Kristin O’Donnell – Lecturer in Applied Humanities

Kristin became aware of the political role the stories we tell ourselves could play in social policy once she undertook her interdisciplinary Humanities Master’s degree in Cultural History, Memory and Identity at the University of Brighton.

The course focused on the politicised uses of the past in the present, interrogating how the stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future shape and police boundaries of belonging. As a Canadian immigrant living in the United Kingdom during the EU referendum, Kristin became acutely aware of the role history and the media has in shaping contemporary politics. 

As a lecturer, Kristin brings a wealth of real-world experience including working with social policy-focused organisation Cumberland Lodge on projects such as the Difficult Histories, Positive Identities report, which produced a briefing document and policy report exploring ‘how aspects of the past can be engaged with in ways that bring about meaningful experiences of political and social belonging’.

In addition to research, Kristin also contributes to widening access to higher education and has written about the role of class, gender and ethnicity in transformations of class and culture in the award-winning book of autoethnographies Clever Girls.

Her primary research focus is on the uses of the past in the present, particularly in the arts and media, which lends itself to the Applied Humanities degree. Kristin hopes to nurture discussions with her students about how we can shape more inclusive societies and foster a sense of social cohesion without fanning the flames of exclusionary nationalism.


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