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Sara completed both a BA and MA in Anthropology at the University of Victoria (Canada), specialising in prehistoric archaeology and visual anthropology. Following these degrees, she moved to the UK to pursue a PhD in Archaeology, graduating from the University of Southampton in 2011. Concurrent with her PhD, she held a British Academy research fellowship at the Society of Antiquaries of London, a managerial post on the English Heritage-funded Visualisation in Archaeology project, and a fellowship in digital humanities at Southampton.
Sara’s research focuses on the means by which archaeologists present the past to both academic and non-academic audiences—e.g., in museums, books, journal articles, magazines, exhibitions, lectures, on television, film and the web. Her work converges on the intellectual and economic consequences of these various forms of media, particularly how their use feeds back into disciplinary research questions and funding streams.
She is Director of the Visualisation Team at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük. She is also Co-Investigator on the USAID-funded project Memphis: Egypt's Ancient Capital.
Sara’s research centres primarily on the relationship between imagery, media and knowledge-making in archaeology, particularly the capacity for different forms of presentation to create, elaborate and disrupt the discipline. Her PhD focused on the entanglement of images in the foundation of one of the earliest departments of archaeology in the UK: London’s Institute of Archaeology. More broadly, her interests can be grouped into four themes, all supported by active cross-institutional partnerships.
Most of her publications are available for download on academia.edu.
Archaeological Visualisation: Sara’s primary research interest revolves around archaeologists’ skilful development, application, and analysis of visual media (photos, film, digital visualisations, illustrations, models, drawings, museum and temporary exhibitions, social media, and related 2D & 3D graphic presentations). This interest complements a long history of work on defining new methods of, and deconstructing existing approaches to, archaeological visualisation. Sara sat on the board of the Society for Visual Anthropology from 2011 to 2015, and on the managerial team of the landmark English Heritage-funded Visualisation in Archaeology project from 2007-2011. She is a judge on (and former chair of) the British Archaeological Awards' Best Public Presentation of Archaeology award.
Archaeological Interpretation, Politics and Museum Studies: Sara is the director of the Çatalhöyük Research Project's Visualisation Team, managing the public presentation and interpretation of the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük. Alongisde a mixed group of Turkish and Anglo-American students and researchers, she has been collaborating with the local community and the larger project team on the critically-engaged redesign of the site’s Visitor’s Centre; the ethnographically-informed production of new signage, informational material and related display items; redevelopment of Çatalhöyük’s online presence; the application of new digital visual technologies to the rethinking of the intellectual record of the site; and the longer-term heritage management of Çatalhöyük. She previously worked with Marius Kwint (Portsmouth University) and the Wellcome Trust in the curation of a major exhibition on the history of collecting human brains for the Wellcome Collection’s Spring 2012 exhibition programme in London: Brains - The Mind as Matter. In collaboration with an international team, she and her colleagues at York have contributed to the multi-year Urban Cultural Heritage and Creative Practice collaborative, aimed at exploring the possibilities and dissonances of experimenting with artistic production in urban heritage spaces.
Heritage Fieldwork: Sara is a co-investigator on the 10,000,000 EGP USAID-funded project Memphis: Egypt's Ancient Capital. From 2015-2017, she is working in partnership with Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) and the Egyptian Ministry of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, to regenerate the site of Memphis, creating a walking circuit around it, alongside related heritage management, tourist, education, business, community and media activities. The project will employ 120 local labourers, plus establish a field school -- the ninth AERA-run field school in Egypt -- to train a total of 80 Ministry inspectors in cultural heritage management and outreach. Sara is also the leader and designer of the University of York's heritage fieldschool, a programme of training and research in the creation, circulation, and evaluation of heritage interpretation for local archaeological sites, including the renowned Mesolithic site of Star Carr, and the WW1 training camp of Breary Banks. Here, she and the students have been working with local stakeholders in the development and deployment of short films and mobile apps.
Archaeological & Anthropological Theory and History: With Matthew Johnson (Northwestern University), Sara catalogued and assessed the archive of the archaeological illustrator and artist Alan Sorrell, previously on loan to the Society of Antiquaries of London. Sorrell’s unparalleled, heavily-annotated archive speaks not only to his relationship to neo-Romantic art and British identity in the mid-20th century, but also to the professionalisation of archaeological illustration in Britain, and the intimate involvement of the visual expert in the process and standardisation of disciplinary knowledge creation. Separately, Sara collaborated with Richard Wingate (King’s College London) on an analysis of the cultural value and pedagogical role of material culture (human brain matter) in neuroanatomy teaching classrooms.
