National Museums Liverpool (NML) is a group of eight exceptional museums and galleries, sharing important stories from ancient times to today through collections consisting of four million objects of global importance. Our venues are Lady Lever Art Gallery, Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House, World Museum, International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Seized, and the Museum of Liverpool, which, combined, welcomed more than three million visitors in 2019/20. Our mission is to create memorable experiences, challenging expectations. Caring for and providing deeper understanding of our collections is at the heart of this mission. NML aims to ensure that each of our eight museums and galleries has the highest standard of offer and that our collections and colleagues are fully equipped to deliver quality public engagement. Our vision for 2030 aims to ensure that we have the right facilities to look after our collections and be a leader of cultural and economic growth for the Liverpool City Region and other heritage organisations across the North of England. As part of this vision, NML created a new structure for the Collections Care Department in 2019, to support the delivery of our collections' storage, exhibition programme and ongoing developments of permanent display spaces alongside strengthening opportunities for collaborative work, including research. From sharing hidden microscopic details uncovered in the conservation of Walter Sickert's drawings to creating the first Biobank for NML's outstanding zoology collections, AHRC funding will enable a real step-change in our capabilities. The benefit will be felt across our collections, from recently excavated archaeological finds to affecting future environmental sustainability. Funding will renew NML's role as a regional leader in Heritage Science research. It will provide us with an essential facility for elemental analysis and microscopic imaging and will consolidate research already being undertaken on NML's collections. Having our own modernised equipment will enable us to proactively take the lead on research projects, be more cost effective and sustainable and provide new opportunities for income generation. The equipment will strengthen our ability to provide a vital service to other smaller museums and heritage organisations in the region enabling them to access analytical facilities difficult or impossible to access outside the London-based national museums. New cutting-edge equipment will help us to fulfil our remit as a national to build capacity in the North West and strengthen existing collaborations with strategic HEI partners, Independent Research Organisations and regional and national partnerships in the cultural and heritage sector. Our increased research capability will also strengthen NML's ambitions to invest in research and technological development to create highly innovative, exciting museum experiences with new partners from the creative industries sector.
This project seeks a new understanding of the relationship between Christianity and the state in late antiquity (c. 250-700 CE). It examines how Christian ideas permeated the representation and practice of governance in the later Roman Empire at the end of antiquity, and developed into the basic political framework of the Byzantine Empire and post-Roman Europe. This process of Christianization is hardly understudied. For centuries, historians have debated the implications of the Emperor Constantine's conversion in 312 CE; more recent work has traced the complex cultural and social impact of the resulting legalization and expansion of the church. But these new histories of religious change have left the state behind. Through my leadership activities, I will seek to diversify and revitalize the study of late ancient Christian political thought. I will run panels at international meetings and a conference in Liverpool leading to an edited volume. This network will move discussion away from old-fashioned analysis of the constitutional relationship between emperor and bishops to explore a wider social history of governance (e.g. gendered praise and invective, the imperial family, ethnic discourse, demonology). It will also seek to reshape old narratives by incorporating previously understudied texts, languages, and regions of western Eurasia. These network events will build on a conference I ran at the University of Liverpool in June 2019. My individual research project takes a novel approach by focusing on overlooked Christian political actors: not emperors, kings, or bishops, but rather the thousands of administrators who served late Roman and post-Roman regimes in their palaces and across their provinces. More often than not, it was these elites through whom people in the late ancient Mediterranean experienced the power of the state. This project assembles and analyses the literary and material evidence for the religious beliefs and practices of imperial and royal officials across the Mediterranean world between 400 and 600 CE. By considering these texts and objects in the light of modern theories of identity, I will evaluate how the religious affiliations of this service aristocracy impacted their political agency. Reconstructing contemporary expectations of these Christian officials will provide a window onto how Christian political thought was put into action and shaped the day-to-day reality of governance in the later Roman Empire and its successors. The result will be a new account of how religious change reshaped the culture of the state in societies from Gaul to Mesopotamia in late antiquity. The main outcome of this project will be a monograph on the religious identities of imperial and royal officials in the fifth and sixth centuries. This book will speak to wider histories of Christianization, the relationship between 'church' and 'state', and the formation of western ideas of secularity and (de)secularization. The major Impact element of the project will be a collaboration with the Antiquities curators of the Liverpool World Museum to help plan and realize an exhibit of their classical collections opening in February 2021. As part of this team, I will use my research in this project and my wider expertise to advise on the display of late ancient objects not currently accessible by the public, as well as giving spotlight talks. This partnership will feed into further collaborations, including a Study Day on best practice in exhibiting late ancient material which I will organize for summer 2022 in partnership with Prof. Bonnie Effros. In sum, this Early Career Leadership fellowship would allow me to establish myself as an international research leader in my field, bring my second book project to fruition, and develop a substantial Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement project which will engage with museum curators and a wider public.
