Professor Catherine Clarke is Director of the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community at the Institute of Historical Research
Catherine is a cultural historian specialising in the Middle Ages, but she also works across a wide range of periods on questions of place, identity, heritage and uses of the past.
Professor Catherine Clarke holds the new Chair in the History of People, Place and Community at the Institute of Historical Research, and is Director of the Institute’s Centre for the History of People, Place and Community. As part of this role, she is also Director of the Victoria County History.
Catherine joined the Institute in February 2019, moving from the University of Southampton, where she had been a Professor in the English Department since 2012, and where she remains a Visiting Professor.
She is a tutor on the MA in History, Place & Community, for which she is convenor of the Applied Public History module and (with Dr Simon Trafford) the Connecting History module.
A specialist in medieval literature and cultural history, Catherine’s research field has expanded as she has pursued her research interests in places and their representation, and interpretation of the past today. Her research takes her to all kinds of fascinating sites: from getting muddy in the Welsh Marches, to exploring devotional practices in Ethiopia, to crawling through the Bronze Age mines deep under Cheshire’s Alderley Edge.
Catherine’s research is built on inter-disciplinary approaches, and embraces creative and practice-led methodologies and co-production with partners beyond academia, as well as traditional scholarship. In recent years, she has led AHRC-funded projects including City Witness: Place and Perspective in Medieval Swansea, and the St Thomas Way: a new heritage route from Swansea to Hereford, inspired by a real medieval pilgrimage, with immersive multimedia content for each site on the trail.
Catherine's wider academic work
Catherine is Academic Director of CARMEN: The Worldwide Medieval Network, and Programme Co-ordinator for Anglo-Saxon Studies at the annual Leeds International Medieval Congress. She is Series Editor for Places and Spaces: Medieval to Modern (Arc Humanities Press) and a member of the editorial board for Brepols Studies in the Early Middle Ages.
Catherine is passionate about communicating and making research with communities beyond the academy, and in creative formats. Her media engagement includes The Conversation, BBC radio, and television. She has collaborated with others to produce museum exhibitions, artworks, city trails and interactive digital games as new ways of thinking about and sharing current research.
Medieval Cityscapes Today (‘Past Imperfect’ Series, Arc Humanities Press, 2019)
Writing Power in Anglo-Saxon England: Texts, Hierarchies, Economies (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2012)
Literary Landscapes and the Idea of England, 700-1400 (Cambridge: DS Brewer, 2006)
The St Thomas Way and the Medieval March of Wales: Exploring Place, Heritage, Pilgrimage (‘Places and Spaces, Medieval to Modern’ Series, Arc Humanities Press, forthcoming 2020)
Journal of Medieval History 41.3 (2015), ‘Power, Identity and Miracles on a Medieval Frontier’ (also published in the Routledge ‘Special Issues as Books’ series, 2017)
Mapping the Medieval City: Space, Place and Identity in Chester c.1200-1600 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011; paperback 2013)
Selected articles and book chapters
‘Place, Time and the St Thomas Way: An Experiment in Five Itineraries’, in The St Thomas Way and the Medieval March of Wales: Exploring Place, Heritage, Pilgrimage (as above)
‘Place, identity and performance: spatial practices and social proxies in medieval Swansea’, Journal of Medieval History 41.3 (2015), 256-272
‘Witnessing history: perspectives on medieval Swansea and its cultural contexts’, Journal of Medieval History 41.3 (2015), 249-255
‘Imagining medieval Chester: practice-based medievalism, scholarship, and creativity’, Studies in Medievalism XXV: Medievalism and Modernity (2016), 115-134
‘Crossing the Rubicon: Writing Civil War in Twelfth-Century England’, in Essays and Studies 2014: War and Literature, ed. Laura Ashe and Ian Patterson (Cambridge: DS Brewer, 2014), pp. 61-83
With Paul Vetch and Keith Lilley, ‘Between text and image: digital renderings of a late medieval city’, in Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture, ed. B. Nelson and M. Terras (Toronto: Iter, 2012)
‘Re-placing masculinity: the DC Comics Beowulf series and its context, 1975-6’ in Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination, ed. Nicholas Perkins and David Clark (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2010)
‘Panegyric and Reflection: A Poem by Abbo of Fleury to Ramsey Abbey’ in Anglo-Saxon England and the Continent, ed. Hans Sauer and Joanna Story (Tucson: Arizona University Press, 2011), pp. 293-302
‘Edges and Otherworlds: imagining tidal spaces in early medieval Britain’, in The Sea and Englishness in the Middle Ages: Maritime Narratives, Identity & Culture, ed. Sebastian Sobecki (Cambridge: DS Brewer, 2011), pp. 81-103
‘Remembering Anglo-Saxon Mercia in late-medieval Chester’, in Mapping the Medieval City: Space, Place and Identity in Chester c.1200-1600 (as above, 2011), pp. 201-218
‘Medieval Chester: Views from the Walls’ in Mapping the Medieval City: Space, Place and Identity in Chester c.1200-1600 (as above, 2011), pp. 1-18
‘Place, poetry and patronage: the Libellus Æthelwoldi Episcopi and its contexts’ (Landscape History, 2010; part of a pair of articles with the archaeologist Christopher Taylor)
Recent invited lectures and plenaries include the Denys Hay Lecture, 2016 (University of Edinburgh), Digital Heritage, 2014 (University of York), Lost and Transformed Cities, 2016 (University of Lisbon), and Emotions: Engines of History, 2018 (University of Silesia).
Panel discussions include ‘Place and Performance: Virtual Encounters with Material Worlds’ (Im/material Network, University of Glasgow, 2019) and ‘Public History Now!’ (Layers of London event, London Metropolitan Archives, 2019).