The indigenous map: native information, ethnographic object, artefact of encounter

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award


Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship on indigenous maps within the collections of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).


This award is made by the Science Museums & Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. The project, due to begin in September 2016, will be supervised by Professor Felix Driver (at Royal Holloway, University of London) and Dr Catherine Souch (RGS-IBG).


The project will consider the significance of indigenous maps within the RGS-IBG collections. Such maps were typically acquired, commissioned or co-produced in the process of exploration and territorial expansion preceding the imposition of formal colonial rule. Similar materials in comparable collections have been treated variously as sources of geographical information for the use of western cartographers; as ethnographic objects to be studied in their own right; or as hybrid documents of cultural exchange and encounter. The project seeks to document their extent and significance within the RGS-IBG collections, to consider the contexts of their acquisition and their subsequent histories and to explore their historical significance as sources of geographical evidence, as ethnographic objects and especially as artefacts of encounter.  This will involve developing in-depth ‘biographies’ of specific maps in the collection, including examples from various cultural contexts. It will also require more general consideration of the ways in which indigenous knowledge has been defined, presented, inflected or obscured within the cartographic archive. There will be opportunities to present this research to public audiences within the public programmes of the RGS-IBG as well as within the context of a PhD.


A full project description is available at


Information on eligibility, funds and how to apply is available at


The application deadline is 6 April 2016.


Felix Driver


For further information about RGS-IBG collaborative doctoral research see


For further information about PhD research in geography at Royal Holloway see