Kristin O’Donnell


Dr Kristin O’Donnell is an interdisciplinary researcher working across the arts and humanities. She completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Social history at the University of Brighton before going onto do a masters in Cultural History, Memory and Identity through the Alumni Excellence Scholarship. Her AHRC-funded doctoral research ‘The Cultural Politics of Commemoration: Participatory Art and Britain’s Great War During the Centenary Moment’ (University of Brighton) explored the relationship between commemoration, identity formation, and nationalism in creating and policing boundaries of belonging.

Kristin regularly collaborates with artists and activists, working with Dover Arts Development, The Clapham Film Unit, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Through her interest in cultural policy Kristin secured a Cumberland Lodge Doctoral Social Policy Fellowship to work at the intersection of academia, policy, and complex social challenges. This partnership has enabled Kristin to work with organisations such as the Commonwealth Youth Forum, The British Council, and the Goethe Institute to explore how the arts and media can engage in conversations about difficult histories to interrogate and rebalance power structures in the present.

In addition to her academic research Kristin has worked as a historical researcher and consultant in both the heritage, film, and education sectors. She was part of a team of interdisciplinary researchers at the Centre of Sport, Tourism and Leisure Studies at the University of Brighton commissioned by Hastings Borough Council to explore and map out a new approach to the history and legacy of 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, contributing to a report recommending new interpretation strategies for Hastings Castle and local tourist economy. Kristin has also researched and produced a range of films internationally exploring the relationship between place, history and identity.


Research Interests

Kristin’s research interests include:

  • The Cultural Politics of War Memory and Commemoration
  • Cultural History
  • Memory Studies
  • Visual Culture
  • Heritage and Public History
  • Histories of Tourism and Leisure
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • The History of Education in Britain
  • Gender History


At Newman Kristin teaches on the Applied Humanities, History, Applied Writing and Foundation courses.

Administrative Responsibilities

Kristin is module lead on several Applied Humanities modules and is part of the course development team for the innovative accelerated Applied Humanities Degree.

Other Activities

Conferences and Other Research Activity

Conference Addresses and Papers

(2023) ‘War memory and memory wars: Lessons from the Centenary of the First World War in the United Kingdom’, Commemorating the Second World War in the ‘young 21st century’ conference, University of York, York.

(2021) ‘The Cultural Politics of Commemoration’, British German Democracy Forum, Cumberland Lodge in partnership with the Goethe Institute, Windsor.

(2021) ‘Clever Girls: autoethnographies of class, gender and ethnicity’, Doing Autoethnography: Storying the Self, Storying Society, University College London, London

(2019) ‘Performing Radical Resistance: Centenary Commemorations of the First World War in Britain.’ Memory Studies Association, Annual International Conference, Complutense University Madrid

(2018) ‘“History might as well be water, chastising this shore”: Disappearing Sites of Memory in Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea.’ University of Oxford, Cultures of Commemoration seminar series, Rothermere American Institute.

(2018) ‘Participatory Practices of Memory: Memorialising the Great War in Britain during the Centenary Moment.’ Aarhus University, Denmark, Uses of the Past Research Group seminar.

(2018) ‘Beyond the Banner: How Does Contemporary Art Engage with Political History?’ HOME Manchester, Panel discussion with Prof Sarah Perks, Prof Phil Collins and Dr Danielle Childs.

(2018) ‘Performing Emotional Histories: Performative Re-enactment and the Centenary Commemorations of the First World War.’ University of Oxford, TORCH Commemoration and Creativity Forum.                  

(2017) ‘Hastings Castle and the Rise of a Romantic Resort.’ UCL Institute of Historical Research, Social History Society Annual Conference.

(2016) ‘Hastings Castle and the Rise of a Romantic Resort.’ University of Brighton, 1066, Heritage & the Development of Hastings & St Leonards as a Coastal Resort Conference.

(2014) Consuming Heritage: How Visual Culture Contributes to a Sense of Place.’ University of Brighton, Cultural Regeneration Through Heritage Conference.

Media appearances

(2020) BBC Radio 4, Women’s Hour, Clever Girls and Class

Appeared as a guest to discuss the experience of women from predominantly working-class backgrounds exploring the production of the classed, gendered and racialized subject.

O’Donnell, K. (2019) Interview with Arabella Dorman on her Work as a War Artist, Cumberland Conversation with Arabella Dorman


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

O’Donnell, K. (2021) ‘Performing public engagement’, Women’s History: The Journal of the Women’s History Network.

Blogs and Bulletins

O’Donnell, K. (2021) ‘Towards Justice: Responding to Past Harms – Participant reflections’, Cumberland Lodge Policing Webinar Series Towards Justice: Law Enforcement & Reconciliation

O’Donnell, K. (2020) Black Lives Matter: Facing the future, Cumberland Lodge Dialogue & Debate Series: Black Lives Matter

O’Donnell, K. (2019) ‘Searching for an “authentic” Tourist Experience in Emanuel Swedenborg’s Summerhouse(s)’, Cambridge Heritage Research Group bulletin.

O’Donnell, K. (2019) Insights into humanity, from a celebrated war artist, Cumberland Conversation with Arabella Dorman

O’Donnell, K. (2018) Creativity and Commemoration, Cultures of Commemoration Series, TORCH Oxford.

Chapters in Books

O’Donnell, K. (2021) ‘We’re here because we’re here: participatory art and the mobilisation of First World War memory in post-Brexit Britain’, in Walsh, M. and Varnava, A. (eds.) After the Armistice: empire, endgame and aftermath, Routledge: Abingdon, pp.247-262.

O’Donnell, K. (2019) ‘“But you’re not really foreign”: an autoethnography of a working-class Canadian passing in Britain’, in Goode J. (ed.) Clever girls: autoethnographies of class, gender and ethnicity, Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp.257-270.

O’Donnell, K. (2016) ‘Hastings: the rise of a romantic resort’, in Kötting, A. (ed.) Edith (the Chronicles), Badblood and Sybyl: St Leonards on Sea, pp.309-316.


Jake Ryan and Charles Sackrey Award for a Book about the Working-Class Academic Experience, Working-class Studies Association, 2020

University of Brighton Governor’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, 2016