Ahrc collaborative Phd studentship International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (icchs), Newcastle University in collaboration with Tate Modern

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Tate Modern and the Expansion of ‘New Institutionalism’: New Developments in Art & Public Programming Practices

AHRC Collaborative PhD Studentship
International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS),

Newcastle University in collaboration with Tate Modern
An AHRC-funded PhD studentship is available from 1 October 2007 for a collaborative research project to investigate the development and importance of ‘new institutional’ programming practices as demonstrated by Tate Modern (TM).
You will research Tate Modern’s key role in integrating exhibitions and public programming practices and address the larger impact of ‘new institutional’ practices on the creation of art, the development of audiences and the structure of the art museum as an institutional and discursive space.

The PhD project will be supervised by Dr Bernadette Buckley (ICCHS) and by Dr Marko Daniel (TM).

1. Background to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Award Scheme

Collaborative studentships are intended to encourage and develop collaboration between HEI departments and non-academic bodies, and enhance the employment- related skills and training a research student gains during the course of their award.
AHRC’s collaborative research studentships provide opportunities for PhD students to gain first hand experience of work outside an academic environment, with the student supported by both an academic and non-academic supervisor. At the same time they will encourage and establish links that can have benefits for both collaborating partners, providing access to resources and materials, knowledge and expertise and also provide social, cultural and economic benefits to wider society.

2. The nature of the studentship

Collaborative studentships can be held on either a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time studentships will normally be for three years duration and part-time for five years duration, leading to the submission by the student of a PhD thesis based on the work carried out within the project.
This AHRC collaborative doctoral studentship is open to both UK and EU nationals. Students must meet the same residency and academic eligibility criteria and are subject to the same regulations, terms and conditions as any standard research student funded by the AHRC. Details of these criteria can be found on the AHRC website at address: www.ahrc.ac.uk/apply/postgrad/postgrad_details_d/eligibility.asp.
During the first three months, the student will be expected to be based in and/or available to travel to Newcastle for early supervision being conducted by Newcastle University. Short term student accommodation can be arranged by the University, should the student prefer, in the long-term, to have a base close to Tate Modern. During this initial period, funding will be available to bring Dr Daniel to Newcastle for two joint supervisory meetings. After this time, Dr Buckley will travel to London for the third joint supervisory meeting. There are no residency restrictions for students studying part-time.
Applicants whose first language is not English must hold IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 575 (paper-based) or 233 (computer-based), or equivalent. If you need extra tuition to meet English language requirements see www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/international/englishlanguage/englishsupport.
Standard tuition fees (currently up to £3,240) and a maintenance grant (of £12,600 p.a.) will be paid by the AHRC to the student. AHRC will also make an additional maintenance contribution of £500 p.a. to the student. Travel expenses will be covered for 10 annual supervisions and within the Greater London area. TM will additionally offer a range of in-kind benefits to participating students including free admission to exhibitions, Members Private Views, Employee Previews, films, talks, education events, and free access to selected National Museums and heritage sites. Students will also receive discounts at Tate shops, restaurants and cafes, and have standard access to subsidized meals in staff canteens. Please note that part-time students will be eligible for tuition fee payments from the AHRC but not for maintenance grant payments.

3. The collaborating partners


The International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS) was established in August 2000 with the principal role of stimulating research into the history, philosophy and practices of the cultural and heritage sector. It is an exciting collaborative venture between staff in the School of Arts and Cultures, and brings together a diverse range of skills and teaching experience from across the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the wider University. This is used to good effect in the delivery of a number of Master of Arts Programmes.

Research in the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies

The International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies collaborates with other major research centres in the University, and colleagues in other universities such as Glasgow Caledonian. It also capitalises on already well-established cultural links in the region, with local galleries and museums (BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Culture Lab, Hatton Gallery, Great North Museum, Tyne & Wear Museums, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Isis, Globe Gallery, Waygood Gallery). It also has established teaching collaborations with V&A, ACE and engage. On the heritage side, it has teaching collaborations with the National Trust, English Heritage, Northumberland National Park and the Countryside Agency.

The title 'International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies' reflects the global connections that the Centre fosters. Currently it is the base for the Executive Office of the World Archaeological Congress, providing unparalleled access to a wide range of individuals and organisations working on diverse cultural issues such as repatriation, restitution and heritage issues throughout the world. The Centre's work on community museums and eco-museums has established a world-wide network of individuals, museums and other organisations working in this arena. The Centre’s staff also convenes both the British Sociological Society’s Museums and Society Study Group and the Museums and Galleries History Group, and organises a number of conferences and one-day seminars.
ICCHS is an internationally important centre for research into gallery, museum and heritage studies; its staff members are renowned experts who have published widely on a uniquely diverse range of research interests. The Centre’s key research themes are:

  • History and theory of museums, galleries and heritage

  • Interpretation, display and education

  • Identity, place and community

  • Heritage management

  • Digital culture and heritage

  • Cultural policy and politics


Tate is home to the national collection of British art and is one of the three leading international collections of modern and contemporary art in the world. Its mission is to ‘increase public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of British, modern and contemporary art’. It has four galleries - Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives - and Tate Online is the UK’s leading art website.

