Specialist research area: Mobilising Dutch East India Company collections for new global stories $29,863 p.a (full-time)


Australian Catholic University is offering full-time, 3-year PhD scholarships for doctoral students to undertake research as a members of the interdisciplinary team of scholars working on the Mobilising Dutch East India Company Collections for new Global Stories Australian Research Council Linkage Project.

This new Linkage Project, involving major national and international cultural institutions, invites students to consider a range of possible PhD topics (outlined below). Australia has a rich legacy of archives, artworks, and artefacts, including shipwrecks in WA, from its history of encounters with the Dutch East India Company (VOC). We aim to situation Australian collections in a global context, creating new stories about Australia as part of the VOC global network, a new digital platform that the project will develop.

The project works with industry partners, the WA Museum, the Kerry Stokes Collection, the State Library of NSW, the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the British Museum, Iziko Museums of South Africa, Moesgaard Museum, The Vasa Museum, Museum Kaap Skil, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, and the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

You will have the opportunity to work with colleagues across the humanities in a highly collaborative environment and build industry-linked skills as you develop cutting-edge research.

Stipends may be available to suitably qualified domestic and international candidates.

About Australian Catholic University

ACU is a world-leading research university in our priority areas of education, health, and theology and philosophy. Research excellence at ACU is founded on the principles of social justice and attracts leading experts, students and collaborators from across the globe. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, ACU is ranked in the top 100 Young Universities, worldwide. In the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment, research at ACU was ranked above (4/5) or well-above world-average (5/5) for ten fields of research in Australia.

These PhD scholarships are offered in History, Literature, and Environmental Humanities.

About the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences 

The Linkage project’s ACU team is located in the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences. The Institute is home to a dynamic, supportive, internationally engaged research community. Doctoral students will be immersed in the intellectual life of the Institute at ACU’s St. Patrick’s Campus in Fitzroy, Melbourne, participating in seminars, conferences, and reading groups, and working collaboratively with our team of world-class scholars on the cutting edge of history, politics and literature.

Research Projects 

We invite students to work on the following projects within and across the disciplines of history, literature, environmental humanities, ecocriticism, and critical heritage, museum, and archive studies.

Project One. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ representations and interactions with the Dutch East India Company, and other early visitors: We invite doctoral projects exploring Dutch imaginings and representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and lands in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Projects may focus exclusively on the Dutch East India Company (VOC) or compare the Dutch with other early visitors to the Australian continent prior to British colonisation.

Project Two: Memorialising The Dutch East India Company in Australia/The Dutch East India Company’s legacy in Australia: We invite projects examining how early Dutch voyagers and shipwreck survivors have been memorialised and remembered in Australia through place names, statues, legends, oral histories, popular histories, and other commemorative practices.

Project Three. Literary (after)lives of Dutch East India Company wreckage in British and Australian literatures: Since the seventeenth century, Dutch East India Company (VOC) shipwrecks have served British and (later) Australian literatures as sites of fascination, contestation, and memorialization. This project asks how Dutch imperial wreckage has configured distinctive and shifting imaginative geographies for British and Anglophone writers and readers.

Project Four: Dutch East India Company shipwrecks, environmental humanities, and oceanic heritage: This project brings the interpretive practices of the environmental humanities and critical ocean studies to bear on shipwrecks, artefactual wreckage, and the plural human, other-than-human, and oceanic presences they express. In conversation with critical heritage studies, the project configures a novel theory for interpreting not only shipwrecks but an incalculably broader (and broadening) array of submersed entanglements through multispecies and multitemporal frames.

Project Five: Slaves, Ships, Seas, and Empire in the Indian Ocean World: Dutch East India Company History and Memory in the Public Sphere. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) looms large in the 20th and 21st centuries. Whereas some people have celebrated VOC ships as symbols of European mastery of the sea, others condemn the company as the antagonist in histories of Indigenous and Black resistance against dispossession and slavery. This project recovers representations of the VOC in maritime Asia and the Indian Ocean World beyond the realm of academic research. It examines how a range of actors across multiple countries, such as curators, artists, governments, and activists, have interpreted the VOC and its legacies in public space, museums and galleries, art, film, websites, music, and theatre. It analyzes Australian efforts to interpret VOC histories and legacies in a transnational framework.

Project Six: Mobilities in the Dutch East India Company: We invite projects that will develop social histories of the movement of people within the Dutch East India Company world, considering particularly the experiences of diverse populations including enslaved and exiled individuals, women and children. A strong knowledge of Dutch will be required to undertake archival approaches to this topic.

PhD Eligibility criteria
Study mode and location
  • Full-time for three (3) years based at St Patrick’s campus in Fitzroy, Melbourne. 
Commencement date 
  • For Domestic applicants: these scholarships are for commencement in Research Term A 2023
  • For International applicants: these scholarships are for onshore commencement though temporary offshore commencement may be possible in certain circumstances (refer 1 ‘If you receive an offer’ for further information).
Value and duration

The Successful applicant will be awarded:

  • An Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) stipend scholarship of A$29,863 per annum (tax-free, indexed) for domestic candidates or an ACU Stipend Scholarship of A$29,863 (tax-free, indexed) for international candidates. The stipend duration is for three (3) years, subject to satisfactory progress and full-time study mode; plus
  • A Research Training Program Fees Offset Scholarship; that is, a tuition fee waiver for three (3) years for domestic candidates or an ACU tuition fee waiver for three (3) years for international candidates.
  • Overseas Student Health Care Policy (Single) for international candidates
Application closes
  • 11:59pm (AEDT) Sunday 27 November 2022
Application instructions 

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Dr Kristie Flannery before submitting an application for the PhD program and this scholarship:

E: kristie.flannery@acu.edu.au

To be considered for these scholarships, applicants must submit all documentation required for an application to the PhD program at ACU, as detailed in the ‘How to Apply’ instructions on the ACU Research Web Page, plus:

  • A CV detailing relevant academic and practical experience;
  • A cover letter detailing demonstrated interest and/or experience in the program of research described.

For general candidature enquiries, email Candidature Services on res.cand@acu.edu.au, with the subject line "SRA: Mobilising Dutch East India Company collections for new global stories".

Have a


Our contacts

Have a question for a specific
team? Ask the right person.

View all contacts