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Harley Fellowships

Applying for a Harley Fellowship in the History of Cartography

(closing date 1st November each year)

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The UK cartographic context:


Purpose and value of the award

These Research Fellowships, established in memory of Brian Harley, are primarily intended to promote the use of the great wealth of cartographic material available in London and other parts of the United Kingdom. Fellowship awards range up to £2,000. Candidates should be aware that this is unlikely to cover the full cost of living, especially in London.

Historical Geography Research Group Fellowship

For the period 2018-2020, we are pleased to announce that there will be at least one additional Harley Fellowship funded wholly or partly by the Historical Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Eligibility for these awards funded by HGRG is limited to postgraduates and early career researchers working in the history of cartography, and applicants are encouraged to become members of the HGRG; otherwise the normal Harley Fellowship criteria apply.

Please indicate in your application whether you are a postgraduate or an early career researcher (within five years of completion of your PhD).


Applications are invited from anyone pursuing advanced research in the history of cartography, irrespective of nationality, discipline or profession. 'Advanced research' is taken to mean work towards a doctorate, post- doctoral research, and work of an equivalent level regardless of the applicant's formal qualifications. Proposals from early career applicants are particularly welcome. Applications will be judged on scholarly criteria. They will not normally be accepted from those living within reasonable commuting distance of their chosen collection (i.e. approximately two hours travel time each way). Recipients will be expected to be working towards publication and/or other forms of dissemination and, where appropriate, to participate in activities in the history of cartography in the region of their stay.

All applications should concern the history of cartography rather than a related discipline. The Harley Trustees require that projects we support are concerned with maps as cultural, scientific or artistic artefacts, which may be studied for their production, their meaning, their influence, or their significance in the history of ideas. The study of maps for the specific information they can provide about past landscapes would not be considered by our selection committee to fall within the history of cartography.

Scope of research

The map collections in the United Kingdom are wide-ranging in area, date and subject, and the research need not be limited to British topics. Preference will be given to interpretative studies in map history, irrespective of area, theme or period. This reflects Brian Harley's own contribution to inter-disciplinary and creative research in the history of maps and mapping throughout the world.

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An application must be made by a single individual. There is no special application form. An outline research proposal (in English) of not more than 1000 words, together with a curriculum vitae which includes a list of relevant publications, should be sent, preferably via email, to: rose.mitchell(at)nationalarchives.gov.uk [change (at) to @].

The proposal should demonstrate, in appropriate detail, how the applicant intends to make use of the collections listed in his or her application. The Selection Committee will need to be assured that candidates have done as much work as they can to identify relevant material. Trustees do not want to fund time spent reading catalogues, rather than examining original documents. Please, therefore, give as much detail as you can, preferably in the form of a list of library items or of archival classes. We would not expect such a list to be complete, but you should be aware that several applications have been rejected because candidates did not appear to have a clear idea of what they wished to see.

The preferred Fellowship dates should be indicated and a home (and email) address provided, if available, for notification during the Christmas period.

The candidate should also approach a referee, sending them a copy of the project proposal and drawing their attention to the Referee's form or providing them with a copy of it. This should be completed and returned (preferably via email) by 1st November. Applicants are urged to consider as referee those who could comment in detail on their work, rather than just those in a position of formal authority. It is also suggested that candidates avoid using a Harley Trustee as a referee.

If additional sources of funding are being sought, these should be described. Applicants should also indicate how they seek to fund the cost of travel and other expenses which would not be covered by a Harley Fellowship. Successful applicants working on collections outside London should note that at some stage during the tenure of their award they may have to come to London to meet a trustee. Payment will be made by bank transfer. The Trust is not responsible for any fees charged by a Fellow's own bank for administration of the bank transfer.

Awards will be announced in the following January (to be taken up over the next 18 months). The Trustees reserve the right to withhold awards in the absence of suitable candidates.

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Cartographic collections in the UK

For information about catalogues and other finding aids relating to the British Library, the National Archives [formerly the Public Record Office], the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Geographical Society see the relevant entries on the Map Collections page. There are many other collections of significance in the United Kingdom. On these see: A directory of UK map collections, 4th edition (British Cartographic Society for the Map Curators' Group); and Helen Wallis and Anita McConnell, Historians' guide to early British maps: a guide to the location of pre-1900 maps of the British Isles preserved in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, No. 18 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1994). Candidates might also wish to consult the National Library of Scotlandís website.

History of cartography lectures in London

Applicants seeking to work on the cartographic collections in London may wish to time their visit to coincide with the `Maps and Society' lecture season, held between October and May. These provide an ideal opportunity to meet those actively engaged in the field. Check also John Docktor's Calendar of forthcoming events.

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If you are engaged in a doctorate that relates to early maps, or have received an award since 1995,
please see the Researchers section of this 'Map History' site, and provide your details to the editor

Harley Fellowships main menu   |  Referee's Report form

Harley Fellows (1994- )   |  Latest Harley awards   |  Harley reports

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