We are very pleased to announce The Stephen Herbert Award, which will enable a researcher to come to the museum to consult our early cinema or optical media holdings. The award is named after the much loved and hugely influential film historian Stephen Herbert, who very sadly died last year. The award has been kindly gifted to us in Stephen’s name by his partner Mo Heard and we welcome applications that focus on the areas that particularly excited Stephen; the optical media that preceded cinema, such as magic lanterns, illusions, stereoscopes, and animated toys, and the first couple of decades of cinema history in the 1890s and early twentieth century. Material collected by Stephen has been donated to the museum recently, such as his work on magic mirrors and the pioneer Wordsworth Donisthorpe. Applicants could consult these items, or any of the other extensive holdings at the museum from a variety of donors on moving images from the 17th century up to around 1918. Go to www.bdcmuseum.org.uk for more information on our collections.

The award is for up to £500 and we particularly welcome applications from early career scholars or from independent researchers who might otherwise find it difficult to afford to visit Exeter. The monies are to be used for travel and accommodation costs incurred while visiting the Museum to undertake significant research that will be enhanced by access to our collections. Proposed research should contribute to publications or other demonstrable outcomes, such as films or artworks. Successful applicants will be required to write a blog post for the museum’s website about their research following their visit.  


To apply:

Please email [email protected] with a one page CV covering key academic achievements or publications or previous research and a proposal of up to 1,000 words outlining:

1) Your planned use of the museum’s collections, using the catalogue to highlight the material you wish to consult on your visit.

2) The expected outcomes from the research and its contribution to the field of study, including publication plans, or other demonstrable outcomes (such as a doctoral thesis or MA dissertation, films, artworks,  etc).

3) An outline of the expected costings of your visit, with the amount requested for the award.

The deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 10 June 2024. Applicants will be informed of the decision of the assessment panel within two weeks and will be expected to undertake their research before the end of December 2024.


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