Amanda, Lisa and I are delighted to welcome Laura Mitchell as our new twitter-guru. Some of you might already know Laura from our Facebook page. From this month onwards, Laura will also be sending out those 140 character notes, conversing with all of you in the twitter-sphere and keeping us up to date on all things recipe-related.
Laura’s main research interests focus on charms, and more broadly magic, in later medieval England. Her 2011 dissertation “Cultural Uses of Magic in Fifteenth-century England” combined social/cultural history and book history to explore how medieval people used their books to present a certain image of themselves, and what role magic texts and charms played in that. She is currently branching out to examine books of secrets and networks/communities of exchange in fifteenth century England. Those of you lucky enough to be in Manchester for the ICHSTM last year might remember Laura’s paper on the notebook of Thomas Fayreford and networks of knowledge in late medieval Somerset and Devon. For all of you Tolkien fans, Laura’s chapter on magic and The Hobbit is coming out this fall – watch this space.
Recently, I put a few questions to Laura about her work on The Recipes Project. Here is a brief glimpse into our conversations…
Elaine: Hi Laura! Thank you for agreeing take-on the ‘historecipes’ twitter account! You’ve been an active member of The Recipes Project community since our launch in 2012. Can you tell us a little about what attracts you to the project?
Laura: I think what I like best about the Recipes Project is the huge range of topics that have come up! Victorian cosmetics, medicines from early modern China, mare’s milk, who knows what else will pop up. I’ve learned so much about so many different subjects in the past few years. I’ve really enjoyed this range too for giving me some insight into other scholar’s methodologies and work methods.
Elaine: Since completing your PhD, you’ve been actively working as a ‘digital humanist’. Could you tell us a little more about your projects and what attracts you to research in this area?
Laura: The Recipes Project, and my catalogue website, have been my only forays into digital humanities so far. I’ve attended some workshops on the digital humanities in medieval studies and there’s some great things that can be done now. There is a lot of new and interesting digital humanities projects coming out now and I’m looking forward to seeing where the field goes from here.
Elaine: So, Twitter. It seems like that’s the online place to be for historians nowadays! In the past couple of years, I have had so many interesting conversations with PhD students and post docs about the place of Twitter in academic conversations. What is your take on this?
Laura: Twitter is a great way to network online. There are a lot of historians on Twitter now who are lovely, friendly people. I’ve enjoyed using Twitter as a way of meeting new people and keeping in touch with new contacts I have made elsewhere. The 140 character limit may not seem like much, but a lot can be said in a few words, and I’ve had some great conversations there. It’s also helped me keep my writing succinct!
That’s it folks! Take some time off this month and come say hi to Laura on our twitter page.