Digital Humanities: Alongside Graeme Earl and Simon Keay (University of Southampton), Sara has contributed to a number of digital humanities initiatives, including design of the Portus Project showcase on the international Heritage Portal site, and strategic research into UK digital humanities programmes. Her ongoing work at Çatalhöyük and on the VIA project similarly cross-cuts this subject matter, with special attention to the means by which digital tools can be strategically used to enhance the intellectual capital of archaeological research.
(with Ancient Egypt Research Associates) 2015-2017, ‘Memphis, Egypt’s Ancient Capital: Site & Community Development’, USAID Grant, APS-2610,049,891, 10,000,000EGP.
2015-16, ‘Prototyping full-body interaction at Çatalhöyük, Turkey’, British Institute at Ankara, 4,000GBP.
2015, ‘Preserving Egypt’s Cultural Heritage: Mitigating Risks for a Sustainable Future’, Arts and Humanities Research Council/Science and Technology Development Fund, Research Workshop Funding in Cairo, Egypt.
(with Copplestone, T.) 2015, ‘The Heritage Jam’, University of York Department of Archaeology, 1,500GBP. (Secured annual funding for this event at £1,500 per year.)
2014-2015, ‘Prototyping visitor-centred mobile and mixed reality interpretation at Çatalhöyük, Turkey’, British Institute at Ankara, 3,000GBP.
(PI: Dr Jamie Hampson) 2014-2017, ‘Indigenous Heritage, Rock Art and Cultural Identity in Post-colonial Nations’, Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship, 221,000GBP.
(with Taylor, J.) 2014, ‘Framing Space at Çatalhöyük’, Centre for Digital Heritage, 1,000GBP.
(with Masinton, A.) 2014, ‘The Heritage Jam’, University of York Department of Archaeology, 1,144GBP.
Primary supervisor to:
Tara Copplestone, PhD candidate in Digital Heritage (full-time).
Meghan Dennis, PhD candidate in Digital Heritage (full-time).
Francesca Dolcetti, PhD candidate in Archaeology (part-time).
Patrick Gibbs, PhD candidate in Archaeology (part-time).
Dena Tasse-Winter, PhD candidate in Archaeology (full-time).
2012-2013, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews,co-editor on special issue: Curating Brains 38(2).
Major Invited Lectures
Fractured media: Challenging the dimensions of archaeology’s typical visual modes of engagement. 6th World Archaeological Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 29 June-4 July, 2008.
The ethics of visual data: Picturing inclusion, collaboration and engagement. Invited talk at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, CA, 19-23 November, 2008.
Creating and created by images: Visualisation and the establishment of the earliest archaeology departments in Britain. Invited colloquium to the Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada, 16 January, 2009.
Visual culture and archaeological scholarship: The role of images in the foundation of academic archaeology in Britain. Invited seminar to the School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, 19 March, 2009.
The productivity of the pictorial: Leveraging the possibilities of archaeological visual media. Invited lecture to the Association of Archaeological Illustrators and Surveyors, Bristol, UK, 4-6 September, 2009.
The rewards of archaeological visual media: Founding London’s Institute of Archaeology. Invited paper at the 3rd Visualisation in Archaeology workshop, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, 21-22 October, 2010.
Circulating images. Invited paper at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, New Orleans, USA, 17-21 November, 2010.
Visualisation in archaeology. Invited paper at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Theoretical Archaeology Group, Bristol, UK, 17-19 December, 2010.
(with =Johnson, M.) Romanticism and reconstruction: Alan Sorrell and his influence on archaeology. Invited lecture at the Society of Antiquaries of London, London, UK, 9 June, 2011.
Brains exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. Invited talk at the Petrie Museum Workshop on the Display of Human Remains, London, UK, 29 September, 2011.
Debating the Future of Archaeological Visualisation.Invited talk at the Institute for Archaeologists conference, Oxford, UK, 20 April, 2012.
Visual economies & the foundation of the Institute of Archaeology, London. Invited talk at Financing Archaeology workshop, University College London, 2 May, 2012.
