FUNDED PhD OPPORTUNITY: An Archaeology of Displaced People

An archaeology of displaced people: mobile phones, mobility and a sense of home

This study will examine the process of resettlement and the significance that objects, both digital and analogue, have in that process. The study will work with communities who are in the process of settling in a new land.

This project examines both digital and analogue artefacts. Mobile phones, for example, are arguably digital objects that can encourage and promote agency. For many they act as an extension of self and a bridge between the physical and the digital worlds. This is particularly the case for displaced people for whom they also represent a link, albeit tenuous and virtual, to home. The aim is to explore the role that digital spaces and connections – mobile phones in particular – play in making and re-making home in a new land. In addition, we would like to understand the extent to which the digital facilitates new and old ties with both the old land and the new home and how this might be mediated through objects. The intention is to build a picture of how newcomers seek to establish a sense of safety and security in a new land and how mobile phones, together with other objects and practices, both support and challenge the establishment of these feelings of
 safety. Archaeology and theories of material culture present an opportunity to study the role of the mobile phone in these interactions, as well as how other objects might be involved.


Supervisory team

The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Prof. Lizzie Coles-Kemp (Professor of Information Security, Information Security Group) and Dr Zena Kamash (Lecturer in Roman Archaeology and Art, Classics).

Person specification


  • A first class or strong upper second class degree in an appropriate subject and an MA in an appropriate subject
  • A demonstrable interest in at least one of the following areas:
    • Public archaeology
    • Material anthropology
    • Cultural geography and the material world
  • A demonstrable awareness of information security and its implications for displaced people, especially displaced people from the Middle East in Europe
  • Willingness to embrace interdisciplinary research


  • Spoken Arabic or a willingness to learn basic communicative Arabic
  • European languages
  • Experience of working in a team and in a public-facing role

Duration: three years (full time)

Funding: This studentship is funded through the EPSRC fellowship “Everyday Safety-Security for Essential Services”, a fellowship that is focused on deepening understandings of everyday security and safety and how, with that understanding, we can design improved civic services, including refugee resettlement processes.

How to apply: Please email to a short CV and a 400-500 word statement of your vision for this studentship.

Closing date:  Friday 4th May 2018, 5 pm (UK time)

Interviews: TBC (but likely the week beginning 21st of May 2018)


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