Funded PhD Opportunity in History at Swansea & the National Portrait Gallery

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Studentship: 'Redeeming Death': Mortality, Portraiture, and the Quest for Salvation in Tudor England and Wales

The National Portrait Gallery London – Swansea University

Closing date: 30 April 2016

Key Information

The National Portrait Gallery London and the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University are inviting applications for an AHRC-funded PhD studentship for three years from 1 October 2016. The project will take the National Portrait Gallery’s unique collection of Tudor portraits as its key source for investigating sixteenth-century responses to mortality, self-fashioning as reflected in Elizabethan portraiture, and their relation to theological precepts and spiritual coping strategies developed in the context of the English Reformation. The project will be innovative in its interdisciplinary approach, and by its potential for transnational comparison within Christian Europe. The visual evidence will be studied in conjunction with a variety of literary sources primarily from the Gallery’s Heinz archive and library and Swansea University’s library and collections. While pursuing his/her own original line of inquiry, the student will be encouraged to engage with an agreed set of research questions to explore the subject in its historical and art historical context.

The candidate will be supervised jointly by Dr Regina Pörtner, Department of History, Swansea University, and Dr Tarnya Cooper, Curatorial Director at the National Portrait Gallery. The successful student should expect to spend extended periods of Years 1 and 2 at the National Portrait Gallery. He/she will be integrated into, and supported by, the research community at the NPG, and be part of the UK-wide CDP scheme which provides opportunities for networking, dissemination, and advanced research training. The student will benefit from dedicated postgraduate and curatorial training programs that will equip her/him with the requisite research skills for this project, and provide valuable experience in heritage sector work.


Applicants should have at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in a relevant Arts and Humanities subject, preferably in History or Art History.

Candidates should mention any skills or experience they may have in interpreting historic visual evidence, knowledge of languages, IT skills, and working with heritage sector institutions in their application.

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees), you must have:

  • Settled status in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay.
  • Been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences).
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education.

To be eligible for a fees only award, you:

  • must be ordinarily resident in an EU member state, in the same way as UK students must be ordinarily resident in the UK.

For more details please see the AHRC funding guide:


The full studentship covers the cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £14,296 p.a. An additional maintenance grant of £550 p.a. will also be available. The successful candidate will be eligible to apply for supplementary funds for research-related expenses up to a maximum of £3,600. 

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the College of Arts and Humanities Research Scholarship Application Form and return, along with:

  • A short CV
  • A covering letter that should state the names and contact details of two academic referees (please note that the academic references should not be included as an appendix to the application documents, but submitted directly)
  • A short research proposal of no more than 750 words
  • A sample of written work such as a piece of assessed coursework, or a chapter from your BA or MA dissertation.


by email to: Gabriella Wasiniak: 

or by post:

Gabriella Wasiniak
Graduate Centre
Room 414a
College of Arts and Humanities
Keir Hardie Building
Swansea University
Singleton Park

The deadline for applications is Saturday 30th April 2016. Interviews will be held in London in May 2016.

Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed to Dr Regina Pörtner by email ( or by telephoning +44 (0)1792 602391. 

For inquiries relating specifically to the National Portrait Gallery please contact:

Dr Ann Poulson, National Portrait Gallery London (