I am currently involved in a series of interrelated research projects.
Mining Memories (with Gareth Hoskins) is an AHRC-funded research projects exploring how the environment features in the interpretive programming of industrial heritage sites. It focuses on three locations: Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park in California; The Big Hole in Kimberley, South Africa; and the Blaenafon Industrial landscape in the UK. These are places of abrupt, dramatic and substantial environmental ruin but have been marked out as special because they reflect social triumph, human ingenuity, and the technological colonization of nature. The project explores more effective ways of engaging with the agency of the environment through practices of designation, resource management, and interpretation.
‘The time-spaces of soft paternalism: state, citizenship, governmentality‘ is a Leverhulme Trust-funded project which considers how and why the notion of soft paternalism has emerged as an important mechanism of government in the UK. In contrast to harder kinds of new paternalism, soft paternalism refers to the efforts made by both states and private institutions to promote individuals’ welfare in a less coercive manner, where subjects are afforded an element of choice. It indicates a more overt process through which subjects are encouraged to actively buy in to particular kinds of behaviour to improve their own welfare.