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Team Alumni

Past Team Members

Since the project began in February 2012, we have seen a number of fantastic team members come and go, usually to move on to bigger and better things! This page is dedicated to past team members and the contribution they have made to shaping the Researchers in Museums project.

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Kevin worked as Student Engagement Coordinator between 2014 and 2016.  He completed his PhD and left the team in September 2016.  He now works as a Research Officer for Equality Challenge Unit, an organisation that works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across the UK and in colleges in Scotland.

Kevin Guyan

UCL Department of History

My research explored the relationship between masculinities, planning knowledge and domestic space in Britain in the middle decades of the twentieth century.  As the borders of expert knowledge expanded, planners conceptualised the home in ways that made it easier for men to perform family-orientated domestic identities.  Planners disseminated these ideal domestic identities at major exhibitions such as Britain Can Make It (1946) and the Festival of Britain (1951).  However, among the lucky few who moved into new houses, many families found that everyday domestic life failed to match planners’ expectations.  My research therefore examined gender’s role in planning knowledge and postwar reconstruction, as well as the dialogue and dissonance between planners (architects), observers (social investigators) and inhabitants over how to use and experience the home.

Follow me on Twitter @kevin_guyan

Read Kevin’s blog posts.

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Misha is completing her PhD at UCL in Spring 2017, before taking up a research fellowship at the Huntington Library in California. There she will continue work on the history of colonisation in North America, exploring the political and cultural interests of investors in the Virginia Company and how they influenced settlement in Jamestown.

Misha EwenMisha Ewen

UCL Department of History

I am a third year PhD student in the Department of History. My research focuses on the ways that the English colonisation of Virginia in 1607 influenced political life and culture in England, and prompted individuals to think about their society – often termed the ‘commonwealth’ – in different ways. From the transportation of orphans to the colony, disputes about the tobacco trade, pamphlets, plays and church collections to build schools in the colony, I’m interested in exploring how individuals from all areas of society were brought into dialogue with the colonial project.

Twitter: @mishaewen

Read Misha’s blog posts.

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Tzu-i Liao

Tzu-i Liao

UCL Department of Greek and Latin

I am a final year PhD student in the Department of Greek and Latin at UCL, interested in how different ways of speaking result in different ways of meaning and thus reflect different purposes of writing/speaking. My research focuses on ancient Greek and Roman texts, and in particular, classical Greek oratory and historiography. My current project investigates how the writing/speaking conventions of classical Athenian political speeches are realized linguistically – in other words, how the genre is produced and defined by the uses of structural and grammatical constructions.

Read Tzu-i’s blog posts.

Lisa Plotkin*************************************************************

Lisa finished her PhD and left the team in 2015 to pursue a research position at the National Federation of Womens’ Institutes. She was Engagement Coordinator for two years, and was integral to the Foreign Bodies and Stress projects.

Lisa Plotkin

UCL Department of History

I am a fourth year PhD student in the Department of History, specializing in the nineteenth century social history of women and medicine throughout the British Empire. My current research focuses more specifically on the experiences of women in various curative sites in Britain and India from 1860 until the beginning of the twentieth century. In the context of my research, curative sites are defined as places or locations that both the medical community and popular opinion deemed to be salubrious or health inducing, and includes hospitals, sanitoriums, asylums, and hydropathic hotels. I examine how women as patients were able to influence the prevailing medical discourse about gender and race, as well as the ways in which female subjectivity was spatially constituted at that time.

Read Lisa’s blog posts.

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Original Team Coordinator Gemma Angel left the team in September 2013, following the successful completion of her PhD at UCL’s History of Art Department.  Gemma was project leader and co-curator on our first major project Foreign Bodies, a cross-collections exhibition at UCL which ran from March 18th until June 20th 2013.

Since completing her PhD, Gemma has worked at the University of Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI) on a 6 month Wellcome Trust ISSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in the medical humanities, and was a Junior Research Fellow at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) from 2015-2016, working on medical museum collections of human remains and the 2004 Human Tissue Act (HTA). She also convened the Bodily Matters: Human Biomatter in Art seminar series and international conference in 2016, and was most recently a Society Fellow at Cornell University Society for the Humanities (SHUM), working on the focal theme Skin from 2016-2017.