Research plays a vital role in Tate’s overall mission and programme, and is disseminated through many channels, including displays and exhibitions, catalogues and books, events and online recordings and publications. Reflecting the many aspects of the organisation, Tate’s research programme is diverse. Current research projects include: investigation into the ethics of replicating modern sculptures made of disintegrating materials; research into the experience of Tate by individuals coming from migrant or diasporic communities; the cataloguing of Tudor and Stuart paintings and drawings, the Turner Bequest and works by the Camden Town Group; the publication of a three-volume History of British Art; research into an analysis of modern paint media; an investigation into oxygen-free framing; an assessment of best practice guidelines for care of time-based media works of art; a programme of artist interviews; and the management of audio-visual and digital content. For further details of these and other projects, please see Tate’s website: http://www.tate.org.uk/research/tateresearch/ .

4. Outline of the project

  1. Historical and Intellectual Context

Since the late nineties, an important strand has begun to emerge in art and art institutional practices. This trend is known as ‘new institutionalism’ and it is characterised by its tendency to treat the exhibition as only one part of a range of activities occurring in art institutions. Whereas in conventional gallery practices, the exhibition is primary, ‘new institutionalism’ emphasises a diverse range of ‘public programming’ activities and focuses on education in its widest sense. It readily responds to the most pressing socio-political issues of the day and encourages equal exchanges amongst peer groups in which the ambitious level of discussion is not compromised.

This phenomenon has also been dubbed ‘experimental institutionalism’. It advocates the art institution as a highly active space – part community centre, part laboratory, part academy. The traditional exhibition is thus seen as only one part of a broader spectrum of activities. Taken together, all activities seek to build a heterogeneous and socially engaged public space – one that differs from the passive reception space of the traditional exhibition. A wide range of adversarial and diverse publics are addressed and engaged – both within the physical confines of the institution and also by way of its publishing, online literature, off-site events, outreach and community programming.

  1. Overview of Research Project

The consequences of ‘new institutional’ programming practices remain to be analysed and understood. This research project will therefore assess the development and importance of such practices as demonstrated by Tate Modern. It will produce an in-depth analysis of current and past programming events and practices at Tate Modern – the latter of which have never before been researched in detail. It will ask how Tate Modern has sought to create richer programmes involving smaller projects and dialogues with the community. It will consider how different audiences – including those from the Southwark, Thames and Blackfriars communities – are directly addressed and fostered in parallel with those from higher educational institutions, specialist and professional groups and/or virtual and other dispersed communities. It will explore the extent to which Tate Modern, with its high national and international profile, has influenced the wider development of ‘new institutional’ values.

Furthermore, because of Tate Modern’s key role in integrating exhibitions and public programming practices, this project is also able to address the larger impact of new institutional practices on the creation of art, the development of audiences and the structure of the art museum as an institutional and discursive space. Questions as to the analysis of social, political, economic and aesthetic implications of such new programming strategies will also be addressed. Has the ‘new institutional’ tendency to bring exhibitions and public programmes into a common frame created new platforms for the exploration of ideas? What are the impacts of new public programming and educational practices on (a) the art institution/gallery itself (b) on those communities and environments that are actively targeted and engaged by the gallery (c) on the nature of the artwork? Have ‘new institutional’ practices affected the ways that art itself is created, negotiated, presented and viewed?
Given the rapid and widespread expansion of such practices, these questions are in urgent need of being addressed. This project will span the gaps currently existing in the analysis of contemporary art museum practices. It will analyse continuities and discontinuities between projects promoted as part of ‘exhibition programming’ and those of ‘public programming’. It will inspect if and/or how changes in programming practices are remodelling the nature of artist/audience engagement. It will consider the new emphasis on artist-led research and other modes of creative practice which are not exhibition-centred. Finally, it will investigate the extent to which practices at Tate Modern (and other like-minded institutions) may even be collapsing the boundaries between art and discursive practices.
As above, Tate Modern plays a leading role in generating new institutional practices and has a formative influence on the shape of public programmes at both national and international levels. Its conferences, seminars, study days, film programmes etc are leading models, both in public and in private sectors. Its education programmes take risks and set standards in a way that those of other institutions have little power to effect. However, while Tate’s archives are commonly drawn on for research that investigates contemporary art-making practices, its public programmes have never yet been scrutinized as a primary source of academic research. Hence this seminal art institution has yet to have its practices assessed in terms of their influence on (a) other art institutions and (b) the shape of contemporary art practice in general.

