Material Witness is an interdisciplinary training programme for the interrogation of physical objects, spaces and environments by humanities researchers. This website features posts and discussions from the programme’s participants and organisers.

The programme’s main aim is to provide training for PhD students and early career researchers in techniques and methods for examining the material world. We aim to encourage researchers who come from different disciplines and backgrounds and who study diverse time periods, pre-modern and modern, to share ideas about the relationships between materials and meaning. The programme also promotes collaboration across (and beyond) the spectrum of humanities disciplines through the study of materiality. We want to take you on a thought-provoking journey through the sensory, social, economic and emotional aspects of peoples’ past and present interactions with the material world.

The programme is supported by CHASE, an AHRC funded consortium made up of nine institutions in the South-East (the Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Kent, and Sussex, Birkbeck and SOAS of the University of London, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, and the Open University).

The Programme was established in 2013 by Alixe Bovey at Kent, in cooperation with Susie Nash and Scott Nethersole (The Courtauld Institute) and supported by funding from the AHRC’s ‘Collaborative Skills Development’ scheme. In 2015, the programme was continued with support from CHASE and run by Paddy Bullard.

The 2016  programme is being run by a team from the University of Kent, Drs Ryan Perry and Catherine Richardson, and two doctoral students whose own research is focused on material culture, Rebecca Pope and Hannah Lilley.



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