The world’s most prestigious libraries open their doors to UK academics

Posted by pt91 at May 30, 2014 10:22 AM |
University of Leicester postgraduate student Borbala Nyiri offered prestigious research fellowship

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 May 2014

Thirty postgraduate students and early career researchers have been offered the opportunity to enhance their research with a fellowship of up to six months at some of the world’s most prestigious libraries and research institutions.

In an increasingly globalised world there is the need for researchers to build strong international experiences.  The Arts and Humanities Research Council’s International Placement Scheme (IPS) facilitates such experiences by providing funded fellowships at some of the world’s leading research institutions, offering dedicated access to their globally renowned collections, resources and expertise.

This unique opportunity enables postgraduate students and early career researchers to enrich their research, understandings and connections through immersion in thriving research cultures, with privileges unavailable to independent visiting scholars.

Five of the IPS fellows, including Borbala Nyiri from the School of Archaeology at the Ancient History at the University of Leicester, will be hosted by the Smithsonian Institution. Borbala’s three month research fellowship will look into ‘A study of Southeast Asian tradeware ceramics at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’.

Borbala said: “My PhD research focuses on Southeast Asian tradeware ceramics - the lower end of the ceramic spectrum in contrast to the glamorous blue and white porcelain – how these objects were produced, traded and utilised and how they acquired or shed meanings through the course of time.

“During the three months placement I will be comparing my own research material with the Smithsonian Institution’s reference collections, learning about the latest scientific techniques used in current ceramic research, and will be sharing and contrasting information with scholars from different disciplinary fields.

“I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded this wonderful opportunity at the Smithsonian Institution provided within the framework of the AHRC International Placement Scheme. I feel very privileged not only by being able to visit but to carry out research in these world-renowned ceramic collections alongside international experts from all over the world.”

The Smithsonian is the world’s largest research and museum complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, and nine research facilities.

Dr Huw Barton from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who supervises Borbala’s research, said: “This is a fantastic honour for Borbala that showcases the strength and depth of postgraduate research here in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

“The Smithsonian is a fabulous research institution and I am personally a little green with envy. She will be able to experience and work with collections and researchers that are world class and will provide her with a wonderful skill set as she seeks further grant success and ultimately academic employment. I hope this spurs on other Leicester graduates to apply for these prestigious awards.”

Other IPS fellows will be based at the Huntington Library, the Harry Ransom Center, the Yale Center for British Art and the National Institutes for the Humanities, Japan.

The AHRC still has up to 25 IPS Library of Congress fellowships to award. These will be announced in July 2014.


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Borbala Nyiri on

For further information from the AHRC, please contact Danielle Moore-Chick on

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.

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