She is currently working on her first book, Speaking Scars: Tattoos, Crime & Collecting, based on her doctoral work on the Wellcome Collection of 300 preserved tattoos.

Dr. Gemma Angel 

UCL History of Art Department and the Science Museum, London

I completed my PhD in December 2013 with UCL History of Art Department and the Science Museum London, funded by the AHRC under their Collaborative Doctoral Award scheme. My research focused upon a collection of 300 preserved tattooed human skins, which are housed in the storage archives of the Science Museum. Historically part of the Wellcome Collection, these objects were purchased in 1929 from a Parisian doctor who claimed to have acquired his collection through his work in military prisons and hospitals. Little else was known about these objects at the outset of the project, and it has been my task to carry out in-depth material and historical analysis of the collection.

My research background and approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on a range of fields, including anthropology, sensory ethnography, history of medicine, science and technology studies, and material culture studies. I received my MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester in 2009, and I have also previously trained as a tattooist.

Find out more about my doctoral work by visiting my research blog: www.lifeand6months.com

For more information on my postdoctoral research at UCL IAS visit: www.thanatocorpus.com

For more information on my postdoctoral research at Cornell SHUM click here.

Or follow me on Twitter: @lifeand6months

Read Gemma’s interview with UCL Portico magazine on preserved tattoos in UCL’s pathology collections, or find her blog posts for UCL Researchers in Museums on a range of objects and collections here.

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Felicity Winkley

UCL Institute of Archaeology

Based at UCL Institute of Archaeology, I am currently researching the attitudes of metal detector users in England. I am interested in what proportion of users feel attached to the landscape in which they detect, and how this attachment may impact on their feelings towards finds discovered there. I suggest that metal detectorists use landscape, as well as the objects they find, to reconstruct a buried past. I first became interested in heritage management during my BA in Archaeology at the University of Bristol, but my desire to maintain an archaeological – rather than a museological – focus led me to complete my Masters in Artefact Studies at UCL in 2009. Following this, I completed training as a Finds Liason Officer with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) whilst undertaking an internship funded by the Headley Trust, during which I was struck by the idea for my current research project.

Read Felicity’s blog posts.

Ann Liljas

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Ann Liljas

UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health

I look at the burden and determinants of sensory impairment in older adults. Part of the study I investigate the impact of sensory impairment on adverse outcomes, disability and mortality. I will also examine the role of inflammation in sensory impairment. My research is based on two large established on-going national cohorts at UCL: The British Regional Heart Study (BRHS) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).

Twitter: @AnnLiljas

Read Ann’s blog posts.

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Ruth was a member of the Engagement Team from February 2013 until June 2014, contributing to our Landscape and Movement events. She is continuing to pursue her doctoral research at UCL and will continue to provide input into the Student Engager project.

Ruth Blackburn

UCL Departments of Mental Health Sciences and Primary Care & Population Health

Ruth

I am a second year PhD student working with the departments of Mental Health Sciences and Primary Care and Population Health on the PRIMROSE program, which investigates cardiovascular disease in people with severe mental illness.  The main focus of my PhD is to explore the extent to which differences in cardiovascular health and disease prevention exist between people with, or without, severe mental illness.  I will use electronic patient records that are generated by doctor and patient consultations in approximately 500 General Practices across the United Kingdom to establish how patterns of cardiovascular disease and preventative care have changed over time in different patient groups.  My PhD and other phases of PRIMROSE will help establish the evidence-base needed to design, implement and assess the effectiveness of a new package of care for cardiovascular disease prevention in people with severe mental illness.

Follow me on Twitter: @mind_the_gap___

Read Ruth’s blog posts for UCL Researchers in Museums here.

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One of the original team members, Suzanne was awarded her doctorate from UCL in 2014. She was a Co-curator of the Foreign Bodies exhibition and a very popular engager in all of the museums.

Suzanne Harvey #2Dr. Suzanne Harvey

UCL Department of Anthropology

I am a biological anthropologist, studying the evolution of human behaviour and communication through the study of non-human primates. My fieldwork is carried out at Gashaka-Gumti National Park in Nigeria, where I have been studying infant socialisation in baboons, including their ability to manipulate adults, and whether this behaviour is affected by the presence of an audience. In collaboration with the University of St. Andrews, I am analysing the vocalisations of infant baboons to determine whether they have meanings that are understood by adults. I am interested in many aspects of complex social behaviour in primates, particularly those involving communication. Past projects have focused on reconciliation after conflict in rhesus macaques, and communication in captive diana monkeys and red-ruffed lemurs.

