Hello MaterialWorld@Kent




MaterialWorld@Kent is a new experimental interdisciplinary programme at the University of Kent to explore the material world as it is, as it was in the past, and as it could be in the future - its nature, properties, and potentialities. We aim to short-circuit the ‘two cultures’ paradigm, establishing a structure spanning all three Faculties at Kent to expand collaboration in research and training a new generation of scholars.

In the first instance we are offering three funded Ph.D. places as a part of the University of Kent 50th Anniversary Research Scholarships Scheme, and inviting other doctoral researchers to join activities sponsored by the group. This is an opportunity for doctoral researchers to acquire cross-disciplinary partnerships and technical skills, to develop creative and collaborative working methods, and to become fluent in discourses and practices across conventional disciplinary boundaries.

MaterialWorld@Kent will award three Ph.D. studentships, one each in some area of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Sciences. The only restriction on the subject of the proposal is that it will include a substantial aspect relating to materials or materiality, and ideally will be mindful of how the topic is relevant across disciplinary boundaries. Each project will employ its own disciplinary focus, methods and approach. The programme will encourage participants to exercise critical reflection on disciplinary and interdisciplinary positions.

MaterialWorld@Kent is an opportunity to revisit the principles of the University at its founding 50 years ago, deeply steeped in inter- and multidisciplinary groups, where disciplines were discouraged from spatial concentration, and degree programmes consisted largely of an arbitrary group of staff with common interests willing to teach and co-teach and act as an examining board, and where joint-honour degree programmes were the norm, not the exception.

MaterialWorld@Kent was selected as a theme for an interdisciplinary group because it represents a major area of intersection between the conventional disciplines that make up the University. There are a wide range of approaches that address the material world. These include:

  • Interrogation: The examination of particular objects and materials to answer questions about their nature, construction, age, condition, history, function, and authenticity using a variety of tools and techniques.
  • Interpretation: Considerations of the meaning and value of heritage sites, artefacts, materials in scientific, cultural, historical, legal, political, social, economic, and philosophical frameworks.
  • Invention:  The creation of new things: materials themselves; computer generated structures and materials in virtual worlds; and new objects such as works of art and structures such as buildings.

MaterialWorld@Kent is rooted in the conviction that individual researchers are likely to have or gain special expertise in one or perhaps two of these areas - interrogation, interpretation, invention - but that a sophisticated understanding of all three will enhance their professional development and research.

The expertise of each cohort will be developed through a formal programme of conferences, seminars, practicums, and opportunities for work experience, supported by the Material Aspects Knowledge Exchange group (MAKE), an interdisciplinary academic community of specialists in materials, material culture, and materiality.

Created by HRAFArc on 2015/03/29 12:15
Last modified by HRAFArc on 2015/06/02 03:05


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