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Research

I began my research in the field of medieval gender studies, the household, subjectivity, intimate relationships and social identity – and my publications variously touch on these topics.

I am a member of the Birkbeck Centre for the Medical Humanities and I recently held a Birkbeck Wellcome ISSF mid-career pump-priming grant for a project entitled Conceiving Histories. This project connects academic literary history and visual art practice to discover and research a history of un-pregnancy (childlessness, trying to conceive and the ambiguity of early pregnancy) in the archives. This project is concerned to look at the fantasies about the body and scientific knowledge in the time before diagnosis of either pregnancy or infertility. Its central research questions are: how was un-pregnancy negotiated, experienced and described in the past and how might this historical knowledge contribute to questions and debates about the experience of trying to conceive or of childlessness today and in the future? Follow us on Twitter to find out more: @ConceivingHists

In 2011 I won a nine month Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for a project entitled ‘The Perpendicular Imaginary in the Late Middle Ages’ which set out to look at the human figure in relation to the strong vertical axes which governed medieval understandings of space. This work has become particularly focused on kneeling and how this gesture articulates medieval subjectivity. I have published some of this work in Studies in the Age of Chaucer and Textual Practice and more is ongoing

I am a member of the Birkbeck Material Texts Network a group set up to consider all aspects of the material text, medieval to modern. We have an facebook group (let me know if you'd like to join). We sponsor events in Birkbeck Arts Week and others throughout the year. See our website, join our facebook group or follow us on twitter (@MaterialTexts) to find out more.

I have been a member of the Gender in Medieval Studies group since 2000. I am now on the group’s steering committee and am the treasurer for a student travel fund, The Kate Westoby Fund. This fund gives students a contribution towards their UK travel expenses to attend the group’s annual conference, which is usually held in early January at a different university each year. We have an annual student prize which is awarded to the best postgraduate student essay on medieval gender and/or sexuality. Look at the group's website for further information.

I am the secretary of the International Piers Plowman Society. We have a great journal, The Yearbook of Langland Studies, and we organize and sponsor sessions at international conferences. You can find out more about and join the Society on its website.

I am on the editorial board for the Chaucer Studies series at the publisher D. S. Brewer which is always on the lookout for interesting new proposals in the field of Chaucer studies. For more information look at the Boydell and Brewer website or email me.