Alexandra Hewitt

Alexandra Hewitt

Department of History
Research Associate

My research focuses on social history, material culture and architecture in sixteenth and seventeenth century England.


  • PhD, History (University of Birmingham) awaiting
  • MA, Renaissance, Reformation and Early Modern Studies (University of Birmingham)
  • BA, History and Political Science (University of Birmingham)


I joined the University of Birmingham as a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project The Cultural Lives of the Middling Sort, 1560-1630. The project examines the cultural lives of the literate, urban ‘middling sort’ in early modern England, analysing the broad range of written and material forms they both produced and consumed.

I have worked on a number of research projects with organisations in the heritage and museum sectors, including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Museum of London where I investigated the use of digital platforms (e.g. social media) in community engagement projects.

I am currently completing my PhD project at the University of Birmingham, funded by AHRC Midlands4Cities. My project focuses on the relationship between social identity, building and interior decoration in early modern England.


My primary research interests are early modern social history, domestic buildings and material culture. I focus on social mobility between the ‘middling’ and gentry levels of society, thinking about how people used their homes to construct and display their status.

I am currently working on my PhD thesis which looks at the relationship between social identity and domestic interiors through a reconstruction of William Shakespeare’s lost townhouse, New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon (1597-1616). I use this reconstruction as a tool to explore how others of a similar social status to Shakespeare used their urban homes in the complex process of self-fashioning. 

My work with AHRC-funded project The Cultural Lives of the Middling Sort focuses on the material cultural practices of the urban ‘middling sort’ in early modern England. Some of the most famous English writers were members of this key, but neglected, social group. Fully understanding their production and consumption patterns helps us to reconstruct the urban environments and cultures in which significant writers such as Thomas Nashe and William Shakespeare grew up and participated.

Other research interests include public history and digital engagement. My role with the Middling Culture project focuses on public engagement outputs, including work with partner organisations. I am especially interested in how digital technologies can be used as a tool for meaningful public engagement.



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