Birkbeck has been awarded two fully-funded PhD studentships by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), under the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme, both for research on aspects of Brazilian visual culture.

The studentships will support doctoral projects supervised by Dr Luciana Martins, Director of the Centre for Iberian & Latin American Visual Studies, in partnership with the V&A Museum and the Royal Society respectively.

The challenge of contemporary Brazilian design
Focusing on the work of selected designers, the project with the V&A explores the relationship between local, regional, national and global levels of interaction and translation in the making of innovative design products, examining notions of authenticity, cultural heritage and identity. It will contribute to current research on contemporary design in a world in which the aesthetic experience associated with cultural specificity increasingly permeates consumption.

The project will examine not only the impact and consequences of the designers’ work but also its legacy. As the V&A is the partner for this research, consideration will be given to the appropriate place and geographical location for the projects to be recorded and archived.

The visual culture of expeditionary science in twentieth-century Brazil
The second project will focus on the untapped records of the joint Royal Society/Royal Geographical Society Expedition to North-Eastern Mato Grosso, Brazil (1967-1969). The project explores the relationship between the photographic camera and the ‘salvage paradigm’ in geography and other field sciences. It will contribute significantly to current research on the cultures of scientific fieldwork and the visual culture of expeditionary science in the twentieth century, as well as to the strategic objectives of both institutions in the wider context of contemporary scientific collaboration between the UK and Brazil.

Dr Martins said: “We will be delighted to welcome PhD students working on these interdisciplinary projects. Despite considerable recent media coverage in the UK (especially with the upcoming World Cup and Olympics), understanding by the British public of contemporary social, cultural, scientific and industrial transformations in Brazil is only just starting to take shape. These projects, to be developed at Birkbeck in collaboration with key cultural and scientific partners in the UK, will contribute significantly to a field which is relatively underexplored internationally.”

Both projects will be supervised collaboratively, giving the students full access to expertise and networks in these prominent external organizations.

For further details, please contact Dr Luciana Martins.