I am an Impact Officer based in the University Research Knowledge Exchange Office here at the University of Derby. I have been allocated to the College of Arts, Humanities and Education, where I work to support academics and researchers within the College on the topic of research impact. This includes planning impact into funding bids and projects from the outset, translating research into public engagement events, monitoring and evaluating the progress of these plans, and capturing robust evidence that impact has been achieved. I also provide training and resources about impact, its development, and its management, to colleagues. This aims to ensure the College and the University derive the maximum benefit from the exceptional work done by researchers at the University of Derby.
As well as my Impact Officer role, I am an academic researcher and archaeologist. My work focuses on elements of culture contact, colonisation and the societal impacts and ramifications of these experiences through time. I also study the physical properties of human material culture, investigating how people make things and how things make people. As an analyst of material culture, I particularly enjoy utilising theoretical frameworks which explore the how and why of material and artefact production and consumption, and contextualising my research with experimental archaeology, oral histories, traditional knowledge, and historic texts.
As an Impact Officer, I provide training and resources designed to support the planning and embedding of impact into research projects with the aim of maximising their social and monetary value. This can range from framing an initial funding bid, designing public engagement activities to disseminate research in a meaningful way, engaging with the UK Government, and impact evaluation.
I am interested in exploring the following topics, and am open to developing collaborations:
Culture contact and colonialism
Decolonising archaeology and the way we think about our past
Material culture studies
Non-destructive material analysis techniques such as XRF analysis
Its use as a public engagement tool to communicate complex ideas about the value of past knowledge to our world today
Metallurgical pyro-technologies including smelting, melting, casting, and metal-working
Lithic production and analysis
Wet-site archaeology and perishable artefact conservation
My research interests are intersectional. I am interested in studying and promoting local, regional, and international heritage, and how this relates to our treatment of the world, climate change, health, and well-being. I am also interested in the study of colonial entanglements and impacts through time, the importance of decolonisation, and how this is mediated through our material culture in spaces such as museums and the academy. As a material scientist, my interests also focus on the interrogation of material culture, using various avenues of investigation including macroscopic analysis, XRF techniques, microscopy, chaîne opératoire analysis, ethnographic data, primary documents, oral histories, academic research, excavation data, and experimental activities, to explore questions about the cultural entanglements of our past and how they impact the world today.
My PhD research involved the use of non-destructive analytical methods, such as pXRF technology, to study the changing Indigenous use of copper metal on the Northwest Coast of North America through the fur-trade and colonial period, which began in the late 18th century in the region. This material analysis allowed me to investigate the social interplay that arose between European, Russian and First Nation communities and explore the ongoing impacts and ramifications of colonialism, cultural resilience, and the importance of decolonising our research and our societies.
Membership of professional bodies
Council Member and Membership Secretary of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology
Affiliate member of the Register for Professional Archaeologists (RPA)
Nautical Archaeology Society – NAS1 certified in the foreshore and underwater archaeological survey
BA (Hons) Anthropology & Political Science – University of British Columbia
Level 2 Mandarin Language – Shandong University
MA Archaeology, Material Culture Studies (Distinction) – University of Sheffield
PhD Archaeology – University of Sheffield
‘Museums as repositories of knowledge: Using museum collections to recontextualize colonial histories’ Society for American Archaeology, Online, April 2021
‘Copper on the Northwest Coast: A Biographical Approach’ Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, April 2017
‘Are all beads made equal? Investigating The Materials of Culture Contact’ International Symposium on Archaeometry, Kalamata, Greece, May 2016
‘What can the Life History of an object tell us? Copper use through the ages in Western North America and the Arctic,’ Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA), Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, May 2016
‘The contribution of high frequency non-destructive HHpXRF analysis to the study of craft production’ NARNIA International Conference, Cyprus, September 2014
‘Evolving Complexity? A Comparative Analysis of Smelting Copper Oxide and Sulphide Minerals in a Bowl Hearth’ International Symposium on Archaeometry, Leuven, Belgium, May 2012
Experience in industry
I have worked as a professional archaeologist since 2006 and have gained significant experience in the field, office, lab, and museum settings. This experience has allowed me to build my skills in developing all aspects of a commercial research project while working closely with multiple stakeholders including local community members, corporate developers, academic researchers, and government regulatory bodies. While working in the industry, I have also helped deliver cultural heritage management courses to local Indigenous communities and support academic field schools focused on both traditional and wet-site excavation.
Additionally, I work professionally as a community heritage consultant, where I strive to work with communities to build new and strengthen old connections between people and places. I enjoy incorporating elements of shared local history to contextualise and deepen these networks.
I began my professional career as an archaeologist working on the west coast of Canada and have since had the opportunity to work in many places around the world. This includes the west coast of the USA, Belize, China, the United Kingdom, and Russia. This work has included excavation, survey, artefact analysis, and conservation. I am currently working with colleagues in Europe to undertake experimental research exploring the value of archaeological knowledge to the development of a sustainable future, and how community engagement is an integral piece of this puzzle to increase public understanding of our shared past and its value today.
Marks, Y.A., Thompson, L., Lester, M., Perez, M., Goodine, M., Su, F., Nuttall, A., 2021. Experimental Iron Smelting in a Bowl Furnace. Assemblage, EAStS Proceedings, 01-13
Thompson, L., Doonan, R., 2019. Copper on the Northwest Coast, a biographical approach. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 24: 1102-1112