WMF/PMC/YCBA Research Scholarship

Each year, the World Monuments Fund (WMF), the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC), and the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) offer a summer graduate student research scholarship that focuses on a specific WMF site. In 2018, the WMF is offering three sites for consideration by applicants; one scholarship only will be offered for an applicant to conduct research at the site that best matches his or her interests. Applicants to the program should write with specific reference to the project for which they wish to apply, along with their qualifications and reasons for their interest in that particular site.  

Eligibility

The WMF/PMC/YCBA scholarship, available through the Center, is open to graduate students in all disciplines who are affiliated with Yale University. The number of scholarships offered each year is limited to one.

Apply

The 2018 application cycle is now closed. Please check back in fall 2018 for future opportunities.

2018 Projects

The following descriptions outline the projects offered in 2018. Full project descriptions can be viewed  here.

Moseley Road Baths, Birmingham

History

Moseley Road Baths were built as a result of the 1846 Baths and Washhouses Act, which was an important contribution to the improvement of public health in the nineteenth century. At that time, four-fifths of Birmingham houses had no water supply and two-thirds of its population lived in back-to-back houses with communal standpipes. Apart from the health hazards of people using untreated water, public decency issues of men bathing naked in rivers and ponds were also of concern. 
 
Birmingham City Corporation chose architect William Hale for the project. The land was purchased in 1894 and construction of a water-supply bore-hole for the two swimming pools and private washing baths started by July 1898; the baths opened in 1907 at a cost of £33,112. In 1908, a city-sponsored Winter Club, aimed at providing entertainment for working people, opened using the temporarily boarded-over second-class pool. 
 
In 1951/52 there were over 1.2 million visits to the private baths. By 2004, there were 2,241. The decline began in the 1980s. By 1991, the men’s first-class baths, and all but two of the women’s private washing baths, were closed. The men’s second-class private washing baths closed in 2004, the year the building was granted Grade II* listing. The gala pool was closed in 2003 due to serious structural problems. The site was closed from early 2010 to April 2012 for urgent structural repairs. The future of the baths has been uncertain since the early eighties and has remained under serious threat of closure since the mid-1990s. 
 

Research aims and objectives

Moseley Road Baths sits alongside a range of listed buildings in an area of heritage interest. The main aim of this piece of scholarship is to explore the Baths’ relationship with those other heritage assets, both historically and, as importantly, in the future as part of a suite of structures and spaces in a tentative “heritage corridor.”

Strata Florida Abbey, Wales

History

Strata Florida, in the mid-Wales countryside, is a former Cistercian monastery. Known to date from the twelfth century but probably deliberately constructed on an ancient site of regional Iron Age and Celtic importance, the monastery has enormous significance as a place of Welsh iraeth and cultural identity. It is still known as the “Westminster Abbey of Wales,” where eleven early princes of Wales, including Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys II, and the poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, widely regarded as one of the great poets of Europe in the Middle Ages, are buried. The most important primary historical source for early Welsh history, the Brut y Tywysogion, was compiled at Strata Florida, which built a reputation as a center of medieval learning, poetry, and literature. The monastery comprised an inner precinct of church, cloisters, chapter house, dormitory and refectory, and an enormous outer precinct extending over 120 acres. Beyond this, the estate consisted of lands and granges spread extensively across the Cambrian Mountains, reflecting its power over the landscape of mid-Wales and the ancient kingdom of Deheubarth. The monastery was dissolved in 1539 under orders of Henry VIII. The former monastic buildings were subsequently converted to a gentry house and later adapted as a farm. More recently the church and main cloistral range are managed by Cadw, the Welsh state heritage service, with other parts of the complex in private hands. The ruins are a scheduled ancient monument, and the grade II* rating of its successor gentry house underlines this national significance. 

Research aims and objectives  

This scholarship has a single aim: to research the architectural history of Strata Florida Abbey. As well as affording a general overview, the research should concentrate on the evidence for recurring themes of Welshness, such as the use of Celtic devices in the medieval architecture. This is probably rooted in a pre-Norman tradition, in part inexorably linked to the importance of water, springs, and holy wells in the valley. In addition, research should explore the adaptation and reuse of the monastic refectory, which later was incorporated into the seventeenth-century gentry house and farmhouse.
 

Government House, Antigua and Barbuda

History

Government House structures and their gardens have existed and disappeared since the 1600s in many picturesque sites across Antigua. Located in central St. John’s, the current surviving property is the official office of the Governor General of Antigua & Barbuda, a post presently held by His Excellency, Sir Rodney Williams, KGN, GCMG, KSt.J, MBBS, where he fulfills his role as the representative of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of State. Although the exact date of construction has yet to be firmly established, the property has served as the official residence of the Head of State as well as a parsonage since the late eighteenth century. In 1834, Antigua became the only British Caribbean colony to progress from slavery to full emancipation, which was a relatively stable transition. The building survived the St. John’s fire of 1841 and the great earthquake of 1843, and was described in 1844: “Situated in a pleasant and open place in the suburbs, the property embraces a wide extent of prospect. It is a genteel West Indian residence, possessing some good apartments and having its stabling and outbuildings upon a respectable scale.”
 
Additions were made in 1860 in preparation for Prince Alfred’s royal visit in 1861. The earliest surviving architectural plans were drafted in 1879 and provide details of how the buildings were organized within a larger landscape plan. From the early twentieth century to the present day, Government House has narrowly escaped demolition on many occasions as it has slipped into disrepair.
 

Research aims and objectives  

The overall research aim of this scholarship is to understand more about the history and architecture of Government House and the building’s role through time, which will then be used to inform the restoration and interpretation of Government House.