Archaeological visualisation and the state of disciplinary theory: Model-making at the Institute of Archaeology, London. Invited participant at Archaeology After Interpretation Workshop, Oxford, UK, 11-13 May, 2012.
Archaeologists Anonymous. Invited panelist at the Society for Historical Archaeology conference, Leicester, UK, 9-12 January, 2013.
Debating the legacy of postprocessualism: Visual reflexivity at Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Invited talk at the Institute for Archaeologists Conference, Birmingham, UK, 17-19 April, 2013.
Visual media & the production of heritage. Invited talk at the Canadian Anthropology Society Conference, Victoria, Canada, 8-11 May, 2013.
Female intellectuals in the public eye. Invited talk at Intellectual Integrity: How to be a Public Intellectual Conference, University of York, UK, 9-10 July, 2013.
The online professional: Gendered engagements with digital media in the workplace. Invited talk at the Decoding the Digital Conference, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 12-14 September, 2013.
Women in Academia and Abuse. Invited talk to Gender Accessible Politics Group, University of York, UK, 1 November, 2013.
Publishing pictures: a history of archaeology in analogue and digital. Invited lecture at Centre for Digital Heritage Lunchtime Lecture Series, University of York, UK, 13 November, 2013.
(with =Johnson, M.) Making dry bones live. Invited lecture at Time’s Ruin: The Reconstruction of Alan Sorrell: A Day Symposium at Soane Museum, London, UK, 15 November, 2013.
(with =Marion, J.) Creativity vs. experimentation? Visual Production in Academic Practice.
Invited lecture at Visual Research Conference, Chicago, USA, 19-20 November, 2013.
(with =Shipley, L., Osborne, J.) Gendered engagements with social media in archaeological practice. Invited talk at the Australian Archaeological Association Conference, Coff’s Harbour, Australia, 2-4 December, 2013.
Safer internet day 2014. Invited talk at University of Oxford, UK, 11 February, 2014.
Cultural heritage in pictures: The state of play in current visualisation practice. Invited seminar at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, UK, 16 April, 2014.
Photography, making & the assembly of studies of the past. Invited talk at Royal Anthropological Institute Conference, London, UK, 29-31 May, 2014.
Crafting knowledge with digital visual media in archaeology. Invited seminar at University of Southampton, UK, 3 June, 2014.
Experimenting with critical making in the classroom. Invited talk at Google Apps for Education Conference, University of York, UK, 23-24 June, 2014.
(with =Morgan, C.) Toward a Productive Synergy With Media Archaeologies. Invited talk at Archaeologies of Media and Film Conference, University of Bradford, UK, 3-5 September, 2014.
Çatalhöyük before and after UNESCO: The reconfiguration of visitor demographics & tourist experience. Invited talk at European Association of Archaeologists Conference, Istanbul, Turkey, 10-14 September, 2014.
Gender and digital culture. Invited talk at International Symposium on Digital Ethics, Loyola University, Chicago, USA, 7 November, 2014.
Heritage & creativity. Invited talk at Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, Netherlands, 23 January, 2015.
Crowdwork & cultural data: Impact or exploitation? Invited talk at Leeds Data Mill, Leeds, UK, 18 February, 2015.
Towards an Archaeological Media Archaeology. Invited seminar at University of Bradford, UK, 13 May, 2015.
Critiquing the short & long-term impacts of crowdwork in archaeology & heritage. Invited lecture at the European Association of Archaeologists Conference, Glasgow, UK, 3 September, 2015.
(with <Roussou, M. et al.) The Museum as Digital Storyteller. Museums and the Web Conference, Chicago, USA, 9 April, 2015.
Acts of reading: Digital conversations @ British Library. Invited panel at the British Library, London, UK, 24 September, 2015.
Major Conference Sessions & Events Organised
4th annual post-graduate research conference. Co-organiser of annual Faculty of Law, Arts & Social Sciencesconference at the University of Southampton, UK, 21 May, 2008.
End/s, ethics, and images: A roundtable discussion on visual ethics. Co-organiser (with =Marion, J.) of invited session at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, PA, 2-6 December, 2009.
Objects and images in the history of archaeology. Co-organiser (with =Leckie, K.) of session at 16th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Hague, Netherlands, 1-5 September, 2010 (Presenter & session co-organiser with Katherine Leckie).
