tool to provide such evidence, through an open online platform enabling users to interactively upload, visualise and examine data. By engaging with conservation practitioners, case studies will be developed promoting the development of preventive conservation guidelines.

  1. Lighting Policies for Collections using Microfadeometry

The project will examine the suitability of microfadeometry as a technique to develop object- and collection-specific lighting guidelines. Based on the principles of sustainability, suitable guidelines will be developed for the choice of light sources, as well as for what could be the acceptable level of light damage in the long-term, and an online tool will be developed to assist in decision making about light levels during exhibitions. The project is co-funded by the Wellcome Collections and has been developed in collaboration with Townshend and Thomas LLP.

  1. Mortars for controlling moisture problems in damp towers

Many historic buildings in exposed locations suffer from damp problems caused by driving rain. This project, co-funded by English Heritage and developed in association with the Churches Conservation Trust, will evaluate to what extent and how pointing mortars can solve these problems. Through close liaison with consultant stonemasons and other practitioners, the research will investigate the importance of mortar mixes and application techniques. The project will involve a developmental sequence of laboratory and field experiments, as well as monitoring of real buildings and numerical modelling simulations. The research results will be translated into improved advice for managing driving rain problems in historic buildings.

We hope to be announcing the successful candidates very soon.

SEAHA will support your career along three typical paths. If there are no current opportunities available that align with your research interests, you can register interest by sending an email to the SEAHA Manager.

Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts Heritage and Archaeology