After an early career in excavation, recording of standing structures and the management of listed buildings (adding them to the list and dealing with the casework implications thereafter), I started work for the University, on a three-year fixed contract, in 1991. I had never intended to return to academia after my degree but after three weeks of my temporary contract, I had a Damascene moment when I thought “Ah - this is what I thought a University should be about!“ (of which more below). So I stayed.
I began as a lecturer in the Archaeology Department, building on my professional experience. As well as undergraduate teaching in medieval archaeology, I directed studies for Masters courses Archaeological Heritage Management, Archaeology of Buildings, and (when the Institute for Advanced Architectural Studies was absorbed into the department), for Conservation Studies. My research centred on the archaeology of buildings and the philosophy of conservation. Perhaps my most important contribution was my 1997 book, Mediaeval Housing, although I am also proud of my work on ontological security as a rationale for conservation.
I was Head of Department from 2001 until 2006 and then went into the Senior Management Group, initially as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Students, then from 2012 as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and briefly as Acting Vice-Chancellor. I retired in 2015.
In retirement I am revising the North Riding of Yorkshire volume of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s magisterial national survey, The Buildings of England. It is amazing work, and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I am also still involved with the Archaeology Department - I devised and now help to run a casework training opportunity for postgraduates students.
York’s commitment to knowledge for the public good, education for all those capable of benefiting from it whatever their economic circumstances, and internationalisation in its broadest political sense were the foundations that attracted me to spend a long and happy career here. Long may the University continue to espouse those values.