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.