Research output per year
Research output per year
As Deputy Programme Director for the MSc in Science and Health Communication I teach and supervise widely across this programme, leading units on ‘Communicating Ideas’ and ‘Science, Medicine, and Journalism’. I also teach on the MSc in HSTM as well as supervising undergraduate projects in HSTM, science communication and elsewhere.
I am always happy to supervise projects on visual, material, and sensory histories of medicine and health; contemporary science and medical fiction, film and pop culture; and public engagement with science and health.
For 2021-23 I will be coordinating the undergraduate unit 'From Cholera to COVID-19: A global history of epidemics'.
Tuesdays 1-2pm or by appointment
Office: 2.26 Simon Building
I am a lecturer in Science and Health Communication with a broad interest in visual and material cultures of health and medicine. From sixteenth-century anatomical woodcuts to contemporary infographics tracking the current global pandemic of COVID-19, visualisations have much to tell us about our understandings of and assumptions about health, sickness, bodies, and ourselves.
My background is in the history of medicine and I received my PhD in history from the University of Warwick in 2012. My thesis focused on the visual construction of knowledge about venereal disease in nineteenth century London. Since then, I have attempted to move on to less gruesome topics with very little success. My first postdoctoral position was at Imperial College London where I worked on the history of minimally invasive surgery as well as the Time Travelling Operating Theatre public engagement project. Following this I worked at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science where I was based in the research group looking at 'The Construction of Norms in Seventeenth to Nineteenth-Century Europe and the United States'.
Since joining CHSTM in 2015 my interests have moved further into the contemporary period. I have worked on surgical illustrations in the twentieth century, exploring a collection of illustrations made by Manchester-based medical artist Dorothy Davison. My current research is into the anatomical and surgical imagery used in contemporary horror film and tv.
Moving slightly away from my historical work, I am currently developing some work that explores the prevalence of surgical and anatomical imagery in contemporary horror. Drawing on horror and gothic studies I seek to understand what surgical and anatomical aesthetics – particularly historical ones – offer to creators seeking to horrify audiences in contemporary media such as the Saw film franchise and the tv series Hannibal.
Visualising Venereal Disease
I am also in the process of revisiting some of my doctoral work on the visual construction of venereal disease in the nineteenth century. This was a time when understandings of disease were shifting rapidly and profoundly producing a vast array of visual material. Taking the form of portraits of patients, illustrated medical texts, wax and plaster models of symptoms, preserved specimens, or photographs, these visual representations have much to tell us about contemporary understandings of the disease, its sufferers, doctors, and cures.
Over the last few years I have been involved in several public engagement projects. The most high profile was the Wellcome Trust funded ‘Time Travelling Operating Theatre’ which sought to open up the closed world of surgery to a general public using an immersive tour through the history of surgery from the 1880s to today. This project used historical re-enactment and surgical simulation to engage a wide audience, techniques that our team are keen to develop further.
I am also a historical consultant for a series of comic books created by Sara Kenney: Surgeon X is set in a dystopian near future where antibiotic resistance has proved catastrophic. Planet DIVOC-91 tells the story of a group of young people dealing with isolation after evacuation to a new planet and was co-created with a group of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am particularly interested in these sort of interdisciplinary and creative collaborations that have the potential to create wide-reaching and meaningful public engagement.
Doctor of Philosophy, Visualising Venereal Disease in London c.1780-1860, The University of Warwick
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter › peer-review
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter