Locating Cold War Imaginaries at York and Dover


This studentship will develop an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the assemblage of materials held by English Heritage at 20 Group Control in York, and the Regional Seat of Government under Dover Castle. These sites served different purposes in the Cold War era. While York was purpose-built to monitor radioactive fallout in the event of a nuclear strike, the RSG at Dover Castle re-purposed old tunnels as part of a national bunker system designed to run the country after nuclear attack.

Building on our expertise in Cold War history, nuclear heritage and archival studies, the partnership between English Heritage and academics at the University of Liverpool offers a well-qualified student a unique opportunity to pursue the 1+3 pathway. The student will be supported in the development of high levels of professional expertise in archives management, heritage and curation, and historical research. The project would be suitable both for those seeking a career in archives or heritage management and for those wishing to pursue an academic career.

At the University of Liverpool, the student will take the 1-year Master of Archives and Records Management (MARM), an accredited programme providing a professional qualification in archives and records management. MARM would provide contextual (archive theory, heritage management) and professional knowledge (appraisal, cataloguing, preservation, engagement activities), and research skills via elective modules. The programme includes the possibility of a placement-based dissertation which would support preliminary research for the PhD element.

The 3-year doctoral project will be supervised by academics at Liverpool, and curators at English Heritage. The project will reveal an original sociotechnical history of the two Cold War bunkers based on research into the unique assemblage of objects, documents, photographs and ephemera relating to the operation and history of the infrastructure at York and Dover. The prospective student would contextualise and undertake close comparative analysis of these materials and further explore imaginaries associated with these technologies through oral history interviews. This will add layers of meaning to the bunkers and their contents, developing and producing a deeper appreciation of the material collections. This will refine understandings of the physical spaces in which they operated and the networks they underpinned. The studentship will contribute to future management and presentation of the sites, and offers the opportunity to contribute to outreach and engagement activities.

The NWSSDTP Studentship consists of:

  • Maintenance Stipend circa £17,668 (subject to confirmation from UKRI).
  • Payment of academic fees, at the standard UKRI Home rates.
  • Access to a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for reimbursement of research related expenses including - but not limited to - conference attendance, training courses and UK fieldwork.

Entry requirements

  • The studentship is available to candidates with the equivalent of a first class or upper second-class degree in History or relevant subjects.
  • Candidates with a background in the following subjects are well suited to this studentship: Cold War nuclear history, heritage studies, archaeology, science and technology studies, and candidates with practical curatorial experience in a heritage organisation.


  • In the majority of cases, candidates will have undertaken an undergraduate course and/or Master’s course at a recognised UK higher education institution. However, some may have qualifications from outside the UK, or be able to offer a combination of qualifications and/or experience.
  • NWSSDTP Studentships are open to both Home and International (including EU and EEA) candidates.

    How to apply – email Dr Jonathan Hogg jgh@liv.ac.uk

    Start date – October 2023

    Based in Liverpool


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) CASE Studentships provide an opportunity for post-graduate students to gain first-hand experience of work outside an academic environment, with the student working on a doctoral project supported by both academic supervisors and a supervisor from a non-HEI partner organisation.