The Postdoc Fellowship 2008/9


The Culture of Enthusiasm: Technology, Material Culture and Museums

The purpose of this postdoctoral fellowship is to disseminate research findings to both academic and policy audiences. The research in question examined the culture of enthusiasm, paying particular attention to technology, collecting and museums. Involving ethnographic fieldwork with three enthusiast societies and extensive collaboration with the Science Museum in London, enthusiasm was encountered from three perspectives. Firstly, the research investigated enthusiast groups from a sociological perspective exploring how enthusiasm is organised, communicated and performed collectively. Secondly, the research explored the ways in which enthusiasts engage with technological artefacts and sites. Drawing on recent work from material culture studies, it considered questions of technological nostalgia, hoarding and the afterlife of collections. Thirdly, influenced by work on amateur and expert knowledge, the research considered the place of the enthusiast in the museum context and identified museum professionals as ‘material people’.

The programme of work for the fellowship year includes: preparing papers for publication in academic journals; submitting articles to practitioner, policy and enthusiast publications; disseminating executive summaries; participating in and convening a number of thematic sessions at national and international conferences; organising a workshop at the Science Museum in London; constructing an award website; and preparing and submitting research grant proposals

My mentor is Professor Clive Gamble also at Royal Holloway.

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