  1. Aims and Objectives

  • To explore the intellectual and curatorial relationships between public programming and the creation of new practices in contemporary art - especially in terms of artists’ shift from showroom to seminar room

  • To research the background to public programming and education since the 19th century to provide context for the study

  • To track shifts in such practice as demonstrated by the ‘new institutions’ of the late 20th and early 21st centuries

  • To explore the role of ‘new institutions’ in shaping educational policy and practice in museums and galleries

  • To investigate the reasons for the establishment of current normative public programming practices and the nature of such practices

  • To analyse the continuities and discontinuities between engagement of audiences and artistic practices.

  • To analyse the shifting role of education in facilitating or generating emotional and cognitive approaches to artworks

  • To evaluate new modes of creative practice in public programming and the concomitant new modes of relations between artists and audiences

  1. Methodology

A range of methodologies will be employed including the following:

  • Literature review including a formal introduction to the research topic, an identification of current expertise, parallel other loosely-related literature

  • Identification of suitable data sources relevant to the project, including use of electronic databases and analysis of documentary materials at Tate Modern archives

  • Development of a focused and realistic programme for gathering and analysing data

  • Development of appropriate phenomenological methods for further data gathering and qualitative analysis, in conjunction with supervisory team

  • Observation/participation/analysis/study of public programmes at Tate Modern

  • Structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews

  • Attendance at public programming meetings

  • Study/analysis of programming in comparator institutions, to be decided by student researcher in conjunction with supervisory team

  • Review and evaluation of data

  • Control/feedback on theoretical analysis and evaluation to be gained by two periods of active participation in Public Programmes section of Tate Modern

  • Review of cataloguing needs of this unacknowledged part of Tate activities.

The student will have access to all Tate documentary and archival materials over and above access to research staff and materials and in-depth training (including IT). The student will have the unique opportunity to attend programming meetings, to interview and observe Public Programming staff and to explore the whole range of practical and intellectual issues that inform the shaping of public programmes today. Attendance at films, talks and all education events will also be possible. Daily research will also be guided by Dr M Daniel who has previously had extensive experience of supervising.

5. Person specification:

Preference will be given to applicants with a good Masters level degree (or equivalent) in Museum/Gallery Studies; Visual Culture/ Art/ Art History (or another relevant discipline). Applications will be considered from those with relevant research experience and training. You should be able to demonstrate strong research and communication skills, and the ability to work independently.
Qualifications and training

  • Masters in Museum/ Gallery Studies, Visual Culture, Art History or another relevant discipline (preferably 2:1 or 1st class)

Skills, knowledge and aptitudes

  • Knowledge of current issues raised by emergence of ‘new institutionalism’

  • Awareness of developments in contemporary aesthetic, curatorial and educational gallery practices

  • Knowledge of Tate’s current and past programming practices

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • Good basic computer skills, with a willingness to undertake further training in the practical training if necessary

  • Critical and analytical skills

  • Ability to make complex evaluative judgements

  • Excellent inter-personal skills


  • Experience of working in a gallery, art museum, archive or comparable environment will be an advantage.


  • Self-motivating with demonstrable skills at working independently

  • Ability to structure and plan own workload

  • Ability to meet deadlines

  • Ability to liaise with both organisations sensitively

  • Ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team

  • Flexible in approach to working practices

  • Ability to cope with working in two rapidly developing organisations

  • Confident approach to communicating findings of your work to the widest possible audience

Additionally, the candidate will need to be sympathetic to the aims and ethos of Tate Modern and should be committed to equal opportunities.

6. Recruitment and Selection

The timescale for recruitment is as follows:

Closing date: Friday 29 June 2006, at 5pm.

AHRC will be notified of selected candidate by 16th July 2006.

7. Application

All applicants should submit:

  • A completed Postgraduate Application Form; (Please note that all applications should be supported by two references.)

  • A current CV

  • A short statement (of 500 words maximum) outlining your response to this project outline, what you think you will bring to the project, your approach towards your study and your commitment to the project. Please consider the following points:

    • How you would formulate your research and how you see it developing within the context of the collaborative arrangement or project.

    • How you feel the collaborative nature of the project will benefit your study.

    • How your experience and studies relate to this research your future plans.

A completed form (including the two references), the CV and the statement should be sent to:

Niesha Nicholson,

International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies

Newcastle University

Bruce Building

Newcastle upon Tyne


On the application form please quote ‘AHRC Tate Modern and the Expansion of New Institutionalism’.

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