Of art, heritage, and other things

Welcome to The Heritage Girl blog – and my very first post here! You can find out a bit more about me in my About section, and some interesting arts and heritage related tidbits in my FAQ.
For my first blog post, I decided to find out from some of my friends what questions they would ask me about my PhD and career – if they could ask me anything! I’ve selected some of the (publishable) ones below…
What’s your PhD topic?
My PhD thesis investigates popular photographic culture and travel to the Far East in the period 1860-1910. I’m interested in how objects like magic lanterns, mass produced photography, and stereoscopes were used to represent travel sites and sights to the British public.
What’s your favourite bit of your PhD?
The favourite part of my PhD is researching, and writing about, a subject I absolutely love – photography and travel. Another amazing aspect of my PhD is the opportunity to handle historic objects – whether that’s in an archive, a library, or even some of the objects I’ve collected myself. I also enjoy the opportunity to attend conferences and talks related to my research topic.
Why is heritage so interesting?
It’s something that is shared across society, it is our shared history, one that belongs to everyone whatever their class, background, gender, age, or level of education. Heritage is something everyone can connect with in a more democratic way. It can refer to everything from a letter, a painting, or a sculpture to a castle, museum, or even the landscape around us.
What is it like to work in a museum environment?
Working in a museum environment is a fantastic experience – there really is a never a dull moment, and no two days are the same. One moment I can be answering questions from adult visitors about the Norman Conquest, the next I’ll be discussing why there is a skeleton in the museum with a kid. Outreach, and working with visitors, is a big part of my job, and something I really enjoy doing.
What’s your favourite bit of your job?
At the moment I’m based at Lewes Castle and Anne of Cleves House in Lewes. It’s an immense privilege to work in two very different heritage sites. One of the favourite parts of my job is opening or locking up the castle or the house – I get the site to myself for a few minutes. I’ll be joining Brighton Museums at the end of June, so I expect I will have new favourites in six weeks’ time!
Do you have any cake preferences?
Victoria sponge or fruit scone (with jam and cream).
For a bit more detail about what I do, you can check out this short interview I did for the Association for Art History’s ‘Art History and Me’ series. I’ve also published on stereoscopy and travel as part of the ‘Great Sussex Book Sprint’ in June 2017, you can access this here.

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