Who We Are

Our committee consists of students, alumni, researchers and museum professionals – find out more about us and our contributors here!

Jen Turner (Student Chair and Editor)
Jen Turner is a PhD student in Egyptology and Collections Assistant for the Eton Myers collection on loan to the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include Egyptian material culture and the relationship between text and image, museum learning processes, the visitor’s interaction with ancient objects and how museums can better facilitate their audiences.

Jenny Lance (Associate Editor)
Jenny Lance is Curator of Art at Research and Cultural Collections at the University of Birmingham. She is responsible for the dispersed art and sculpture collections and temporary exhibitions and displays on campus. She also works with contemporary artists through the Artist in Residence and Radical Sabbatical programmes to produce new creative responses to campus collections and academic research.

Stephanie Boonstra-Westerling
Stephanie Boonstra is a PhD student in Egyptology at the University of Birmingham and Collections Manager for the Egypt Exploration Society. She previously worked as Research and Collections Assistant with Research and Cultural Collections, and as Museum Curator of Egyptology at New Walk Museum in Leicester. Her research focus is on the production of Eighteenth Dynasty scarabs.

Will Conroy
Will Conroy is a current MA Medieval Studies student at the University of Birmingham, and works in the area of religious history focusing on the traditions of Japan, Korea and China, with his current research concerning the effects of imported continental ritual traditions in Nara (710-794) and Heian (794-1185) Japan. He uses material culture to flesh out what we can learn about the past through textual sources, and to highlight facets of society that may simply have never been recorded in documents.

Niall Gallen
Niall Gallen is a M4C funded PhD candidate in Literature researching the milieu of artist Eduardo Paolozzi, and his contemporary J.G. Ballard in relation to the contemporary theory of accelerationism. Niall co-runs the Contemporary Theory Reading Group and Play/Pause at UoB; he also frequently participates in events with the Centre for Digital Cultures. His other interests include modernism, critical theory, the materiality of texts, and literary and artistic responses to technology and media.

Claire Jones
Dr Claire Jones is a Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Birmingham. She specialises in nineteenth-century French and British sculpture and the decorative arts, and has a particular interest in intersections between sculpture and the decorative arts, between art and industry, and in curating the decorative. Claire is currently completing a new monograph ‘Sculptural Experiments in Britain, 1837-1901.’ 

Ruth Leger
Ruth Leger is a current MA student in Art History and Curating with a passion for ancient art. She loves research and being able to reconstruct a story, whether that is of an artefact or a building. Ruth is also teaching sixth form courses in (ancient) history.

Clare Mullett
Clare Mullett is the Director of Culture and Engagement and Director of Research and Cultural Collections at the University of Birmingham. Clare leads a new consolidated unit, bringing together the Cultural Engagement and Research and Cultural Collections teams. Through activities such as exhibitions, festivals, events, volunteering opportunities, internships, partnership projects and public programmes, the team engage thousands of stakeholders a year and support core University priorities including research, teaching, the student experience and civic and global engagement.

Kate Nichols
Dr Kate Nichols is a Birmingham Fellow and art historian at the University of Birmingham. She specialises in the history of Britain and the British Empire between c.1815- 1920, and is interested in viewer interactions with ancient and modern sculpture and painting in Victorian contexts, the depiction of race, class, gender and sexuality in British painting, and the relationship between art, labour and new technologies in the 19th century.

Helen Waite
Helen Waite is a University of Birmingham alumna who studied Philosophy, Religion and Ethics BA whilst actively volunteering in the cultural institutions across campus. Helen has just completed the UoB Cultural Internship at Birmingham Museums Trust incorporating her specific desire to include marginalised groups in the arts through interpretation and management. Helen continues to develop her knowledge, instigating a conscious approach to collections use and, through her Masters degree, questioning the ethical use of material culture in museology. 

Anna Young
Anna Young is Curator of Research and Cultural Collections at the University of Birmingham.



Beth Brankowski is an MA student on the History of Art and Curating course at the University, where she also undertook her undergraduate degree in Art History. Currently completing her dissertation on the American artist and writer David Wojnarowicz, Beth is hoping to pursue a career in the arts sector after graduation.

Lauren Dudley is a former graduate of the University of Birmingham’s History of Art department and her thesis subject centred on the life and work of the artist, Hubert Robert (1733-1808), during the French Revolution.

Emma McCullen completed her undergraduate degree in History at Queen Mary’s, University of London in 2017. She recently graduated from the University of Birmingham with a Modern British Studies MA, and completed her dissertation on female autonomy and social class in 1960s British television plays. She joined Birmingham Museums Trust as a Research Assistant  in November 2018.

Sarah McDermott Brown is an MA History of Art and Curating student at the University of Birmingham. She undertook a placement at the Research and Cultural Collections in which she  assisted and delivered a gallery tour for their exhibition, from which this essay has been adapted.

Clare Stainthorp was the Nineteenth-Century Matters Fellow at Cardiff University (2017/2018) after completing AHRC-funded doctoral research at the University of Birmingham. An upcoming publication  by Clare Constance Naden: Scientist, Philosopher, Poet is due to be published in summer 2019 by Peter Lang. Clare is currently pursuing research into nineteenth-century freethought networks, and can be found tweeting at @ClareGS87.