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In this session, we’ll find out more about what different types of researchers actually do in a typical day. The aim is to help build understanding of the research questions, methods and approaches of people from varied backgrounds and viewpoints.  We've invited people to speak who can cover one/more of the following areas: 


  • local history 
  • family history 
  • archives 
  • academic history
  • house history

We hope to break down misconceptions about what research work involves and find similarities in our experiences which will allow us work together more successfully in the future.

Keira Gomez is an independent scholar, with an MA from Birkbeck. Her work focuses on family folklore, the ripples of traumatic events across generations, ethics of writing history, new ways of using oral history, and more generally, the histories of crime and conflict. She blogs at Courtroom Ghosts.

Margaret Makepeace has worked with the collections in the India Office Records since 1979 and is a qualified archivist.  She has worked on the development of online archival catalogues and of digital document collections. Margaret manages, and is a major contributor to, the British Library history blog Untold Lives which draws out from the shadows little-known stories from the past.

Melanie Backe-Hansen is an independent house historian specialising in researching the social history of houses. She works with private homeowners and corporate clients, while also being an author, speaker, TV consultant and on-screen expert. She is research consultant for BBC programme, A House Through Time, and also co-wrote the book to accompany the series, with David Olusoga.

Paul Dryburgh is a Principal Record Specialist at The National Archives (UK), where he specialises in medieval records. A qualified archivist, Paul specialises in government and society in the British Isles in the 13th and 14th centuries. He is also the designated specialist on TNA’s wax seals collection. Prior to joining TNA in 2014, Paul worked as an access archivist at the Borthwick Institute, University of York, where he developed a research interest in ecclesiastical records. He also has a keen interest in the training of linguistic and palaeographic skills needed to access premodern records. Paul is currently Co-Investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project, ‘The Northern Way’, which aims to explore and reveal the role of the Archbishops of York from 1304-1405 and will provide a rich new local history resource for the medieval north of England. Paul is also Co-Investigator of the Medieval Exchequer ‘Gold Seam’ on the Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury project, funded by the Irish Government.

In terms of local history, Paul is currently the Acting Chair of the British Association for Local History, Honorary Secretary of the Lincoln Record Society, and President of the Mortimer History Society.


Tanya Evans is Director of the Centre for Applied History at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her research is focussed on family history and public history. Her books include Family History, Historical Consciousness and Citizenship: a New Social History (Bloomsbury, 2022), Making Histories (De Gruyter, 2020), with Paul Ashton and Paula Hamilton (as co-eds), Fractured Families: Life On The Margins in Colonial New South Wales (New South, 2015); (ed.) Swimming with the Spit, 100 Years of the Spit Amateur Swimming Club (New South, 2016); with Pat Thane, Sinners, Scroungers, Saints: Unmarried Motherhood in Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2012) and 'Unfortunate Objects': Lone Mothers in Eighteenth-Century London (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). She is currently undertaking collaborative research with family and local historians, and archaeologists in the Blue Mountains in Australia.


All welcome, this seminar is free to attend but booking is required.