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Exploring the Social, Historical and Environmental Legacies of Steel Slag Studentship Opportunity 2019, UK

Publish Date: Feb 13, 2019

Deadline: Apr 05, 2019

Exploring the social, historical and environmental legacies of steel slag

This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

Project details

The closure of steel works in the UK has had well-documented social and economic effects on former steelmaking communities. The most tangible remains of former steelworks is often the industrial waste product: steel slag. Steel slag is the by-product of steelmaking and was historically dumped in heaps adjacent to steelworks and their associated communities. This PhD project will adopt an interdisciplinary approach combining human geography, earth science and archaeology research methods to investigate the social, historical and environmental legacies of steel slag. The former steelworks at Glengarnock in North Ayrshire, Scotland, will be used as a case study site for the project. The Glengarnock Steelworks was in operation from the 1850s to the 1980s, with historic maps showing the dumping of slag throughout this time. When the steelworks was closed in the 1980s, the site was cleared and landscaped. The physical legacy that remains is the slag.

Archival research and oral history recording will shed light on how the local community reacted to historical dumping of slag in their midst. Chemical analysis will provide a baseline of present-day pollution to gauge, through archaeological site walkovers and interviews, how the present-day community view the steel slag legacy of their former steelworks. This interdisciplinary approach will create a holistic view of the varied aspects of the legacy of steel slag on a community – social, historical and environmental. This approach complements and extends recent work in the social sciences and humanities on the formation of heritage identities in former industrial regions and the management of sites of industrial ruination and decline. In particular this project promises to extend recent investigations into community responses to landscapes of environmental degradation and community contributions to the development of visions for landscape appreciation and change.

About the institution

The Human Geography Research Group (HGRG) at the University of Glasgow is an expanding community of academic staff, postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students, with a well-established reputation for geographical research that is theoretically innovative, politically engaged, empirically diverse, and inclusive of a broad range of communities and partnerships. The HGRG is committed to engaging with local communities and broader publics, and to forging transnational solidarities between the Global North and South. Our research practice, whether operating through sustained fieldwork, archive-work or desk-work, enables progressive forms of activism and intervention in daily lives and public campaigns. Our critical analysis is designed to speak back constructively to user-groups and different policy fields (urban, economic and health, for instance). Our creative, engaging research takes shape through collaborations with artists, composers, and curators in exhibition settings, public spaces and contested landscapes. 


Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
  • Have a good first degree (at least 2:1) in Geography or an equivalent social science/arts and humanities/science subject (applicable for both 1+3 and +3 applicants)
  • Have a Masters degree with ESRC-approved research training (only applicable if applying for +3 funding)
  • Have a grounding in qualitative research methods, with experience of these approaches.

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria.

Award details

 The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training.  This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process.  The programme will commence in October 2019.  It includes:
  • an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2018/19 rate £14,777 full-time);
  • fees at the standard Home rate;
  • students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year.

Other information

All applicants should complete the Supervisor Led Awards Eligibility Checker prior to submitting an application.

How to apply

  1. All applicants should complete the Supervisor Led Awards Eligibility Checkerprior to submitting an application.
  2. Applicants register on GradHub and fill out EO data (this is a requirement of the application process)
  3. Applicants complete and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:
  • Application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • References
  • CV
  • An example of academic writing (an essay, review etc) – this should be uploaded in a standalone document with a naming convention as follows: candidate name, Supervisor: Simon Naylor, University of Glasgow, Interdisciplinary Competition and date
  1. Applicants submit application through GradHub

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by mid-April 2019. Interviews will take place in late April or early May 2019. All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to an MRes / PhD programme within University of Glasgow. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant MRes / PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details


Dr Simon Naylor

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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Host Countries

United Kingdom