Hannah Ayres (she/her) is a third year PhD student based in the department of Sociology at the University of Warwick. She is researching queer re/presentation in museums and how queer individuals create, critique and internalise these re/presentations. She has previously taught on modules to do with sexuality, gender, research methods and queer theory. Hannah has also helped to produce guidance for the University of Warwick on inclusive teaching for trans and gender-diverse students. One of Hannah's proudest achievements is the creation of queer/disrupt, alongside Nick Cherryman. This group focuses on making queer knowledge, topics, and histories accessible for a general audience. She currently helps to oversee the general running of the group and makes strategic decisions on the future of the group.
Hannah's previous research (at MA level) looked at how museums were re/presenting sixteenth and seventeenth century witchcraft in the UK, Europe, and America.
Queer history; public history; queer theory; memory studies; visual sociology; gender and social theory.
History permeates people's everyday lives in several ways. One of the most powerful is through public historical re/presentation in public-facing institutions such as museums. Museums, which are often publicly funded, have a large impact on what history gets remembered and internalised in the public consciousness. This research project aims to investigate queer historical re/presentation in museums in the UK. I also want to understand the ways in which queer individuals and communities create, react to and possibly internalise these re/presentations.
I use 'queer' as a term in my project in three ways:
- As an umbrella term that can yield more productive conversations around inclusivity and exclusivity over the more traditional LGBTQ+ moniker.
- As an indicator of that which opposes the norm.
- As a verb to deconstruct 'logics and frameworks' and dismantle 'the dynamics of power and privilege' (Young, 2012:127).
My methodological approach aligns closely with queer and feminist methodologies. I am using what Halberstam terms a 'scavenger methodology', bringing methods together in an interdisciplinary manner. I aim to co-produce data with my participants and reject a 'god-like' researcher position. My methods involve a combination of discourse analysis, ethnography, field-notes, observation, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and a visual method called photovoice. Photovoice allows participants to communicate how they identify with objects, text, spaces etc. through the medium of photography.