RACE.ED Archival Research Fellowships

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Applications are invited for RACE.ED Archival Research Fellowships from postdoctoral scholars working in any area of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, to examine specific special collections held at the University of Edinburgh which provide evidence for research which will be part of the Institute Project on Decoloniality 2021-2024.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s cultural and heritage collections. The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) oversees the University's Special Collections and Museums, which include rare books, manuscripts, archives, art and historic musical instruments. The Centre is an essential research lab for the arts, humanities and social sciences and offers a single point of access to these collections and the staff who manage them. It is a dedicated and purpose-built, accredited research centre for cultural heritage collections access, knowledge exchange and exploration.

RACE.ED is a cross-university network concerned with race, racialization and decolonial studies from a multidisciplinary perspective. RACE.ED showcases excellence in research, teaching and knowledge, exchange, impact (KEI) in race and decolonial studies across various disciplines and interdisciplinary fields including but not restricted to: Divinity, Education, French, Geography, History, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Literature, Medicine, Philosophy, Politics and International Relations, Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, and Organization Studies amongst others at the University of Edinburgh.

IASH provides an enviable location in one of the world’s most intellectually inspiring cities, together with a dynamic network of international connections. Home to the Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh has a rich cultural heritage of scholarship and creativity that continues to the present day. In this haven of libraries and archives, galleries and music venues – all set amid iconic architecture – IASH helps scholars to take the humanities beyond campus to engage the public and work with organisations in a variety of sectors.

The Institute welcomes visiting researchers from across the world. Since 1970, over 1,250 Fellows have stepped through our doors. Up to 30 researchers are in residence at any one time in our amazing – and eclectic – nineteenth-century building just on the edge of the University’s central campus, boasting views of the Meadows. From more than 65 countries, IASH Fellows form a global alumni community, and many career-long connections begin at the Institute.

The collections

There are numerous areas of potential focus. Using the University’s own archive and related collections, we would aim for the Fellowship to undertake research that uncovers evidence, narratives and addresses the silences in the University of Edinburgh’s colonial legacy. In doing your research, you will work with the archivists to feed information back into the descriptions of these collections to readdress the knowledge and access to the collections, people and the stories within them. The CRC team have been working on methods to redress knowledge and contextualise collections that have evidence of and silences around people of University communities and cultures. You would be working with them on contextualisation, thinking about language and descriptors used, and how to address offensive and archaic terminology.

We would particularly welcome applications linked to the themes of the new Institute Project on Decoloniality taking place at IASH from 2021 to 2024. 

What does a RACE.ED Archival Research Fellowship offer?

IASH hosts a lively scholarly community of visiting fellows. It is a supportive environment for postdoctoral researchers, while also offering networking opportunities with successful mid-career and eminent senior scholars. The Institute occupies a historic building with private courtyard and leafy views – perfect for uninterrupted thinking, reading and writing. Yet there is also plenty of opportunity to socialise and share ideas.

In short, a 2022-2023 RACE.ED Archival Research Fellowship provides:

  • Research visit at the University of Edinburgh for three to ten months
  • Bursary of £1,300 per month
  • Dedicated office space at IASH, University e-mail and library access
  • Library workspace with privileged access to collections, support from curatorial and technical staff, and access to the facilities of the Digital Scholarship Centre
  • An allocated University mentor from the RACE.ED Network, the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) and/or a School within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Weekly Fellows’ Lunch to build community
  • Collegial work-in-progress seminar series for testing new ideas
  • Calendar of engaging events at the Institute and College

Who can apply?

We warmly welcome applications from postdoctoral scholars from around the world. Selection will be subject to the immigration rules governing the UK.  Applicants must have a suitable project or study to undertake using a specific collection.

Applicants must have been awarded a doctorate at the time of application, and normally within the last five years (you must be able to produce a transcript, testamur, or a letter of completion/eligibility to graduate as part of your application). You should not have held a previous Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Those who have held temporary and/or short-term appointments are eligible to apply.

Application procedure

The closing date for the receipt of the next round of applications (for visits from August 2022 to July 2023) is 29 April 2022. Applications received after that date will not be considered. Decisions will be communicated in July. Please ensure that you supply a valid email address so that you can be contacted quickly after decisions are made.

The application form

Please complete the online application form here.
Any additional supporting documents connected with an application should be emailed to iash@ed.ac.uk.


  • In addition to the application form, a minimum of two and a maximum of three confidential references are required.
  • Applicants should ask their referees to email their reference to the Director at iash@ed.ac.uk by 29 April 2022.
  • Referees should comment on the nature and quality of the research proposal, as well as on the qualifications of the applicant. One referee should certify the successful viva (defence) and final examination of the candidate’s PhD thesis.
Application date
3 to 10 months
Social sciences