Lauren A. Wainwright

Lauren A. Wainwright

Department of History
Teaching Fellow in Medieval History

Contact details

Address
Arts Building, 432
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Though broadly a medievalist, my research interests lie largely in the field of Byzantine studies, specifically art history and gender.

Qualifications

  • BA (Ancient History)
  • MA (Antiquity in Byzantine Studies)
  • PhD (Byzantine Studies) - University of Birmingham

Biography

My interest in Byzantium began in the third year of my undergraduate studies at the University of Birmingham where I was studying Ancient History. From there, I undertook an MA in Antiquity with a pathway in Byzantine Studies, in which I received a distinction. I received Midlands3Cities funding for my PhD entitled ‘Portraits of Power: The Representations of Imperial Women in the Byzantine Empire’, which was completed in December 2018. I joined the staff of the School of History and Cultures as a Teaching Fellow in Medieval History in September 2019.

Teaching

My teaching experience ranges from Late Antiquity to the later medieval period, covering a broad geographical range from Anglo-Saxon England, to Byzantium, to Tang China. I have taught on broader survey courses to specialised modules on areas from Byzantine empresses (300-1204) to the urban development of western medieval Europe (900-1500).

In previous years, I have also been involved with AWAS, wherein I undertook subject-specific, student-facing tutorials, focusing on research and essay writing skills, and leading a series of dissertation workshops for third year undergraduates.

Undergraduate teaching, 2015-present:

  • Practicing History (A & B)
  • Discovering the Middle Ages
  • Living in the Middle Ages (1050-1500)
  • Towns and Urban Life in the Middle Ages
  • Group Research Projects
  • Byzantium and the Transformation of the Roman World (330-850)
  • Late Antiquity

I am also supervising undergraduate dissertations on topics within the Medieval West, up to the Reformation. 

Postgraduate teaching:

  • Historical Methods

Research

My research focuses on the perception and representation of women in the Mediterranean, broadly defined, in the first millennia AD. During my PhD, I concentrated on the representations of Byzantine empresses, evaluating the messages that their images – of which there are a multitude in this period, from the fourth to the fifteenth century – conveyed to their intended audiences, and specifically examining the formation of these ongoing patterns, both in terms of continuity and change, over the whole period of the Byzantine Empire. In the next phase of my research, I am looking to the lived experience of women, particularly the relationship between women and their bodies, and menstruation, noting both realities and perceptions, from Late Antiquity onwards. Initially, I worked within a framework of material culture supplement by text, but I am now utilising textual sources to a greater extent, whilst incorporating gender and art historical analysis as well as the methodological approach of Life Course studies.

Other activities

During my years as a postgraduate, I was the lead curator on the exhibition Excavating Empire: The Forgotten Archive of Mount Sinai, in conjunction with the Cadbury Research Library, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and M3C. I also assisted on the exhibition The Last Roman: Peasant to Emperor as well as working within the Coin Room to facilitate the building of an online catalogue for the Late Roman coins.

I was involved in the CBOMGS postgraduate-led outreach program and co-led the program in the 2015/2016 academic year, as well as leading sessions with students. As well as introducing the Byzantine Empire, this program was aimed at encouraging local GCSE level students to continue studying history at A-level and then continuing with it at university. It involved a hands-on approach using material culture from the Byzantine period and beyond, and run entirely by a team of postgraduates. The project was funded by Sandwell Council (2012-16) and resulted in three schools attending day-long sessions

More recently, I am a member of the Athena SWAN team in SHaC (2019).