I’m currently a second-year PhD student at the University of Oxford, where I’m working on a DPhil Global & Imperial History with the Globalising and Localising the Great War network. I research the material culture of British imperial remembrance on the First World War’s Western Front: in other words, Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials and cemeteries representing India, South Africa, Australia, and Canada in France and Belgium, and how they represent and reinforce different types of identity (imperial, national, individual, collective…).
Material culture is the common thread tying together my academic background: I have a BA in Classical Archaeology & History from the University of British Columbia, and an MA Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. I’m very passionate about the museums & heritage world and how it intersects with academia. I’ve previously held various paid and unpaid positions in Canadian and UK museums; a few of my favourites have been Collections Technician at @Richmond_Museum, exhibition researcher at @PalaceGreenLib, and of course my current museum home @MuseumofOxford, where I’m one of their Young Innovators volunteers!
In addition to my PhD studies, I have a few other quasi-academic responsibilities that mean a lot to me: I work as the UK Coordinator for @vimyfoundation (a Canadian non-profit in First World War education) and as a research assistant for a professor in Islamic history, and I’m co-organizing this year’s @fwwsoc conference (#wartime16, November 10-11).
Here are some of the things I’d like to discuss with you, although I’m looking forward to adding other ideas that build on ones arising during the week:
First World War, particularly commemoration and memory; both public and academic
Historical anniversaries and how they’re marked
Collective and individual memory, and how it’s formed/perpetuated/represented
Memorials and cemeteries, and more broadly the material culture of remembrance and identity in all its forms
Social history of death and remembrance
Material culture; how museums, archaeology, & history intersect
Hidden interests: what do you find fascinating that isn’t even close to what you specialize in?
‘academic kindness’: I’ve heard some great stories and I know there are more!
You can normally find me tweeting at @hannamsmyth. I’m also on instagram at @hanna_memorials, where I post photos from WWI-related trips to France & Belgium.