A SSiM-based research team including Jonathan Reinarz (PI), Shane Ewen (Co-I; Leeds Beckett University) and Rebecca Wynter (RF), funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Standard Grant, are undertaking a major four-year project that draws together expertise from the history of medicine, the senses, psychological trauma, disability, emergency services, and urban history.
The Forged by Fire: Burns Injury and Identity in Britain, c.1800-2000 project will generate an innovative programme of public engagement and burns awareness activities, including a graphic novel by artist Sarah Silverwood Taylor, delivered in collaboration with local fire services and other external partners.
Throughout the past two centuries, Britons have experienced personal and collective tragedies involving burns and scalds, which have been connected to British culture and society and were rooted in the habits, practices and material culture of home, workplace, war, and play. Using the distinctive residential and industrial milieus of three case studies, Glasgow, Birmingham and London, and encompassing perspectives from Belfast and Cardiff and ‘iconic’ fires and disasters, this project will investigate how burns have shaped individual, group and urban identity in modern Britain. Not only will this embrace explorations of professional identity, from the emergency services and burns teams to wounded service personnel, but also class, gender and race through considerations of, for example, acid-attacked women and the New Cross fire.