Me and my work
[Portfolio case-studies coming when I have 5 minutes spare!]
I have worked across the museum, library, archive and historic environment sectors for twelve years and in November 2006 I became an Associate of the Museums Association (AMA), having pursued over two years of voluntary CPD to develop my curatorial and collections management skills.
I gained my doctorate on medieval southern Italian material culture in 2009 (University of Southampton). I am a Research Associate at Swansea University having recently completed a year in a post-doctoral position as Research Officer for the Global and Local Worlds of Welsh Copper Project, a knowledge exchange partnership funded by the ESRC and led by Swansea University. Read more about my research interests.
Cross-sectoral project management
The majority of my past work has been project-oriented giving me unrivaled experience of providing practical expertise in cross-sectoral working and maximising the potential of institutional and individual knowledge and heritage assets. Much of this has resulted the development of web-based information and resources (see below).
I always take a problem-solving approach and try and use the right tools for the job. This is reflected in my choices of communication media accordingly, whether a very low-tech physical display designed to be bagged up at the end of the day or a high-tech approach to get collections online. I can write a mean museum label and I know my way around complex content and collections management systems.
Collections-based research and interpretation
My subject specialisms are the material culture and history of industry and products from the Middle Ages to the present day. I am also interested in the changing relationship between people and things in different object cultures. My PhD (Southampton, 2009) developed approaches in analysing medieval artefacts and archives to establish new paradigms for understanding the connectivity and affinities between southern Italy and its Mediterranean neighbours. I am now developing a project to do a similar thing for a better understanding of the impact of Cornish mineral wealth by moving the focus away from mining culture towards the whole materials cycle.
Teaching, training and communication
I have taught in informal adult education scenarios, guest lectured, provided supervised work placements and devised and taught undergraduate courses in history and archaeology, most recently for the History department at the University of Winchester (2009-10). I have also undertaken postgraduate skills training and devised an accompanying online course for Humanities research students (University of Southampton, 2008-10). Apart from blogging and regular participation in various professional networks, my writing has appeared in two children’s books, various reviews, articles and essays. I am working on a monograph based on my doctoral research. I believe passionately in the research and cultural benefits of multilingualism. I can speak reasonably good Italian and French, can read basic German, and most recently took a workplace course in Welsh.
Specialist in digital cultural heritage projects
One of my specialisms is in helping small organisations and projects realise the benefits of putting high quality information about their organisations, collections and activities online, and broadcasting them through social media.
Elizabeth Treffry Collection – Content development for collections and campaign blog for the Hypatia Trust‘s collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, 2012. http://www.elizabethtreffrycollection.org/
A World of Welsh Copper – Legacy learning resource website for the ESRC-funded Global and Local Worlds of Welsh Copper Project, 2011.
South Wiltshire Agenda 21 – Voluntary work for environmental charity wanting to improve web presence, 2008-9.
ICOMOS-UK – International Council on Monuments and Sites UK news blog and infosite to raise awareness of projects, standards and advocacy, 2008.
Hantsphere – National Lottery New Opportunities Fund major digitisation project for Hampshire’s heritage 2002-4.
Deliberately Concealed Garments Project – research project and online collections database (funded by AHRB and Skaggs Foundation) 2001-2. One of the UK’s earliest attempts at publishing collections online.
Whitchurch Silk Mill – brochure website 2001 [since revamped by another company].
Publications on heritage and culture themes
Follow my papers on Academia.edu.
‘A world of Welsh copper for geologists’, North Wales Geology Association Newsletter, Feb 2012.
‘Report: A world of Welsh copper’, TICCIH (The International Committee on the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage) Bulletin, no. 24 (November 2011), p. 6.
‘Pioneers and profits‘, Materials World, 19 (10), October 2011, pp.15-17.
‘If only every day could be Copper Day…’, Social History Curators Group News, no. 67 (June 2011), pp. 13-15.
‘Swansea Copper Day’, Industrial Archaeology News, no. 157 (Summer 2011), pp. 12-13.
‘A Zoroastrian dilemma? Parsi responses to global catastrophe’ in: M. Levene, R. Johnson and P. Roberts (eds.), History at the End of the World? History, Climate Change and the Possibility of Closure (New York: Humanities-Ebooks, 2010).
Review: Condensed Reality. A Study of Material Culture by P. ter Keurs (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2006), Journal of Museum Ethnography (forthcoming).
‘What can we learn about Cornish mining heritage? Comparing the Cornish and Portuguese experiences’, Cornish World (June 2009).
Review: A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion and Culture, by P. Godrej and F. Punthakey Mistree (Ahmedabad: Mapin, 2002), Material Religion 2 (1) 2006.
Comment (ethics): ‘Although it is clearly unacceptable to acquire or display illicit material, is it acceptable to use this material for academic research?’, Museums Journal, 105 (10) (October 2006).
‘Where did they come from? The medieval ‘southern Italian’ collections of the British Museum’, AIAC News (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica), 41 (2005).
Charlemagne: The Life and Times of an Early Medieval Emperor (New York: Rosen, 2005) (8-12 audience).
Medieval Feasts and Banquets: Food, Drink and Celebration in the Middle Ages (New York: Rosen, 2004) (8-12 audience).
‘Envisioning the past: Conference review’, ICOM UK News, 57(12) (December 2000).
Public engagement and voluntary work
The Hypatia Trust, 2012-current.
Swansea Community Boat Trust, 2010-2011.
Cub Scout helper, 5th Paddington, 2010-2011.
Seminar convenor, History Postgraduate Research Seminar, 2007-2008.
Voluntary Curator, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, 2006-2007.
Voluntary Curator, Museum of Archaeology, Southampton, 2004-2006.
Demonstrator, Medieval Apothecary, Heritage Open Day, Salisbury Museum, Wiltshire, Jun 2006.
Organiser, Medieval Week, a week-long festival of medieval studies and culture, Southampton, Oct-Nov 2005.
Membership of professional networks
Museums Association (AMA), TICCIH (The International Committee on the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage), Social History Curators Group, Finds Research Group 700-1700.