The Team

This blog has been created as part of the AHRC funded project Hidden Collections: From Archive to Asset, with the support of Dr Katharina Lorenz, Associate Professor in Classical Studies and Director of the Digital Humanities Centre at the University of Nottingham, and Ann Inscker curator at the Nottingham City Museums and Galleries and curator of The Treasures of Nemi: Finds from the Sanctuary of Diana.

The team comprises six interdisciplinary researchers interested in the materiality and status of objects from the Roman period. Brought together due to an interest in archives and the digital dissemination of ancient artefacts, we have developed this blog to accompany Nottingham Museum’s latest exhibition. We hope to offer a fun but critical engagement with the exhibition and the Nemi collection whilst offering further information for complete novices in combination with academic research from specialists and experts in the field of Roman history.

To find out more about the team, their research backgrounds and interests please find a short bio from us all below. If you’d like any further information on the exhibition, blog, or us as individuals please feel free to contact us here.

Pete Bounous

Pete Bounous is a school teacher and modern historian, specialising in nineteenth-century Britain. Having recently completed an MA in West Midlands History, he is currently in the first year of a PhD at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on the material commemoration of ‘the great and the good’ of Victorian Birmingham and examines the motives behind these public gestures and what they reveal about the wider social, political and economic circumstances of the town.

As a historical researcher, he has worked for Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery to collate their Quaker holdings and written on the subject of nineteenth-century maps for Old House Books. Most recently, he has been commissioned by the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce to research and write a history of the organisation for its bicentenary in 2013.

Pete is committed to the dissemination of historical research to the widest possible audience and serves on the committee of the University of Birmingham’s Friends of the Centre for West Midlands History. He has spoken at conferences on the subjects of Victorian politics and nineteenth-century maps, and has written a number of articles for local publications.

Cara Davies

Cara is a performance artist and hobbyist archivist. Activating an interdisciplinary approach to practice-led research Cara’s praxis re-thinks the construction, use and dissemination of performance documentation and archives as works of live art. Artistically her practice focuses on issues of archival lacunae, re-presentation of documentation in performance, re-documentation of documents and the juxtaposition of the live and documented body. Challenging how these processes impart a fragmented understanding of identity, memory and bodily experience, Cara’s work spans a range of mediums including dance, video, live art, multi-media installation, online broadcasting and social engaged itinerant performance.

Cara is a selected Escalator: Live Art Artist (2011), who recently received an Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Award for the durational performance-as-research project Instability in Stability. In the last year she has presented solo projects in Cyprus, Spain, Utrecht, Finland and Turkey, whilst collaboratatively she has connected with a variety of choreographers, musicians, archivists and performance artists, working for instance as an assistant on The Performance Reenactment Society‘s piece Group Show (2012) at the Arnolfini, as part of the documentation team at Marina Abramovic’s symposium The Pigs of Today Are The Hams of Tomorrow (2010), performed with Sardinian-based collective Carovana S.M.I on their project Paesaggi Interrotti (2009), and became a founding member of the research collective Tracing the Pathway (2011).

Currently undertaking her PhD research at the University of Bristol, Cara maintains a professional connection between her role as a researcher with that of performer and documenter. Through her research she is considering the ways in which we can re-contextualise and re-mediate existing archive materials within new performative settings. The project is a part of Professor Simon Jones and Dr Paul Clarke’s AHRC funded project Performing Documents: modelling creative and curatorial engagements with live art and performance archives.

Jen Grove @JenniferEGrove

Jen is a freelance researcher, exhibition consultant and facilitator. She has a PhD in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter. Her interdisciplinary thesis looked at the collection and reception of ancient erotic objects in the late 19th and early 20th century. This moves beyond ideas of censorship and repression which have dominated our notion of ‘Victorian’ responses to such material. Instead it reveals how and why people were acquiring and studying these sexually explicit images in great numbers as a way of understanding human sexuality.

