The title of my PhD is ‘The thrill of the past: 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 ‘thrilling’ encounter at a heritage site throughout the 20th century.
You can find a summary of my research question in one of 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
- Conducted research for Reading University Museum Studies Course on student experience of using collections and objects to help enhance their learning and presented the findings at the ‘Teaching with Collections in Higher Education: Demonstration value’, at Reading University, 10 June 2019
- Presented a research paper at the Architecture, Media, Politics and Society (AMPS) conference on Tangible – Intangible Heritages: design, social and cultural critiques on the past the present and the future at the University of East London, 14 June 2018.
- Presented a research paper at the RAI annual conference, Art Materiality and Representation, British Museum and SOAS, 2 June 2018.
- Represented the UK at the national correspondents meeting in Lisbon for the ICOM Committee for Education and Cultural Action, April 2018. What do we mean by cultural action?
- Presented a research paper at the ICOM, Committee for Education and Cultural Action and the Committee for Historic House Museums (Demhist) international conference at Historic Royal Palaces, October 2017 on ‘The Lost City: How do we learn from spaces and places that no longer exist: an exploration of London’s genius loci and sites of emotional heritage?’
- Presented a paper at Borders and Beyond in the Middle East since 1914: Legacies, Changes, Continuities, York St John University, June 2016,
- Presented a workshop at Object Based Learning study day, UCL Culture, University College London 2016
- Co-directed the conference in collaboration with the Zabludowicz Collection Collecting the Emerging Symposium, UCL, May 2015
- Presented a session on heritage learning at Group for Education in Museums conference, September 2014
- Panel member on ‘Are Museums turning into playgrounds?’ debate at the Battle of Ideas, Barbican, October 2014
- Presented a workshop at Historical Association conference 2013
- Presented a paper on Smithfield Market heritage at BERA conference, 2007
Header image: a postcard from early 1900s depicting the ghost of Anne Boleyn at Hampton Court Palace