Hannah Reeves (2018 Cohort)



About me: I hold a Bachelor’s degree in History of Art and a Master’s degree in Art and Politics, both awarded by Goldsmiths, University of London. Throughout these studies I developed a strong interest in the socio-political dimension present in all creative practice; I believe that in today’s world this dimension is present even in the act of non-engagement with the socio-political. My exploration of wide-ranging creative practices has been informed by specific interests in feminist performance, theory and history, and late 20th-century post-structuralist philosophy. I have a strong interest in commoning and mutual aid and have been involved in such work as part of Food Not Bombs; this has also directed my academic interests. Since finishing my studies I have worked in education.

My Research: My research project is a theoretically-engaged investigation into Crossbones Garden of Remembrance, Southwark. Focusing on this previously disremembered burial ground for paupers and sex workers, I aim to demonstrate that the creative community action that maintains the site illuminates the potential for prefigurative projects to transform local collective memories. This transformation is a continuous process beginning with the gradual re-remembering of Crossbones from 1996 onwards. The Outcast Dead, too poor or too unholy to be buried on consecrated ground, neglected by the collective memories and sensibilities of the Victorian era in which Crossbones was closed, have encountered a new generation of mourners, whose social perspectives have been transformed by the gulf of time, and whose perspectives the presence of the Garden in turn transforms.

The Difference My Research Makes: My research aims to help cement the local status of Crossbones while its public visibility is at once growing and under threat, by highlighting the particular vitality of a space established and maintained by creative practices that engage with the embodied memory of the site. In the case of Crossbones, a space celebrating and honouring those who lived on society’s margins now finds itself in a newly central and exclusive location, challenging perceptions of those who stumble upon it. Crossbones exemplifies a broader potential for visibility for the lives and memories that are in the process of being written over by regeneration; for example, the area’s many social housing blocks that are now overshadowed by the Shard, in both the physical and symbolic sense.

Supervisors:  Dr Margarita Palacios, Dr Ben Gidley

Pathway: Psychosocial Studies

Location: Department of Psychosocial Studies (Birkbeck, University of London)

Email: TBC