She is working as a researcher for the Sex and History project at the University of Exeter. This project works with museums, schools and youth groups to develops ways of using museum objects from past cultures in activities with young people to stimulate discussion around important issues of sex, gender, relationships, body image etc. A major exhibition of cross-cultural artefacts relating to human sexuality is planned for 2014 at Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter and will be informed by Jen’s doctoral research. She also does work for makinglearning project which brings together academic theory, craft practice, and community engagement to create caring and collaborative learning environments which prioritize creativity and empowerment. Jen co-facilitates a workshop based around the ancient practice of votive-giving.

Jen is passionate about objects and archives and their vital link between the past and the future, between cultures, and between the public and academia. She would ultimately like to work with collections, both hidden and well-known, exploring ways of engaging the public with them in increasingly meaningful ways.

Emma Jones @FieUponIt

Hidden Collections EmmaEmma is currently an AHRC-funded MRes in Medieval Studies student at the University of Birmingham. Her research explores the presence of humorous traits in Elizabethan scientific works — from plague tracts to books of secrets — using printed texts in the Early English Books Online digital archive. She also enjoys working with medieval and early modern manuscripts, most recently re-evaluating a seventeenth-century book (Cadbury Research Library MS 461) in light of student note-taking habits.  As a founding member of the Shakespeare Institute Palaeographers, she  has also contributed to an edition of seventeenth-century plays for the Malone Society.

Emma is deeply enthusiastic about heritage matters. While studying, she has undertaken a placement with the Birmingham Diocesan Advisory Committee and volunteered on an archaeological dig of an Anglo-Saxon great hall at Forden Gaer (with Cambrian Archaeological Projects). These have confirmed to her the importance of balancing development and preservation, encouraging community involvement and documentation. She is excited about the possibilities that digital resources such as this can offer for enriching engagement with historical objects, sites and texts.

Donna Taylor: @tiggerlet

Donna is currently studying for an AHRC funded MRes in Modern European History at the University of Birmingham. Her key area of research is 19th century Birmingham in the pre-Chamberlain period. In October 2013 she will be starting a PhD programme researching Birmingham’s town council, 1838-1854.

Donna is passionate about local history and has undertaken voluntary work with Birmingham Museums Trust, primarily as an object intepreter for the Staffordshire Hoard collection, but has been known to do a bit of weeding in Matthew Boulton’s garden.  In 2011 she enjoyed a four week internship at the Cadbury Research Library where she learned a lot about the importance of digital archiving and discovered that her alphabet skills are not always what they should be! One of her favourite past times is touching very old things. So far these have ranged from a prayer book of Catherine Medici, to dinosaur poo and of course Fundilia’s feet. The very oldest is a piece of meteorite, believed to be over 4 billion years old. She likes ‘hands on history’ and believes that everyone should have access to their heritage. Digitization offers an important breakthrough, and Donna is particularly interested in the use of social media for sharing local history and in the potential role that 3d printing could play in museums.

Rebecca Usherwood

Rebecca is an ancient historian, currently completing her PhD in the Classics department of the University of Nottingham. Her thesis focuses on the dynamics of memory and forgetting in the Roman Empire, specifically the role of political memory as a tool to create, negotiate or destroy imperial legitimacy in the Constantinian period. The major theme of her thesis is the ‘rhetoric’ versus the ‘reality’ of memory sanctions (imperial edicts and laws ordering the destruction of an individual’s memory): what on the one hand literary sources claim happened, then on the other hand the insight material evidence can give us into what actually happened, and what it means when the two do not match up. Her interests in political memory extend to modern contexts, particularly the Arab Spring.

She has spoken widely at conferences in the UK and Europe, and in 2011 was selected for a fellowship at the British School at Rome for a project entitled: “Unwriting Usurpation: political memory culture in fourth-century Rome”. She has taught Roman & Greek art, literature and history at Nottingham University. Her wider interests extend to arts and heritage, particularly how the gap can be bridged between specialised academic projects and public outreach to a wider audience.