My provisional thesis title is 'Nature Collected, Nature Captured: Cultures of Collecting, Visual Spectacle and Polities of Nature 1640 -1780'. My thesis is concerned with the collection and arrival of exotic animals in England in the period 1640 -1780 and exploring their reception, display and interpretation. I will be 'hunting' these animals in coffee houses, fair, private homes, cabinets and early museums. I have recently been researching the elephant as spectacle,cadaver and specimen in late seventeenth and early eighteenth-century England, Scotland and Ireland. am currently working to investigate the coffee house as a location for the collection and display of living exotica and specimens in this period. The display of natural curiosities alongside religious and royal ephemera at Don Saltero's Coffee House is a particularly compelling opportunity to explore the dialogue between commerce, politics, natural history collecting and display.
I am a first year PhD student at the Centre for Museology supervised by Dr Samuel Alberti (Centre for Museology) and Professor John Pickstone ( Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine). I studied here for the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies in 2004/05, writing a MA dissertation on Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley and natural history collecting. Before coming to Manchester and the discipline of museology I studied for a BA in Archaeology and History at the University of Wales, Lampeter.
'Parlour Parrots and Brawling Bears': Cultures of Collecting and Visual Spectacle in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England' Visual Cultures Postgraduate Conference University of Manchester, January 2007.
'Don Saltero's Coffee House: Beans and Beasts 1695-1799' 'Nature Behind Glass' Conference University of Manchester, September 2007.