Follow me on Twitter: @SuzeMonkey

Read Suzanne’s blog posts for UCL Researchers in Museums here.

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Having worked with the original team from the inception of the project until June 2013, Alicia was one of the curators of our Foreign Bodies exhibition, making a fantastic contribution to a very successful project. Alicia completed her doctoral work at UCL in 2015 and is now working full time as a public health specialist.

AliceAlicia Thornton

UCL Department of Infection and Population Health

I am an epidemiologist specialising in HIV and sexual health. Studying the patterns of disease within a population allows care givers and policy makers to tailor prevention and treatment strategies towards those most at risk of becoming infected or suffering serious consequences from an infection. Excellent treatment options for people living with HIV have dramatically changed how HIV is managed, and many people with HIV are now living longer and healthier lives. As such, other co-existing illnesses have become an increasingly important area in the care of HIV positive individuals. My current research is focused on the clinical outcomes of HIV positive individuals who are co-infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C. I am examining how the two infections impact on each other with regard to progression of disease and the ways in which different treatment strategies for each of the infections can improve outcomes for patients. To answer these questions, I analyse data from a large dataset containing clinical and demographic information on adult patients seen for care at collaborating centres across the UK. I hope that the findings from my research will feed into guidelines and care for treatment of co-infected patients.

Follow me on Twitter: @AliciaThornton3

Read Alicia’s blog posts for UCL Researchers in Museums here.

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In April 2013, team member Sarah Chaney was awarded her doctorate in History of Medicine, which meant that her time with us came to an end. Sarah was lead curator on our first major project Foreign Bodies, a cross-collections exhibition at UCL which ran from March 18th until June 20th 2013.

Sarah ChaneyDr. Sarah Chaney

UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines

I recently completed my PhD in the UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines. My research interests include the history of psychology and mental health, and 19th century medicine more generally. My research focuses on asylums around the turn of the twentieth century (c. 1880 – 1910), based in the archives of the Bethlem Royal Hospital (the original ‘Bedlam’, founded 1247). In particular, I’m interested in the topic of ‘self-mutilation’ in English psychiatry, which appears to be a new concern in this period. Psychiatrists who wrote about ‘self-mutilation’ drew on a wide variety of fields – including anthropology, psychology, spiritualism and religious and literary allegory – in an attempt to understand self-injurious acts. Indeed, their texts on self-mutilation tell us a great deal about contemporary ideas of the human condition, normal psychology, and selfhood. I have worked at a number of different medical museums, and I’m currently working at the Bethlem Museum.

Follow me on twitter: @kentishscribble

Read Sarah’s blog posts for UCL Researchers in Museums here.

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Another of our original team members, Katie Donington left us at the end of 2012, and has now gone on to postdoctoral research on the UCL Legacies of British Slave-ownership Project.

Katie Donington Dr. Katie Donington

UCL Department of History

My PhD was with the ESRC funded Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Project in the Department of History at University College London. This ongoing project is using the 1838 Slave Compensation Registers to identify and build a database of the slave-owners resident in Britain at the end of slavery in the Caribbean. I received both my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and History (Joint Honours) and my Master’s degree in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Leeds in 2005 and 2007 respectively. I returned to London, where I grew up, in 2008 to work as a Research Assistant for H.M.S Belfast. I then transferred to the Holocaust and Genocide History Department at the Imperial War Museum, before leaving in 2009 to begin my PhD.

My PhD research used the lens of a single slave-owner and sugar merchant George Hibbert M.P. (1757-1837) to explore the representation of the proslavery lobby throughout the course of abolition. It examines the cultural, social, economic, political and imperial impacts of slave-based wealth with a specific focus on Jamaica and London. I am particularly interested in the relationship between slavery, representation, memory and national identity. Alongside this I am also concerned with the ways in which pro-slavery discourse shaped the rhetoric and languages of racial thinking both during the period of abolition and beyond.

Read Katie’s blog posts for UCL Researchers in Museums here.