‘The Crime Museum Uncovered’ at the Museum of London

Last weekend, a friend and I visited the abovementioned exhibition, which showcases for the first time a curated collection of items from the Metropolitan Police Museum, also known as the Black Museum.  Until now, these have only been available to view to a limited number of people, and the popularity of the exhibition demonstrates how many people have been intrigued and fascinated by this hidden collection.

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A Birthday Spread

Seeing as it’s my birthday, I thought I’d do a blog post with the theme of only children’s birthday parties.  What I’m hoping to show is that only children did have friends, and that there was a big variation in how they celebrated their birthdays, and the reasons for this variation were not that they were only children.

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Social History Geekery in York

I took a week off from blogging (and pretty much everything else) last week because my partner and I took a holiday in York.  I definitely needed some work-free time between the busy-ness of the conference and the onslaught of a new term (not that I’m complaining about the latter, mind…).  We did all the tourist-y things, including visiting a few museums - well, you can’t _not _visit museums on a visit to York!  As ever, it was the human stories that interested me most in the museums.

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‘Myth and Popular Memory’ Conference, University of Essex, 11-12/9/15

So, we survived the conference.  Apparently we made it look quite easy, but inside we were like STRESS STRESS STRESS STRESS STRESS.  Anyway, now it’s blog day again, and it’s time for me to write my report.  I’ve decided that rather than adopt a panel-by-panel approach, I’m going to draw out the key themes that really grabbed me during the conference.

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The Highs and Lows of Conference Organisation

Today and tomorrow mark the culmination of nine months of hard work by me and my PhD buddy Nicolle.  No,we’re not having a baby - we’re having a conference, which I’m pretty sure is just as joyful and stressful.  It’s called ‘Myth and Popular Memory’ (#mythpop if you’re on Twitter), and hopefully it will be wonderful (if I post about some other subject next week, you’ll know I’m too traumatised to talk about it).  There have been some things I’ve liked about organising a conference, and some things I’ve not enjoyed so much.

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Big Data Summer School

I took this week out of my studies in order to learn about Big Data at my university’s summer school on the subject.  As I enjoy research and am interested by different types of information, and am also trying to expand my skills and get employers to hire me after my PhD, I thought it would be worth going to, and I did indeed learn some new things.

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The Devil in the Details: The Curious Case of Cecil Day Lewis

Inspired by Helen Rogers’ great recent post for The Voice of the People online symposium, this week I’m going to write about one of my most complex only children: poet and novelist Cecil Day Lewis (1904-1972).  As Helen points out, while Big Data certainly has its place in historical study (and it’s something I’m currently learning a lot about in order to widen my employability horizons), there’s also a very important place for intimate, deep reading of texts.  In fact, my thesis is basically a bunch of in-depth case studies formed into a vague order, with commentary, and Big Data appeals to me as a way of starting off with a large dataset, but then focussing in on interesting individual details.  Day Lewis’ case shows how what might be deemed typical ‘only-child’ behaviour is a lot more complex than it would seem on the surface, and possibly not even the result of being an only child at all.

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