The Astaire Ernst Levin Collection PhD Scholarship

The Astaire Ernst Levin Collection PhD Scholarship

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD (3 years, fees and living allowance) at the University of Edinburgh. Applicants must be UK/EU passport holders, and base their research on the Ernst Levin Collection:

The studentship is based on research inside an uncatalogued collection of personal papers created and collected by neurologist Ernst Levin (1887 – 1975), the equivalent of approximately 120 archive boxes. The collection is held in Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA), Centre for Research Collections (CRC), University of Edinburgh. The studentship will be based partly in the CRC (office space and reading room) and partly in the School of Divinity, New College.

Born in Berlin, Ernst Levin studied medicine in Munich, specialising in neurology and neuro-rehabilitation, for which he was awarded a Chair from the University of Munich in 1933. The Nazi rise to power in the same year meant that, since he was Jewish by birth, Levin could no longer work in his native Germany, instead emigrating to Scotland, followed later by his wife Anicuţa and his daughter Annekathrin. Levin worked as a neurologist across hospitals in Edinburgh, beginning under pioneering neurosurgeon Norman Dott, a forerunner in aneurysm surgery and diagnosis.

Levin’s papers reflect an individual’s intersection with a turbulent decade in Europe’s political and cultural history. As well as tracing a significant medical career, his archive outlines time in the military as an Assistant Surgeon in the First World War, his close personal relationships and his family’s friendships with prominent individuals in German culture, including Max Unold, celebrated painter, graphic artist and writer in the ‘New Objectivity’ movement. Levin’s archive also shows a family uprooted, adjusting to their new life and status as refugees in Scotland before and after the Second World War. For more information on the collection (which is in both German and English scripts), please see:

The Levin archive has not been the basis of any major scholarship, and is mostly uncatalogued. To this end, the studentship will involve a certain amount of scoping. In the first phase of the research, the successful candidate will determine the focus of their doctoral project, while also describing the collection to make it more accessible through archival cataloguing. During scoping, it is expected that the successful candidate will catalogue consulted items in the CRC, making the collection navigable for the general public as well as for their own research project. Full training and support in cataloguing will be given by LHSA staff, adding invaluable vocational experience in the cultural heritage sector to the academic research opportunities offered by the studentship. There will also be an outreach component to the studentship, with the successful candidate contributing to established publicity outlets, such as blogs, and delivering talks about the collection to academic and general public audiences.

Potential candidates are, at their own cost, welcome to visit the CRC reading room to view parts of the Levin archive before or during the application process. To arrange a visit, please contact: / +44 131 6503392.

Further information on LHSA and CRC is available online:

Applicants are welcome, at any stage of the application process, to discuss possible avenues for research with Dr Holtschneider (principal supervisor for the PhD project on the Ernst Levin Collection):

To apply please follow the normal on-line process for graduate applications to the School detailed here: Please ensure that in Section 7 ‘Finance’ you state that you are applying for the Ernst Levin Scholarship. As the PhD project is related to a collection not yet catalogued, rather than submitting a fully formed PhD proposal, please submit a statement of intent, outlining your area of interest in relation to the collection. Please also include a full CV, giving evidence of specific research skills, including your fluency in German and your ability to read German handwriting in old German script (Sütterlin).

Criteria for the award of the Ernst Levin PhD Scholarship are those generally applying for the award of a scholarship from the School of Divinity and the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, AND evidence of meeting the language requirements necessary for working on the Ernst Levin Collection, as well as evidence of being used to handling archive primary source material as a researcher.

Applications need to be submitted by 31 March 2018, 5pm GMT.

Interviews (via video-conference / Skype) will take place in early May.

The successful applicant will be notified no later than one week after the interview.


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