This public history project explores place and memory in the waterfront districts of seaport cities, taking Liverpool as its case-study. Historically, the waterfront zone was a vibrant, multi-functional space, frequented at different times of the day and night by a plethora of people, including mariners, merchants and clerks, shipping office workers, industrial workers, dock and warehouse labourers, bartenders, sex workers, police officers, tourists and social reformers. Many aspects of this society survived into the 1960s, when airlines and containerisation removed the need for most people to work in or even visit the urban waterfront, resulting in rapid dereliction and community dispersal. The focus of this project is the visual capture of personal and community experience of Liverpool's central waterfront district in the 1950s and 1960s, the last generation of traditional seaport society. Cultural mapping workshops and film-making will encourage contributors to identify and recreate their own histories of this space, exploring community identity and continuity, and generating findings for academic and museum research. \n\nOutputs in the form of visual memory maps and video histories will enhance knowledge of the built heritage and material culture of these spaces, primarily by identifing and interpreting key sites of memory. The project moves beyond earlier oral histories, using cultural mapping methodology to document cityscapes and people's experience within them. The core data collection will take the form of memory-mapping workshops with former waterfront residents, workers and visitors. Participants will create annotated maps answering specific questions about the locations of sounds, traffic, different groups of people, dangers and threats, and places of varying significance to them at different points in their lives. Participants will also be asked to discuss archive photographs and film, comment on relevant museum collections, and bring materials of their own. In the course of these workshops, the project will acquire a rich collection of visual, oral and material evidence. Film-makers will then interview selected participants on location, building explict visual connections between sites of memory and recollection. Broader public debate and engagement will be encouraged through the creation of a website, which will host material contributed to the project in the form of image, text and film. \n\nThe project outcomes reflect the complementary priorities of the museum and academic partners, and will be created collaboratively. An interactive web resource will combine elements of the memory maps generated in the participant workshops with film and audio commentaries on significant locations, artefacts and images. This resource, along with the artefacts and archive collections themselves, will provide a new context for interpretation and use of collections, and should form the basis of future exhibits. An urban history journal article will explore the project's methods and findings in the context of the PI's existing (text-based) work on earlier eras of waterfront economy and culture. A museum studies or public history journal article will discuss the project's methods and findings in comparison with earlier examples of waterfront community involvement and oral history in museums, considering in particular this project's appreciable broadening of subject matter and exploitation of new media for collection and dissemination. A 20-minute documentary film will encapsulate the community, museum and academic elements of the collaboration, and will be on display in the Merseyside Maritime Museum. All project materials will be acquired into the permanent collections of National Museums Liverpool and will be publicly accessible, via the website and the Maritime Archives & Library. \n
In partnership with Merseyrail and the University of Liverpool's Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M) we would like to invite members of the public, artists and scientists to help create a science trail that tells the story of the building of a particle accelerator in one of Liverpool's underground railway tunnels, and its control room in a Liverpool museum. Ten years previous to the completion of the LHC tunnel, engineers completed a circular tunnel beneath the city of Liverpool. With 4 stations, the Wirral Line loop (WLL) facilitates millions of journeys annually as passengers access Liverpool's iconic waterfront, museums, business districts, shopping areas, universities and homes. The Wirral Line also connects some of the areas with lowest rates of accessing higher education in the UK. We would deliver the project in three main phases: Phase 1: We tell the community about our STFC funded work (including contributions from particle, nuclear and accelerator research clusters). These events, led by academics and students from the University of Liverpool, will draw parallels between the tunnels of the LHC and WLL. The community sets the scientific objectives of the accelerator. We