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Two Birkbeck academics awarded Future Leaders Fellowship renewal funding

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) award Future Leaders Fellowships to talented people in universities, businesses, and other research and innovation environments. 

A controlled cluster bomb explosion in a rice field in Laos
A controlled cluster bomb explosion in a rice field in Laos

Dr Esther Breithoff, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Archaeology and Heritage, and Dr Sarah Marks, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, have both been awarded prestigious three-year UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) renewal funding. 

These awards provide additional funding of up to £567,000 to provide a continuation of the original FLF fellowship.Building on their original 4-year projects, the renewal projects will allow Dr Breithoff and Dr Marks to continue their leadership initiatives and innovative research-led teaching activities both within the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, and their respective fields of Contemporary Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies, and the History of Science and Medicine and Interdisciplinary Mental Health Studies.  

Dr Esther Breithoff 

Dr Breithoff’s original FLF project, Material Memories, explored the contributions of archaeology and heritage studies to understanding the ongoing social and cultural scars that occur in the aftermath of twentieth century conflicts and authoritarian regimes in South America and Southeast Asia. Her renewal project, Ecologies of violence: heritage and conflict in more-than-human worlds, builds on and compliments that project by focusing on the local impacts of violence on landscapes, ecologies and people in Paraguay, Laos and France. In doing so, the project studies how landscapes ‘remember’ past violence against both culture and nature, and how this impact relates to issues of present/planetary concern, including the climate emergency and ongoing issues of global social and economic inequality.  

Dr Breithoff will continue her work in Paraguay and Laos, and will be joined by Birkbeck postdoctoral researcher Dr Matthew Leonard and Co-Investigator Dr Layla Renshaw (Kingston University London) to lead on the Zone Rouge case study in France. New international and local partnerships and collaborations with a range of organisations (including mine and other unexploded ordinance clearance Non Governmental Organisations and governmental agencies), Ecologies of Violence brings together international research, policy-making, and practice in relation to cultural and natural heritage, to explore the interfaces and relationships between them.  

Dr Sarah Marks 

Dr Marks’s project 'Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies in Britain: Welfare, The State and the Individual since 1948' has traced the long history of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and its predecessors in the NHS from the early years of behaviour therapy to New Labour's Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies scheme, and its appropriation in Global Mental Health settings. The renewal project is entitled 'Experiencing CBT' and shifts the focus to understanding service-users' perspectives, past and present. Sarah will work with Birkbeck postdoctoral researcher Becka Hudson on a history and anthropology of CBT-based interventions in the UK criminal justice system; and Birkbeck postdoctoral researcher Rachel Starr and co-investigator Professor Jonathan Smith, Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck, to develop approaches for researching individuals’ lived experiences of psychotherapeutic treatment. The fellowship also supports Marks’s work as Director of Birkbeck’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Mental Health. 

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