As a cultural historian I aim to produce a form of interdisciplinary history which draws on the Warburgian tradition in stressing the interrelation between linguistic, pictorial, material, and spatial practices in the articulation of cultural identities. My focus is mainly on late medieval and Renaissance Italy and on their reception in the nineteenth century. I am also interested in cultural translation in the broadest sense and in exploring new ways of reading and writing about the past whilst addressing the present. My two formative influences at undergraduate and graduate level were Peter Burke and Michael Baxandall.
Areas of particular interest include:
Rhetoric and the revival of popular vernacular oratory 1240-1512 / parchment printing and the bioarchaeology of the book/ Space and communal imagination in the late medieval communes / The medieval reception of Cicero, Sallust and Boethius / The Florentine republican territorial state under the Medici / Artistic patronage and cultural translation in Renaissance Italy / Cultural theory and the historiography of the Italian Renaissance / Cities and Urban Experience / Italy in Manchester in 19th Century
Collaborations and networks
I was on the Academic Advisory Board of the 4-year ERC-funded project 'Oral Culture, Manuscript and Print in Early Modern Italy, 1450-1700' led by Prof. Brian Richardson, was participant in the AHRC funded 'Street Life and Street Culture Network' 2009-12, and was a member of the steering group of the AHRC funded 'Historical Sociolinguistics Scientific Network' 2008-09. I was also involved in the 'cities@manchester' initiative which led to the foundation of the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI) in 2017 within the Faculty of Humanities and am on the Academic Advisory Board of the Mellon-funded 'Medici Archive Project' . In 2013, I co-organised a two-day international conference in Manchester entitled 'Locating Boccaccio in 2013' and co-curated a six-month exhibition under the same title at the John Rylands Library.
I am currently involved in a collaborative research project on printed parchment books in the Renaissance which is part of the 'Books and Beasts' initiative involving colleagues at the Universities of York, TCD, UPenn and Virginia. Part of this work included the co-curated exhibition 'Merchants of Print: from Venice to Manchester' which ran at the John Rylands Library to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Aldus Manutius in 2015.