A rugby historian from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has won a new scholarship to spend five weeks doing research in New Zealand.Lydia Furse is the first history PhD student to be awarded funding to advance her research through the university’s DMUglobal programme.
Previously, DMUglobal has offered thousands of students trips all around the world to further their studies but is now extending its offers to help those taking on postgraduate research.
Lydia said the trip to New Zealand – a legendary nation in the global history of rugby – would give her invaluable insights into the culture and history of women players in rugby union.
She said: “The DMUglobal scholarship is designed to support international collaboration, which is perfect for my PhD project as I am researching the global history of women playing rugby union.
“New Zealand is a particularly significant country in the history of rugby, and getting the chance to immerse myself in the culture and history during this five-week research trip will be greatly beneficial to my understanding of the significance of women playing rugby in New Zealand culture.
“The DMUglobal trip will be an opportunity to undertake more primary research and to present some of the work l have already completed to an international audience. I’m delighted to be the first student from the ICSHC to receive this award and would encourage others to apply for it in the future.
“During the research trip, I will be able to visit archives, both local and national, and conduct interviews with former players to enrich my research as a truly international project and better reflect the significance of New Zealand in the history of women playing rugby union.”
She added: “The application for DMUglobal required me to clearly state the aims of my research trip, which has encouraged me to take a varied approach to this trip, using to to complete primary research, network with New Zealand academics, and present my research at two international universities.”
Lydia has also had help and support from the World Rugby Museum, which also supervises her through the Collaborative Doctoral Programme. She said she hoped this trip could lay some of the foundations for an academic side to the Women’s Rugby World Cup, scheduled for 2021 in New Zealand.
“I am really grateful for the help that DMUglobal has given me, as this trip is vital for me to further enhance the international aspects of my research,” said Lydia.