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Library & Archives

2 Posts tagged with the centre_for_arts_and_humanities_research tag






by Geoff Belknap


I have just joined the Centre for Arts and Humanities Research (CAHR) at the NHM, in collaboration with the University of Leicester, as a postdoctoral fellow on the AHRC project Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries.


The project as a whole is looking at how non-professionals – whether termed lay, amateur or citizen – participated in the production and communication of science through historical and modern media platforms.





The project works in collaboration with scientists at the University of Oxford who are putting our historical analysis into action. Through the Zooniverse project scholars in the physics department are creating digital platforms which harness the power of the ‘citizen scientist’ to create data for a range of scientific disciplines.


The historical strand of this project, which is the side I work on, is investigating this question – how an amateur participated in science - through the lens of the Victorian periodical. My work, aims to understand how illustrations reproduced in natural history periodicals over the period of 1840-1890 allowed a range of audiences to participate in the production and communication of knowledge about the natural world. The excellent collections of periodicals at the NHM form the base of this research – in particular the unparalleled range of English local natural history society journals. I come to both the NHM and this project as a historian of Victorian science, visual culture and periodical history. My PhD, which was completed at the University of Cambridge in 2011, focused on the reproduction of photographic images within late Victorian periodicals. I have also worked as a researcher and post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University on both the Charles Darwin and John Tyndall Correspondence Projects.


Cicely Proctor has joined us for a summer internship working with the Centre for Arts and Humanities Research (CAHR).


She is in her second year of a degree at Southampton Solent University, studying 'Writing, Fashion and Culture'.








In her first 2 weeks she has already participated in behind the scenes tours for potential collaborators with CAHR, giving her an insight into the daily work of museum staff.


This has included watching the preservation of palaeontological specimens in our Conservation studio, the pressing of dried plant specimens by a herbarium technician and learning about curation of moth speciemsn undertaken by entomologist Martin Honey.







Cicely has been given the task of studying the recent Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation relating to 'Classifying and measuring the creative industries'. Next month Cicely will be meeting with individual staff members from the Library & Archives team to learn more about the types of researchers who use our collections and how many could be classed as coming from the 'creative industries'. Information collected by Cicely will go towards a longer term plan of how the museum can encourage more researchers such as fashion designers or artists to use the collections.


When you speak to Cicely, it is clear how struck she is by the size of the collections that she has already witnessed behind the scenes, and how she never realised this as a regular visitor to the Museum.


We are looking forward to her working with us over the summer and hope that she really enjoys learning more about the museum, its collections and how researchers from all different walks of life could be interested in our collections.