Alan Sorrell Project Workshop. Organiser of multi-institutional event at Society of Antiquaries of London, London, UK, 16 February, 2011.
Visualisation in Archaeology International Conference.Organiser of major international two-day professional conference at University of Southampton, 18-19 April, 2011.
Traces of the image: A roundtable discussion on visual ethics. Co-organiser (with =Marion, J.) of invited session at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Montreal, Canada, 16-20 November, 2011.
On the borders of the image: A roundtable discussion on visual ethics. Co-organiser (with =Marion, J.) of invited session at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, USA, 14-18 November, 2012.
Digital strategies for community engagement & knowledge mobilization. Co-organiser (with =Fletcher, S.) of professional workshop at Canadian Anthropology Society Conference, 8 May, 2013.
Seeing, thinking, doing: Visualisation as archaeological research. Co-organiser (with =Cooper, C. & Beale, G.) of international, live-streamed session at Theoretical Archaeology Group USA Conference, Chicago, USA, 10 May, 2013.
The online professional. Co-organiser (with =Shipley, L. & Osborne, J.) of dual-site, live-streamed session as part of the Gender and Digital Culture Project, York and Southampton, UK, 8 November, 2013.
Crafting critical/creative visualizations. Co-organiser (with =Marion, J.) of professional workshop at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, USA, 22 November, 2013.
Seeing, thinking, doing II: Visualisation as knowledge creation. Co-organiser (with =Cooper, C. & Beale, G.) of international, live-streamed session at Theoretical Archaeology Group UK Conference, Bournemouth, UK, 17 December, 2013.
The Heritage Jam.Co-organiser (with =Laino, F.) of international, multi-sited ‘making’-event at the Centre for Digital Heritage, York, UK, 12 July, 2014.
Crafting critical/creative visualizations. Co-organiser (with =Marion, J.) of professional workshop at the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, USA, 4 December, 2014.
Digital Ethics and the production of anthropology (Parts I & II). Co-organiser (with =Marion, J.) of international, live-streamed, two-part event at the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, USA, 6 December, 2014.
Analogue/Digital - Productive Tensions in Materiality and Archaeology. Co-organiser (with =Morgan, C.) of international roundtable at the European Association of Archaeologists Conference, Glasgow, UK, 5 September, 2015.
Parr, C. Academics face the cybercreeps alone. Times Higher Education, 21 November, 2013: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/academics-face-the-cybercreeps-alone/2009183.article
Perry, S. Cyber-abuse of academics – it’s time for action. Times Higher Education, 13 February, 2014 (op-ed): http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/cyber-abuse-of-academics-its-time-for-action/2011187.article
Çatalhöyük Visitor’s Centre, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Principal curator of permanent, on-site exhibition centre catering to >20,000 visitors per year, 2009-present.
OUTPOST, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. English Heritage-sponsored 8-poster exhibition, 18-19 April, 2011.
Brains: The Mind as Matter, Wellcome Collection, London, UK.Major public, mixed media exhibition (>100,000 attendees), 29 March-17 June, 2012.
Digital Humanities @ Soton, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. EPSCR-funded 33-panel touch-screen exhibition, installed September 2012, on permanent display.
After the Ice, Yorkshire Museum, York, UK. Public archaeology exhibition featuring four University of York-produced short videos about the Mesolithic site of Star Carr, installed 24 May 2013, on permanent display.
GroundBreaking: Presenting the past, inspiring the future, King’s Manor, York, UK. University of York-sponsored 16-piece interactive media exhibition, 19 June, 2013.
50 Years of Excavation at Çatalhöyük, Turkey, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey. Yapi Kredi-sponsored 60-panel exhibition, 10-21 September, 2014.
The Heritage Jam, Centre for Digital Heritage, York, UK. University of York-funded 17-piece interactive media exhibition, 11-12 July, 2014.
Our Archaeology: Bringing together Yorkshire’s Histories, King’s Manor, York, UK. University of York-sponsored 16-piece interactive media exhibition, 19 June, 2014.
Sense of Community: Excavating Yorkshire’s Pre|Histories, King’s Manor, York, UK. University of York-sponsored 17-piece interactive media exhibition, 11 June, 2015.