iLocal News Archives

Caribbean literary heritage: recovering the lost past and safeguarding the future Ref: 2637

About the award

Applications are invited for 2 fully-funded PhD studentships to work on a project on Caribbean Literary Heritage funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The studentships are for 39 months starting 1 October 2017 and provide full tuition fees at UK/EU rate, a generous tax-free stipend of approximately £14,000, training support and access to funding for research trips. The award is renewable over annually, subject to satisfactory annual progress reports. Students will need to reside in or around the Norwich/Exeter area for the duration of their doctoral studies. (Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the studentship will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fees.)

This project is the first to focus on the fragile literary heritage behind the celebrated field of Caribbean writing. It seeks to analyze the current extent and character of this heritage and to investigate how the recording of a literary past profoundly influences who is read, how they are read, by whom and in what venues. By opening up the issue of literary heritage to wider engagement and discussion, as well as to closer analysis, the project will transform understandings of what is lost but can be recovered, and of what literary archives might look like in the digital age.

Both doctoral projects are focused on recovery research and will bring a new awareness to areas of Caribbean literary history that remain significantly under-researched. As part of the project team, both students will join in presenting the project findings at the Bocas Literature festival, Trinidad in 2020 and will be involved in other project events and publications, as well as original archival research.

PhD studentship: ‘West Indian writers in the News 1940-1980: Short Fiction, Articles and Reviews’

Based at University of Exeter, under the supervision of Professor Kei Miller and another experienced academic

This project will give sustained exploration to the diverse venues, styles, genres and personae that Caribbean writers adopted when writing in Britain. The project will be underpinned by the methodologies of book and publishing history, cultural studies, as well as postcolonial literary theory. The research questions will centre on identifying the extent, character and flexibility of writing careers during the period when Caribbean literature became a commercial prospect and when mass migration and black power politics shaped new discourses around the Caribbean’s relationship to the UK. It will investigate both prominent and relatively unknown writers in order to explore writings across diverse venues. Focused on a period when the ambitions to be taken seriously as a writer and to represent the voices of the Caribbean as they move from colonial to postcolonial often overlapped, this doctoral project will record the nuanced and complicated nature of writers’ lives, commitments and obligations.

The studentship will involve research into the archives of relevant writers, publications and organisations, including the George Padmore Archive, Black Cultural Archives and London Metropolitan Archives, as well as the newspaper print archive in Boston Spa.

PhD studentship: ‘Recovering Local Caribbean Authors 1940-1980’

Based at University of East Anglia, under the supervision of Professor Alison Donnell and another experienced academic.

This project will give sustained exploration to West Indian writing that was published and written for local and educational contexts. The project will be underpinned by the methodologies of feminist recovery research, book and publishing history, as well as postcolonial literary theory. The research questions will centre on an investigation of why writings by writers based in the Caribbean and writings in education- focused publications accrued less literary value than writings by those who migrated to the UK and writings published by metropolitan literary houses.

The studentship will involve research into the archives of publishers, including the Longman, Heinemann and Macmillan archives housed at Reading; the BBC written archives housed at Caversham; the archives of Caribbean Examinations Council and the Special Collections of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill (both held in Barbados), and the West Indiana Collection at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.

To apply for these studentships you will have:


• Academic qualifications in Literature, including some knowledge of postcolonial literatures (preferably Caribbean literature) at BA or MA level
• Skills and disposition to help organise, deliver and participate in public engagement activities & social media channels
• Good organisation and time-management skills
• Self-motivation and the ability to work as part of a team


• Practical experience of archive-based research
• A track record of researching Caribbean Literature
• An interest and aptitude in digital humanities

The successful candidates will be expected to work as part of the project team for approximately six hours per week. Tasks will include library and archive research, checking queries, writing blogs and social media posts and answering emails. Training and direction will be given in all areas.

The expected outputs of the doctoral projects, in addition to the As PhD thesis, are:

• a single-authored academic article
• research findings on recovered local writers that might add to current archival holdings
• Wikipedia entries on the most significant recovered writers
• Blogs and twitter feed entries

Applicants must complete the main PhD application process through UEA and Exeter respectively, including the submission of all required supporting documentation, by the deadline date in order to be considered.


Application deadline: 25th June 2017
Number of awards: 2
Value: £14,553 plus UK/EU tuition fees for eligible students
Duration of award: per year
Contact: Dr Matt Barber, Graduate School Administrator [email protected]

How to apply

Duration and value of award

The studentships will be for a period of up to 3 years, dependent on satisfactory progress, and will cover full fees and an annual maintenance grant of £14,553.

Entry criteria:

We invite applications for these awards from candidates with a strong academic background who can demonstrate in their application statement that they are academically well prepared for one of the proposed research topics and how undertaking the PhD will help them in their career goals. Successful applicants normally have a good first degree (at least 2.1 or international equivalent) in Archaeology or related discipline, and a Masters degree at Merit level or international equivalent, in Creative Writing or related discipline. If English is not your native language then you will also need to satisfy our English language entry requirements.

To apply:

To be considered for the Exeter based award, you must complete an online web form (please be sure to indicate the correct programme) where you must submit some personal details and upload a statement outlining why one of the topics fits well with their academic skills and future goals, a full CV, transcripts, details of two referees and, if relevant, proof of your English language proficiency, by 25 June 2017. If you wish to apply for the East Anglia based award please refer to their funding pages.

In addition you must also ensure that your referees email their references to the Postgraduate Administrator at [email protected] by 25 June 2017. Please note that we will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted to us by the deadline.

References should be submitted by your referees to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

Please note that if you have already submitted references to support your application to one of our MPhil/PhD programmes you may re-use these to support your funding application. However, this is not automatic and you must email us at[email protected] to confirm that we have two references on file to support your application, and to request that they be used to support your funding application.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

More information

For more information contact:

Dr Matt Barber, Graduate School Administrator
Email: [email protected]
College of Humanities Graduate School, University of Exeter
Queen’s Building, The Queen’s Drive
Exeter, Devon, EX4 4QH



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *