I am a transdisciplinary researcher working between psychosocial studies, sociology, and environmental anthropology. I teach on the BA Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck and work as a PhD tutor for The Brilliant Club. I am currently editing a volume, Creative Disruption: Psychosocial Scholarship as Praxis, with Clau di Gianfrancesco and Guilaine Kinouani. Alongside my scholarship and teaching, I enjoy community gardening, open water swimming and practising yoga.
My PhD research is based at Crossbones Graveyard, Southwark. This post-medieval burial ground was intensively used to bury the working class and poor residents of St Saviour’s Parish during the 17th-19th centuries. Having been industrially redeveloped after its closure, Crossbones Graveyard has now been reclaimed as a “wild” Garden of Remembrance for “the Outcast Dead” by the local community. The Garden is shaped by a unique ethics of cultivation, which challenges entrenched notions of nature and culture as oppositional: intensive anthropogenic disturbance of the landscape is pervasive, alongside ‘the possibility of life in capitalist ruins’ (Tsing, 2015). I ask: what can this ethics of cultivation teach us about living and dying well in human-altered landscapes?
My thesis considers who (or what) gets to participate in remaking public memory, how, and with what consequences. It argues that these processes (including processes of documenting them) cannot be fully understood through the lens of the individual. Rather, Crossbones demands a ‘more-than-individuated’ (Kaishian & Djoulakian, 2020) framework to consider how practices of care, making-kin and memory-making bind together bodies across human/nonhuman and living/dead distinctions.
The Difference My Research Makes:
My project situates Crossbones as a microcosm of the Anthropocene: the proposed geological epoch in which humans have altered “nature” to the extent that anthropogenic disturbance is sedimented into the geological record. As such, my research contributes to an emerging interdisciplinary field that aims to notice, document and understand the impacts of the Anthropocene.
Locally, my research is deeply committed to consolidating the body of knowledge around Crossbones Graveyard. I aim to honour and celebrate knowledge from below and dedicate my research to the burial ground’s continued protection.
Pathway: Psychosocial Studies