Talking Memory Project Contributors

Collaborators for this project:


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Dr Jim Harris

Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum 

Jim Harris’s work in academic programming at the Ashmolean has developed new ways for the Museum to use museum collections in cross-disciplinary contexts at Oxford and beyond, in particular with regard to the training of Early Career Researchers. This continuing project has helped place the Ashmolean at the heart of an international conversation about object-based teaching and learning in the university environment, with partners as far apart as Lund in Sweden, Aarhus in Denmark, Laramie, Wyoming and Athens. The Museum’s current engagement with social prescribing and wellbeing ties into other aspects of this.  Jim is part of the team developing a new curriculum in Psychiatry and Neuroscience focused on medical professionalism, working closely with Expert Patient Tutors.  And for the past nine years he has worked with consultant psychiatrists (including old-age psychiatrists) using the Ashmolean collections in their continuing professional development.  Talking Memory brings together two key elements of Jim’s and the Museum’s work - the training of ECRs in object-based teaching and engagement and the cross-curricular, interdisciplinary use of the collections - within the Ashmolean’s wider mission to develop new ways to serve its audiences, of whom older visitors are among the most important.


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Alexis Gorby

DPhil Student

School of Archaeology

Alexis Gorby is a DPhil candidate in Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on late antique sarcophagi from known archaeological contexts. Through an investigation of case studies from across the Mediterranean, she examines sarcophagi in relation to their ritual and architectural settings. Drawing on theories of memory, as well as the spatial, sensorial, and emotional turns in Classics and Archaeology, she explores how sarcophagi would have been experienced by their audiences. Her research has been supported by the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture. Alexis’s work in museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Huntington has centred on creating programmes and resources which make academic research accessible to different audiences. Her interest in museums and wellbeing began during an internship with The National Trust and later during Oxford’s PER summer school. During the summer school she created a programme to combine her research on sarcophagi with museum events aimed at destigmatizing conversations about death and dying, which was awarded seed funding. She has worked with Jim previously on Talking Sense and Talking Emotions.

 twitter  @alexiscgorby


Ashmolean PER Research Associates:

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Carol Torres Gutiérrez

DPhil Student

Carol is a DPhil student at the University of Oxford currently reading for a degree in Oriental Studies. Her research interests focus on religious minorities in the Middle East, sectarianism, political theology, social movements in the Global South and transmodernity.

She has over four years of experience doing fieldwork among Christians in Upper Egypt and working in NGOs. Carol obtained an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University in Cairo, she holds a Baccalaureate degree in Arabic, Islamology and Inter-religious Studies from Dar Camboni, and has been an Ibn Batutta Scholar in El Qalam Wa Lah in Rabat.

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Cathy O’Brien

DPhil Student

Cathy is a second year DPhil candidate in the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Her research aims to investigate the development of pottery skills in COVID-19 Britain and its affective impact from the theoretical perspective of Material Engagement Theory (MET), which argues that there is a radical continuity between cognition and material culture. She seeks to explore whether digital or socially distanced learning alter skill development, and the role learning resources in developing pottery skills outside of ‘traditional’ educational structures. As well as, whether there are positive (or negative) affective impacts, generated through learning pottery skills, and why this happens.


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Connie Sjödin

DPhil Student

Connie Sjödin is a DPhil candidate in History of Art at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the development of Algerian Modernism following independence from France in 1962. She traces the use of Amazigh symbols, tattoo imagery, geometric abstraction and the human figure in the work of radical 1960s artists. She draws on theories of social memory, aesthetics and transculturation in order to unpick the heated artistic debates and productions of a decolonised Algeria.



Frederick Morgan

DPhil Student

Fred is a first year DPhil Candidate at Merton College, Oxford. His work interrogates the “bodily” and “ghostly” binary in Late Medieval devotional writing and art, with a particular focus on mystical texts, vernacular sermon cycles, devotional verse, church wall paintings, religious sculpture, and East Anglian manuscript illumination. Outside of academia, Fred is a keen printmaker as well as an eager (if unaccomplished) rock climber.   




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Hanna Smyth

Public Engagement Officer

Hanna is the Public Engagement Officer for the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (in Oxford's Medical Sciences Division), having previously worked on the Heritage Partnerships team (Humanities Division) and central Public Engagement with Research team (Research Services). She completed her DPhil in Global & Imperial History in 2019, focusing on First World War memorials and cemeteries and their relationships to identity and empire. Her broader research interests include commemoration, conflict, grief, and distance and how these interact through material culture. Hanna has previously worked with the Museum of Oxford, Palace Green Library (Durham), and Richmond Museum (Canada) in exhibitions and collections roles, and has prior degrees in Museum Studies and Classical Archaeology. 


 twitter  @hannamsmyth



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Irene Echeverria-Altuna

DPhil Student

Irene is a DPhil student in Neuroscience at the Brain and Cognition Lab, University of Oxford. Broadly, she is interested in cognitive functions such as attention and memory and how they are supported by the brain. More specifically, her doctoral research studies how we form memories of the temporal regularities around us and use them proactively to guide our interaction with the environment. In Talking Memory, she will explore memories through the metaphor of threading, weaving, and knotting.

Faculty Website:

twitter  @irenetxeberria


Find out more about Talking Memory Humanities Cultural Programme project here.