New AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentship - John Flaxman: Art, Design and the Intermedial Body

Department of History of Art in partnership with York Museums Trust

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentship

John Flaxman: Art, Design and the Intermedial Body

Start date: 1 October 2023

Application deadline: 7 June 2023

Interviews for shortlisted candidates: week commencing 12 June 2023

Project Overview

The University of York and York Museums Trust (YMT) are pleased to announce a fully funded collaborative doctoral studentship under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

John Flaxman was one of only a handful of British artists of the early nineteenth century to achieve a wide international reputation. His prolific career as a sculptor and designer is distinguished by its material virtuosity, moving with apparent ease across different media and scales. He was among the first students to enrol at the Royal Academy Schools, and in 1810 was appointed the Academy’s first Professor of Sculpture.

Scholarly convention and curatorial practice tend to differentiate and divide Flaxman’s work according to media-specific categories. This project seeks to explore the material and visual richness of the artist’s work in two and three dimensions, in (or for) stone, metal, ceramics and on paper. The aim is not to produce an all-encompassing survey of Flaxman’s career, but to identify conceptual links and breaks across media and between places; to explore the imperial and international connections of the artist’s work; and examine ways in which that work contributed to a reframing of the body in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The project has been devised to give the student room to shape the research according to their academic interests and professional goals, with the support and advice of the supervisory team, and prompted by a series of broad research questions: How does Flaxman’s conception of the body correlate from one medium to another? How did Flaxman’s practice shape, and how was it shaped by, the culture and institutional practices of the Royal Academy? In what ways do Flaxman’s bodies respond to, affirm, or challenge hegemonic constructions of race, class and gender? Research may focus on one or more of the following concepts: imperial bodies, infernal bodies and heavenly bodies, queer bodies, radical bodies, injured bodies and bodily resistance.

The successful candidate will be a promising art historian with a keen awareness of current developments in the discipline, and will be able to demonstrate a critical and creative approach to the subject. Their work will contribute to the development of Flaxman 200, a research and exhibition project proposed by York Art Gallery for 2026 (the bicentenary of the York-born artist’s death).

The project will be jointly supervised by Dr Beatrice Bertram (York Art Gallery) and Dr Richard Johns (University of York), with Prof. Jason Edwards (University of York) as chair of the candidate’s Thesis Advisory Panel.


We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those under-represented in our department and in the field of art history. Those who self-identify as being from a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic or Global Majority background are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should have a good 2.i or first-class undergraduate degree (or equivalent), and have or be currently completing an MA degree (or equivalent).

Funding Notes

AHRC CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (3.75 years) or part-time equivalent. The studentship has the possibility of being extended for an additional 3 months to provide professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months of funding may be used to pay for the costs the student might incur in taking up professional development opportunities.

The studentship covers (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (currently £17,668 for 2022-3), (ii) an additional CDP maintenance payment of £550/year, (iii) an additional allowance from YMT of up to £1000/year for expenses incurred in undertaking research, (iv) tuition fees at the UK rate.

Further details can be found on the UKRI website:

This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants.

All applicants must meet UKRI terms and conditions for funding. See:

How to apply:

Applicants should complete an online application form and upload a full CV; a provisional research proposal of no more than 1,000 words, outlining a particular area or approach they would like to pursue; details of two referees; an academic transcript; and, if relevant, proof of English language proficiency.

For informal enquiries, please contact Richard Johns (

The deadline for submitting an application is Wednesday, 7 June 2023.

Main image: Chessmen (32) by John Flaxman, jasperware, early 19th century (Metropolitan Museum of Art (, Public Domain)

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