outline a 'design brief' for the accelerator. Phase 2: Public submitted designs are reviewed. A celebration of the ideas will take place in printed and social media. Some carefully selected ideas are taken forward to commissioning stage. Phase 3: Working with external companies, groups and physics workshop to implement the science trail. The trail will bring to life the idea of an accelerator installed in Liverpool city centre, which is based upon the responses of the public. The trail will include: -art installations at each underground station (potentially representing 4 detectors of LHC); -interactive exhibits at Lime St station (gateway to Liverpool, facilitates 16 M annually); -control room experience at the World Museum, Liverpool. In the accelerator control room, we will look at the global perspectives of physics, including the role of accelerators in medicine, uniting the world through collaboration on large scale science experiments; -marvelous machines and history of accelerators experience at the VG&M. The completed materials would initially remain on show in Liverpool for one year.
The relationship between film and urban environments in one that is well established in writings on both film and cities. From the earliest days of the medium, the immaterial architectures of film have played a significant role in the way cities have been imagined and represented. Yet despite the almost elemental bond that exists between the filmic and the urban, there have been surprisingly few attempts to map the relationship between filmic representations of urban space and the social, material and lived spaces within which they are embedded. In this regard the current AHRC-funded project 'City in Film: Liverpool's Urban Landscape and the Moving Image' has proved ground-breaking insofar as it has sought to directly engage with the materiality of the urban fabric underpinning film practices in Liverpool. However, there are few explicitly cartographic analyses of film in studies to date. This project will provide the first full and extended research into this field of enquiry by developing an interactive digital map of Liverpool in film that will draw on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Utilising already established resources on Liverpool's urban landscape in film, which include a comprehensive database of films made in and of Liverpool from 1897 to the 1980s, the research will enable different urban spatial formations (filmic, architectural, geographic) to be brought into critical spatial dialogue. Geographically referencing the film footage within contemporary and historical landscapes, this innovative project will establish a unique and sustainable model for research into cities and film. Maps, as Franco Moretti notes, function 'as analytical tools...bringing to light relations that would otherwise remain hidden'. By opening up the different cinematic spaces of the city to detailed cartographic and spatial analysis the researchers will be able to explore more effectively the correlation between the material development of the city (for example, changes in patterns of mobility, the horizontal and vertical expansion of the city, housing and transportation developments, architectural quality) and the filmic spaces of representation that have mediated and captured the changing character of Liverpool's urban fabric.\n\nThe research will involve detailed spatial analysis of a range of non-fiction genres (actualities, amateur/independent, documentaries, newsreels). The ability to geo-reference the data drawn from these films enables the project team to pursue innovative avenues of research that will contribute to interdisciplinary discussions on themes of place, space and representation within urban environments. The digitisation of selected film footage is integral to the analytical and evidence-based engagement with our research problems and questions. By conducting extensive ethnographic and qualitative research amongst amateur and independent filmmakers in Liverpool and Merseyside, as well as archival research into both filmmaking and planning practices in the city, we will gain a detailed understanding of the social, political and historical contexts within which key film practices were situated . This contextual data, along with audio-visual material drawn from interviews, oral histories, as well as digitised footage from a core selection of filmic material, will be incorporated within the GIS map, providing a rich and multi-layered reading of the city's architecture and social, cultural and historical geographies. \n\nOne of the principal aims of this project is to explore cutting edge ways of disseminating research on film to a wide range of audiences, through, for example, public screenings and exhibitions, conferences and seminars. In 2010 a version of the GIS film map will form part of an interactive public display to be exhibited at the new Museum of Liverpool, and the complete database will be accessible form the university library for scholarly and research activity.