Coal played a key role in the Scottish Industrial Revolution, and has employed hundreds of thousands of people. Competition from abroad and new, cheaper energy sources led to spiralling closures at the end of the 20th century, with Scottish Coal, operator of the last six open cast mines in Scotland, entering liquidation in 2013. What remains are challenging ‘carboniferous legacy’ landscapes that are framed, in the midst of a ‘greening’ Scottish economy, as abandoned, toxic and exhausted, and responsibility for which cuts across sectors. This project confronts both the challenge of difficult landscapes, and the ‘silo-thinking’ in academic analyses of former coalfields. It draws together human geography, biogeography, and the participation of the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT) to interrogate the planned, and possible, futures of Scottish coalfields. Using a combination of social science methods and environmental Earth science methods the project asks: (1) What are the environmental and social legacies of former coalfield ‘legacy sites’? (2) How can debates in the heritage sector on ruins as public spaces offer insight into the current community engagement practices of the Scottish Opencast Coal Taskforce and the SMRT, and how might these practices be usefully augmented? And (3) How can coalfields be used to evidence and narrate the Anthropocene as a planetary condition, and as an opportunity for renewed understandings of how to live with, as well as on, the Earth? The project will develop a dissemination strategy that focuses on developing evidence-based, future possibilities to an array of stakeholders via a site-based ‘Anthropocene Workshop’ as well as final report, and impactful outreach projects and outputs that take forward debates on the future of mining landscapes in a Green Scotland, and the challenges as well as opportunities involved.
Mining the Anthropocene: Interrogating Heritage and Nature at Scottish ‘Legacy Site’ Coalfields
This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences
Mode of study
Full time / Part time
About the institution
- Have a good first degree (at least 2:1) in Geography or an equivalent science/arts and humanities/science subject (applicable for both 1+3 and +3 applicants)
- Have a Masters degree with ESRC-approved research training (only applicable if applying for +3 funding)
- Have a grounding in mixed research methods, with experience of these approaches.
- an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2019/20 rate £15,009 full-time);
- fees at the standard Home rate;
- students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year.