Undergraduate Research Scholarships 2014

Every year, the College of Arts and Law funds a number of Undergraduate Research Scholarships that give non-final year students the opportunity to work with a member of staff one of their research projects. This year, three UGRS are available to students in the School of Languages, Culture, Art History and Music in the fields of drama and theatre, centenary exhibitions, and women at the court of Renaissance France.

Each scholar will undertake full-time research supervised by a member of academic staff for a period of five weeks between 23rd June and 26th September 2014.  An allowance of £230 per week will be paid to the scholar for each of the five weeks.

This is a really exciting opportunity to do paid work that will also enhance your academic career, help hone your research skills, and let you see what academics get up to when they are not teaching! Previous scholars have reported that the scheme helped to:

  • refine interpersonal and research skills
  • develop their understanding of academic research
  • boost their confidence
  • identify where their personal strengths lie
  • influence thoughts on what to do after graduation
  • enhance their CV

As part of this year’s scheme, one of our lecturers, Elizabeth L’Estrange, has been awarded a scholarship for her research on Anne de Graville at the French Court: Her Library, her Religion and her Works

Anne de Graville (1490-after 1540) was a noble woman who became lady-in-waiting to Queen Claude of France in the early sixteenth century. Anne built up an impressive library, of which some forty manuscripts – many of them illuminated – are still extant. She also reworked two popular literary works for the Queen: her Rondeaux is a reworking of Alain Chartier’s Belle dame sans mercy (1420), and her Beau roman (see picture below) is a reworking of Boccaccio’s Teseida (c. 1360). Both texts engage with contemporary literary trends and, in particular, with an on-going debate about the nature of women and love (la querelle des femmes). In addition, like some of her noble contemporaries including the king’s sister Marguerite de Navarre and Henry VIII’s future wife, Anne Boleyn, Anne de Graville was a supporter of early evangelical religious reform. Anne’s contribution to French literary, religious and artistic culture has, however, never been studied in any detail. Elizabeth is planning to write a book that looks at Anne de Graville’s role in courtly culture by looking in particular at the books that she owned and the way that she represented herself.

Anne de Graville presenting her book to Queen Claude of France

Anne de Graville presenting her book to Queen Claude of France

The student employed on this project would carry out research into the courtly context of which Anne was a part and into her literary and religious interests. In particular they would be asked to:

  • Find out more about the books that formed part of her library and how this relates to her own writings as well as to contemporary literary interests
  • Carry out bibliographic searches of primary and secondary material to explore the culture of the French court and the people in Anne’s circle
  • Look for further evidence of Anne’s religious convictions
  • Look for and analyse further representations of Anne

This project would give the student, especially one with some knowlege of French, experience of working on a truly interdisciplinary project, offering them the chance to use and develop skills in the disciplines of history, art history, literary and religious studies. In addition, it will introduce the student to the way that researchers approach and interpret women in early modern culture. The project would thus open up a potentially new area for the student to explore, specifically enriching their knowledge of early modern women and of France in the early sixteenth century.

For more details on Elizabeth’s project, you can email her: e.a.lestrange@bham.ac.uk and download this file: E L’Estrange

You can also read about Holly Wain’s experience of working on a project with Liz in 2012 here.

Details of the other projects are here: Joanne Sayner  and Adam Ledger

And an application form is here: Application Form (LCAHM)

For more details on the scholarship scheme, please go to http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/university/colleges/artslaw/student-experience/opportunities/urs/index.aspx.

If you have any general questions about the scholarship scheme please contact Rachel Canty (r.canty@bham.ac.uk).

Completed application forms need to be returned to Rachel Canty in Room 203, Arts Building by 12 noon on Friday 4th April 2014.



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