The Centre for Design History (CDH) at the University of Brighton invites applications for Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellows (VRF) to spend time at the Centre to pursue their research within CDH’s themes and to form collaborations with CDH members.

The Centre for Design History

CDH examines the production and consumption of visual and material culture – images and things – in their widest social and cultural contexts across diverse histories and geographies. It contributes to an expanded field of design history that embraces the conjunction of professional and amateur practices; digital and analogue artefacts; the decentring of design practice away from the singular object to complex ecologies, objects and systems, and the role of design and material culture in everyday life. It is committed to taking global perspectives on how colonial and post-colonial narratives of design have been constructed and to consider what voices and practices these exclude.

CDH research is currently grouped around four thematic strands:

  • Fashion and dress histories
  • Graphic design histories
  • Transnational design histories
  • Museums, archives and exhibitions
  • Sustainability

Cutting across these themes, we are committed to research approaches and practices that decentre cultural privilege, engage with the University’s Global Challenges agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We particularly welcome applications that address these areas.

CDH comprises over 50 members including artists and designers, archivists and curators, activists and academics from PhDs to Professors. We have a vibrant research community and a rich programme of seminars, workshops and conferences. Related research resources include the internationally renowned Design Archives. For detail of recent CDH activities, see our lively blog.

Fellowships run for the duration of the semester, fellows are not expected to reside in Brighton for all of this time, but will be required to visit Brighton to benefit from and contribute to our research community.

For visa purposes, where needed, CDH can provide a letter with the formal start / end dates plus an outline of the specifics of the role.

The Opportunity 

We are inviting applications from scholars within 24 months of completing their PhD from any institution (this period can be flexible for those with caring responsibilities). The CDH Postdoctoral VRF Fellowship scheme aims to support scholars in developing their research career, by providing support for their research activities such as working on publications, events and funding bids. The position would especially suit a postdoctoral researcher seeking an institutional affiliation. It is expected that one of the outcomes of the Fellowship will be an event/publication/grant application co-organised or co-authored with a CDH member. You can find details of our membership by clicking here. 

The aims of the Postdoctoral CDH VRF scheme are to: 

* provide a postdoctoral researcher with an opportunity to immerse themselves in CDH’s research culture 

* offer an opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher to work collaboratively with CDH staff 

* support a postdoctoral researcher to the next stage of their career 

* develop a stimulating intellectual environment for advancing bid development, convening events and / or authoring publications 

* give a postdoctoral researcher a platform for presenting their research to staff and students 

CDH Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellows will have access to: 

* a University of Brighton campus card, which enables access to University facilities and resources, such as the library, CDH research training events and activities, the Design Archives Reading Room (appointments must be booked in advance to ensure availability) and to computer, printing and copying facilities 

* a University of Brighton email address 

* a sponsor (a member of CDH academic staff) plus CDH administrative support 

In addition to conducting their own research, Visiting Research Fellows will be expected to:

* contribute to the CDH’s vibrant research community

* contribute a post to the CDH’s blog

* give a seminar on their research open to all staff and students

For the successful applicant, CDH will cover the internal £200 administrative fee for the scheme, and contribute £300 towards research expenses, which may include travel to archives or field visits, or dissemination of research (conference fees or image fees for a publication). No salary or stipend will be paid. For visa purposes, where needed, CDH can provide a letter with the formal start / end dates plus an outline of the specifics of the role. 

Postdoctoral CDH Fellowships will be up to six months in duration. Due to research staff capacity, we can usually only accommodate one Postdoctoral VRF per year.  CDH staff will select the successful application according to the following criteria: 

  • How the project fits with CDH research themes 
  • The contribution of the project to the VRFs career objectives 
  • The contribution of the project to CDH’s research culture 

Applications will be contingent on a statement of support from a sponsor at the CDH, demonstrating their investment in the collaboration outlined in the proposal. 

How to apply 

Enquiries should be made in the first instance to the CDH Co-Director, Dr Megha Rajguru Applications are due by 5pm GMT on Monday 29 January 2024 to 

One VRF will be awarded in this round. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 9th February 2024. 

Please submit the University’ standard VRF application form, PLUS a c. 200-word statement from your CDH sponsor, by the deadline, to 

* Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellows application form
* Visiting Research Fellows guidance
* IT Account Registration form