My post-doctoral research at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) examines the history of human wildlife conflict through visual records of carnivores, in-particular big cats, from different cultures and periods. The intention is to better understand how cultural species evolve in accord with their real-life counterparts, how the desire to assign symbolism to animals connects human cultures across time, and how this may benefit the conservation of wildlife in the future. Areas of particular interest are the court culture of Mughal India, and the early trade in exotic wildlife in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain.
My doctoral research formed part of ‘Court, Country, City: British Art, 1660-1735’, a major collaborative research project between the University of York and Tate Britain. Focusing on the little studied written accounts of English art that were produced in these years, my thesis investigated the contexts of their production, their qualities as texts, and their authority as interventions in a rapidly transforming cultural scene. As part of the project I also collaborated on an exhibition which took its title – Dead Standing Things: still life 1660-1740 – from my research on the literature of the period, and ran from 31 May–30 September 2012 at Tate Britain. I also contributed towards an extensive new online database of primary sources – The Art World in Britain 1660–1735 – that provides a research tool for the study of the arts in late 17th and early 18th century Britain.