I am an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow at UCL Institute of Archaeology, where I work on issues related to heritage, museums, cultural memory and the Anthropocene.
My research circles around two distinct though overlapping themes: developing an expanded view of what heritage is, and pushing forwards critical-creative approaches to heritage practice. In relation to the first I am currently co-writing a book with Rodney Harrison on heritage in more-than-human worlds. This aims to rethink many of the foundational concepts of the field, including care, inheritance, endangerment and stewardship – all concepts that have been called into question by the Anthropocene and related posthumanist theories. A co-edited volume is also forthcoming with Open Humanities Press on this topic.
My current fellowship explores critical-creative approaches to the design of ‘experiences’ within and beyond the heritage sector. Working closely with project partners, this research responds to the rapid growth of immersive, participatory and co-curated experiences across the field of heritage interpretation in recent years. You can read more on the project website. The project is funded by the AHRC as part of a highlight notice on Innovation in the Creative Economy. An open access article outlining the conceptual foundations of the project is now available online.
I completed my PhD at UCL in 2015. This research explored the interrelationship of heritage and photography over a broad time period (1866-present), but tightly focused on the ‘photographic life’ of two major heritage sites: Angkor in Cambodia and the town of Famagusta, Cyprus. A book length study emerging from this research – Heritage, Photography, and the Affective Past – is now available from Routledge. I have previously published articles on this theme in Present Pasts, Future Anterior and Public Archaeology. I continue to pursue research around heritage and photography, with my latest work in this area – a photo-essay on architectural wraps – recently published in the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology.
In 2014 I helped to set up a small research network on Archaeology/Heritage/Art (AHA). A number of talks and events have been hosted under the banner of this project, including a series of ‘Conversazione’ exploring the critical and creative intersections of these fields. A summary of our approach can be found in a recent article, Entangled Concepts and Participatory Practices across Archaeology, Heritage and Art.
With all of this work I remain committed to tracking and developing alternative genealogies, practices and trajectories of critical heritage. This rapidly expanding field resists easy categorisation. Accordingly, my research has been located across archives, museums, exhibitions, film studies, memory studies, history, architecture, design and photography.
Alongside this academic research I maintain a close connection to the sector and to the grounded work of heritage. Over the past three years I have been closely involved in a project to bring a disused Victorian swimming baths in South London back into use, and volunteered as part of the Peckham Coal Line project. You can read more about these projects and my other recent and ongoing work in the heritage sector here.
Prior to taking up my current position I was a Project Curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects and a Research Associate with the heritage consultancy Barker Langham. Across these roles I have helped to design and develop curatorial, interpretive and audience focused research projects nationally and internationally.