Sarah’s PhD is linked to the Histories part of the UEP project, focussing on understanding the cultural ecologies of industrial towns.
I graduated from the University of Exeter with a BA (Hons) in History in 1996, received my MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester in 2002 and have worked in the UK museums and heritage sector since 2001. Before commencing my PhD in October 2012, I worked as a freelance museums and heritage community engagement and learning consultant. From 2010 to 2012 I worked with English Heritage in this capacity at Conisbrough Castle and Brodsworth Hall. At Conisbrough Castle I undertook consultation with local residents, organisations and learning providers, developed and delivered a programme of pilot education and outreach activities and worked with colleagues at English Heritage and project partners Doncaster Council to develop the Activity Plan for the successful HLF Heritage Grants Stage 2 funding application for the £1.1 million development project currently taking place at the castle. At Brodsworth Hall I researched and developed community engagement and education proposals for the Heritage Lottery funded ‘Brodsworth Hall in Time of War’ project.
From 2009 to 2010 I worked as Community Heritage Curator for Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s Museums and Heritage Service. Prior to this I worked from 2002 to 2009 as a Museums Education and Outreach Officer for Kirklees Council’s Museums and Galleries Service. In both these roles I was responsible for developing and delivering community engagement programmes, learning programmes, exhibitions, events and activities to increase and diversify involvement with the sites and collections of these services and the wider heritage.
My PhD research is exploring how the cultural ecologies of industrial towns have been shaped. My PhD research project is being supervised by Dr Lisanne Gibson and Dr Suzanne MacLeod of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values project.
One of the key areas of focus for the Understanding Everyday Participation project is upon histories of cultural participation and governance. This work aims to increase understanding of how modern perceptions of cultural participation and value have developed. The research that I am undertaking forms a part of the historical strand of the wider Understanding Everyday Participation project.
My study aims to contribute a historical dimension to our understanding of the cultural ecologies of industrial towns and the legacy of historical patterns of cultural participation and provision in these towns. In seeking to understand the contemporary impact of historical patterns of cultural participation and provision, the study aims to interrogate the contemporary characterisations of such cultural ecologies which underpin contemporary cultural policy debates and provision.
My research will be continuing until September 2017. Further information about my research, along with contact details for anybody interested in finding out more is available on the University of Leicester website.