I’m interested in how different modes of ‘taking on’ and ‘passing down’ have emerged in response to the material and affective legacies of the past, from archives and memories to ruins and waste. These inheritances – human and nonhuman, wanted and unwanted – are densely interwoven with the politics of the present and the desire to shape (un)certain futures. They also give rise to different forms of care and stewardship, and are closely connected to vital questions of responsibility, vulnerability and social justice.
My current research explores these themes in relation to the role of heritage in the age of the Anthropocene. Working closely with Professor Rodney Harrison as part of the AHRC Heritage Priority Area team, the project draws on emergent thinking in the posthumanities to imagine alternative concepts and practices of curation, site management, conservation and interpretation that might respond to this new geological epoch. A central line of enquiry here concerns the need to rethink notions of inheritance across human and nonhuman worlds. An edited volume and short co-authored book are forthcoming on these themes.
My PhD was completed 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 – will be published by Routledge in 2019. 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 post-doctoral position I was a 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.