Bringing Back the Mack PhD Studentship >

Bringing Back the Mack: The Recovery and Restoration of the Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art
PhD studentship funded in collaboration by The Glasgow School of Art and Historic Environment Scotland

Funding: Home fees (UK & EU) plus £14,000 annual stipend for three years full-time.

Start Date: Summer 2016

Application Deadline: 30 April 2016

Interviews taking place: 26 May 2016

For questions regarding this studentship, contact:

Dr Robyne Calvert, Mackintosh Research Fellow,

Applications are invited for a full-time, fully funded PhD studentship based at The Glasgow School of Art, and supervised in collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland.

The Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is an iconic building of international significance, and its damage through fire in May 2014 has led to substantial initiatives from the UK and Scottish governments and others to aid restoration of the building and interiors. Led by Dr Robyne Calvert (GSA) and Dr Ewan Hyslop (HES), this PhD project will develop a summative analysis of the restoration of the Mackintosh building through: a survey of historical change in its spatial arrangement and use; a series of focused case studies on material conservation and reconstruction; and critical reflection on the recovery project that will significantly contribute to the field of heritage studies. Through a deeper understanding of the history of use and spatial change inside the building, this research will be able to feed into and advise in ‘real time’ current restoration work as well as related digital heritage projects; and inform new strategic plans for the wider GSA estate and for the learning & teaching, and research environments. Case studies that focus on the recovery, analysis, and reconstruction of the interiors, furniture and fittings affected by the fire will highlight the methods and approaches of the restoration process. Finally, the research will contribute to the body of knowledge on heritage and conservation through offering critical reflection on the restoration project, from its immediate impact through to project completion, which will form a model for heritage crisis management.

The Applicant

The successful applicant will have a very good first degree, a postgraduate degree and/or equivalent research experience in a field relevant to building conservation, heritage management, architectural and/or design history, technical art history, or a related field. We are also interested in applicants with interest and experience in digital recording, heritage visualisation, and/or conservation studies.

Successful applicants will we awarded a scholarship covering home fees and provided with an annual stipend of £14,000 in line with RCUK rates. Home fees are applicable for UK or EU citizens who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. Applicants from outwith these areas will be considered, but will be responsible for additional funding to cover fee differences, and will also be subject to any regulations of UKVI (details here), including employment restrictions. 

The Institutions 

The Glasgow School of Art is one of the oldest and most highly regarded art schools in the UK. We are a distributed, national, creative collective of researchers, lecturers, adjunct faculty, and master's students. Together, we address complex issues through new design practices and bespoke community engagement to co-create preferable futures based on the values of individual and collective wellbeing. 

Historic Environment Scotland is the new lead public body for the country’s historic environment. It brings together Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland. HES is responsible for more than 300 properties of national importance. We are also responsible for internationally significant collections including over five million drawings, photographs, negatives and manuscripts, along with 20 million aerial images of locations across the world. Our conservation experts provide guidance, training and technical research into Scotland’s built environment.

How to apply

The deadline for applications is the 30th April 2016.

To apply please complete the PhD application form that can be found here.

Please also complete the research proposal form, a portion of which has already been completed based on the project requirements. We are interested in your responses to the additional proposal questions based on the given project brief and additional information in the guidance notes. We also ask for a 3000 word writing sample.

We invite informal discussion about this opportunity: please contact Dr. Robyne Calvert at

Application Checklist

1 x completed Application Form (please refer to checklist on application form)

1 x completed Research Proposal form 

1 x Statement of Intent (see Guidance Notes)

2 x academic references (word count 500 max per reference)

Transcripts of previous degrees

English language qualification (if applicable)

A 3000-word sample of academic writing


It is expected that interview for shortlisted candidates will take place on 26 May 2016, either in person or via Skype. The successful candidate is available to register and commence study in Summer 2016.

PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete applications cannot be considered.

Applications must be sent in to Registry by email by the deadline: or by post (Academic Registry, The Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street, G3 6RQ)