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Robinson Bequest Bursaries

Robinson Bequest Bursaries

Now open! Our annual Robinson Bequest Bursaries for postgraduates working with Special Collections to support research and engagement.

These bursaries are aimed at Masters and PhD students studying at Newcastle University who are interested in gaining experience of working and researching in Archives and Special Collections services. They are additional to any government or university funding.

The number of bursaries available is agreed each year between the University Library and the Development Trust which administers the generous bequest left to the Library by Philip and Marjorie Robinson. 

About the awards

  • Each bursary is worth £3,000 per annum (paid in 3 instalments) and is tenable for one year.
  • Applications will be shortlisted and shortlisted candidates will be invited to the Philip Robinson Library for an informal interview.
  • Successful candidates will have the opportunity to gain work experience in the Library’s Special Collections and Archives service, and/or with the Education Outreach Team, for 100 hours spread over the academic year.
  • The awards provide opportunities to students to gain an insight into the management of Special Collections and Archives services to complement their studies and to develop their graduate skills and enhance their employability.

As we were unable to offer the practical work experience associated with the bursaries during the height of the pandemic, we are delighted to be able to offer 10 bursaries in academic year 2021/22. Give the large number of awards this year, we are offering them under three distinct programmes of activity:

  • Education Outreach (2 bursaries): You will be based within the Library Education Outreach team, who use our unique Special Collections to work with local schools, inspiring children and young adults to realise their potential through project-based learning, online resources and workshops. We are looking for one person to help us develop an evaluation toolkit for our work and another to explore and identify potential opportunities for future STEM projects.
  • Special for Everyone (2 bursaries): You will support our Senior Archivist in delivering our Special for Everyone project to improve transparency and celebrate equality, diversity, and inclusion within our Special Collections. The two bursaries will help us audit and signpost hidden and problematic content in our unique and distinctive collections and devise creative ways of sharing our findings for engagement, research, and teaching purposes. 
  • Core Collections (6 bursaries): Based within the Special Collections team, you will support us in delivering our core Reading Room service. You will assist and invigilate a wide variety of researchers in their consultation of our archives and rare books. You will also deliver a curated project focused on interpreting and improving the discoverability of one of our 200+ unique and distinctive collections for these research communities.

It would be helpful if candidates could indicate in their covering letter which of these themed programmes they are most interested in.


  • You must be a Masters or PhD student and be a registered student at Newcastle University.
  • You should be able to demonstrate a link between your studies and the Library’s Special Collections and Archives.
  • You must be able to commit to spend up to 100 hours in the University Library during the academic year.
  • You must be available on a regular basis throughout the year (hours will be agreed with successful applicants). There is a degree of flexibility, but the expectation will be that agreed hours are honoured.

How to apply

You should send your application to Sara Bellwood in the Philip Robinson Library (email: Please ensure that you include:

  • A personal statement detailing how the Library would benefit from your skills and experience and how you think you would benefit from work experience in the Library. The statement should indicate a clear link between your studies or research and the Library’s special collections and archives.
  • A full curriculum vitae (including your University email address).
  • The names and contact details of two referees (at least one of these should be an academic referee).

The closing date for applications is: 18th October, 2021.