Sunday, 30 May 2010

UK: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in Architecture (PhD Studentship) At Cardiff University

Closing Date: 11/06/2010
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: UK/EU Fees plus Stipend (£13,290 for 2009/10)
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK

Key Studentship Information

The Welsh School of Architecture invites applications for a Collaborative Doctoral Studentship funded by the AHRC and supervised in partnership with the Department of Asia at the British Museum.

Project Title: Brick Foundations: Ahichhatra and the Formation of Indian Sacred Architecture in the Gupta-Vakataka Age.

Supervisors: Dr Adam Hardy (Welsh School of Architecture) Secondary supervisor: Dr Michael Willis (British Museum)

Start Date: 1 October 2010

Project Description:

This Doctoral research project will contribute to an understanding of the formation of Indian temple architecture during the Gupta period (c. 320-500 CE). The AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award programme will be based at the Welsh School of Architecture, within the research group PRASADA, and supervised in partnership with the Department of Asia at the British Museum, where the student will spend some of their time.

The Gupta period has often been characterised as a 'golden age'. It was the time when Sanskrit emerged as a courtly language, when standard religious iconographies were created in a superlative artistic style, and when seminal literary, scientific and ritual texts were composed. Indian culture took on a character that defined its direction for more than a thousand years and determined many features of traditional life that are prevalent even today. The classical styles of Indian temple architecture also took shape at this time. Surviving stone temples of the period are relatively well known, Brick temples, covered in superb sculpture and ornament made of terracotta, were far more widespread, but more perishable. Apart from the relatively well preserved example at Bhitargaon, which is not typical, these monuments survive only as foundations brought to light by archaeologists or, in a few cases, as crumbling brick mounds. Traces of them, however, can be found in numerous sculptural and ornamental fragments, from which an understanding of this lost architecture can be constructed.

No full understanding of Gupta brick temples has yet been attempted, because the available evidence, though considerably augmented in recent decades, has not been brought together, let alone studied systematically. This project aims to do both, in order to discover the formal character of temple architecture in this formative period, and through this architectural understanding to throw light on the historical and cultural context in which the temples were built.

The scope of the project is therefore wide, but its focus is defined: the fifth-century, terraced, brick Gupta temple mound at Ahichhatra in Uttar Pradesh, and in particular the twenty-six terracotta architectural fragments from Ahichhatra held in the British Museum. These comprise several small figures, full of charm and lively spontaneity, together with pilasters, capitals, grille designs, dentils and other mouldings. In the light of all the fragmentary visual evidence that will be collated, and which will be supplemented by fieldwork, the aim of this doctoral research programme will be to reconstruct the original architecture to which the British Museum's fragments from Ahichhatra belonged, at the same time revealing the general principles underlying the design of temples at this time.

The project is timed in order to inform a major exhibition on the Gupta age to be held at the British Museum in 2013. Pieces from Ahichhatra will be prominent, and it will be possible to illustrate their original context. The project will influence the thinking behind the exhibition.


Number of Awards: 1

Funding Source: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Award, offered in collaboration with the Department of Asia at the British Museum.

Funding Amount: This studentship will provide UK/EU tuition fees and an annual maintenance stipend (£13,290 for 2009/10) for the duration of the programme (3 years).

The successful candidate will also be eligible for an additional payment of £500 per year, approximately £1000 per year plus travel expenses from the British Museum and up to £1000 per year from Welsh School of Architecture for any further expenses.


Residency Criteria: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals, and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees-only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.

Academic Criteria: Candidates should have a good (minimum 2.1 or equivalent) first degree in one of the following areas: Architecture, History of Art, Archaeology, or an aspect of South Asian Studies, together with an appropriate Masters degree or equivalent experience. They should have a grounding in Indian culture, ideally at Masters level.

For further guidance on AHRC Eligibility Criteria, please see the Guide to Student Eligibility on the AHRC website.

How to Apply

To apply, prospective applicants must first send a CV and Covering Letter to:
Ms Katrina Lewis

Application Deadline: 11th June 2010

Additional Information

Enquiries: for informal enquiries about this studentship, please contact:

Ms Katrina Lewis/ Dr Adam Hardy
Email: /
Tel: +44 (0)29 2087 6251/5982

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