Funded PhD Studentship: Future of the Heritage Guidebook

The School of Writing & Journalism is pleased to invite applications for a three-year full-time PhD studentship, to undertake practice-led research into the development of new writing and publishing models for the commercial heritage guidebook and its potential for promoting eco-tourism and sustainable behaviours.

This is a fantastic opportunity to undertake a fully funded PhD in collaboration with a well-known heritage organisation – The National Trust.

Guidebooks have a long history of connection with environmental movements, and ecological tourism, from Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes (1810) to Wainwright’s walking guides. They also offer a way for heritage organisations to communicate the significance of a site, and enhance visitors’ connections with a place. Guidebooks provide influential representations of sites of historical and environmental interest via particular aesthetic modes, and in embodying the environmental tensions between conservation and access, they have a potential role to play in generating awareness of environmental concerns. In 2015, 90 years after the publication of its first printed guidebook, the National Trust began producing e-guidebooks to complement each of its new printed guidebooks. Working alongside National Trust Publishing and through self-directed practice, the PhD student will investigate new ways in which writing and publishing models for the heritage guidebook might creatively deploy digital technology to engage audiences and promote sustainable behaviours and eco-tourism.

The studentship offers the chance to produce a sustained piece of practice-based work or series of works in the field of commercial non-fiction writing, as well as develop an innovative solution to engage new audiences with the guidebook format.

The successful candidate can expect to develop their own dissertation topic within the remit of the project.

Studentships comprise tuition fees at Home/EU rates and a stipend of GBP 14,553 per year tenable for a minimum period of 3 academic years. EU students are welcome to apply. We also welcome applications for part-time studentships; these comprise tuition fees and a pro-rata maintenance award for a 5-year period. Alongside their research projects, successful candidates will be asked to deliver up to 180 hours per year of teaching within the department of their Director of Studies. Teaching hours will be paid in addition to the stipend and paid at GBP 17.10 per hour (current rate), further raising the value of these awards. 

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email

For general enquiries, please contact Jemma Julian, Research and Development Support Officer via email at or by phone on 01326 255831


by Niamh Downing