I am an unconventional and extra-curricular History PhD student at the University of Oxford. I enjoy pushing the boundaries of the historical discipline and have a passion for finding ways to share scholarly research that are engaging, accessible, and beautiful.
Naturally, I spend much of my time researching a very niche topic with all the rigour of a classic historian. I hang out in libraries and archives, trawl through books and records, and even interview people who are still around to talk about their experiences of the conflict commonly known as the Northern Ireland Troubles, which is the subject of my PhD research. I give papers at conferences and write articles on the nature of the violence perpetrated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) with an appropriately academic tone. I would be a particularly poor PhD student indeed if this were not the case
But, I am crucially aware that my own work and that of my peers will only ever reach a limited audience. The books and online journals that academic research is published in books are prohibitively expensive. And, even on those rare occasions when access is open and free, the length, detail, and tone of most academic writing will exclude the none-expert reader. It is my hope that my less conventional and extra-curricular endeavours will, contribute towards bridging this gap by translating the fascinating research of historians into content that will appeal to a broader audience.
I intend to use this site to share my personal research and travel experiences using blogs, photography and film. And, I will be using the wider platform of my research network, Violence Studies, to disseminate the work of other academics in a popularly appealing manner. Including, for instance, with my podcast series, Understanding Violence.
I founded Violence Studies in October 2016. Over the past two years the network has expanded to become a multi-university and international research network. At present, we are in an exciting phase of transition and growth as network partners and I are exploring the ways in which we are going to expand our physical presence outside of The University of Oxford, and develop our online presence, for instance with the launch of our new YouTube channel.
All photos on this site were taken by Rachel Kowalski, on her Sony a7iii mirrorless camera, Samsung Galaxy 8 smart phone or historically on her Samsung WB690 camera