Research

Alongside my freelance consultancy work, I am currently studying part-time towards my PhD in the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University, London.

The title of my PhD is ‘Spine-tingling: encounters with historical narratives of emotional experience at heritage sites from 1895 to the present’.

My thesis critically explores the ways in which how, in the Heritage sector, we often talk about spaces and places being receptacles for past emotions, where past actions appear to have seeped into the very stonework of a building or public space. But do places really retain the emotions or feelings of people who have inhabited them or have been connected to them; echoes of fear, love, power, greed and pain, a plethora of different ephemera? Throughout the 20th century people have visited heritage sites, stately homes, castles, battlefields, memorials and recounted experiencing ghostly apparitions, sensations of horror, empathy and being moved by the tears of others; a deep emotional connection with narratives that have an emotional resonance at their core.

I’m interested in taking a historical and chronological approach to the concept of connecting to how we have explained this concept of how a place retains the past emotions of those who have inhabited it. I will uncover, pick apart, put in a wider context and propose the contemporary implications for the ways in which people have expressed and represented this idea of having a ‘spine-tingling’ encounter at a heritage site throughout the 20th century.

You can find a summary of my research question in one my recent blog posts.


Academic publications list

  • Co-author and practitioner researcher on Museums on Prescription project best practice toolkit, UCL Culture, University College London, 2017
  • Joint editor with John Reeve of the GEM journal, Learning through heritage, Autumn Issue, 2008
  • Author of Reading the city: active heritage learning in the GEM Journal, 2006
  • Author of article in ‘Reflect’, the magazine of the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) provided a forum for dialogue between research, policy and practice, article on Practitioner research: just a fling… or a long-term relationship?, Reflect edition 6, 2006

Participation in conferences and symposiums

Header image: English Heritage memorial plaque to the Tyburn Gallows on a traffic island between Oxford Street, Hyde Park and Edgware Road