Paris Chronakis

Lecturer in Modern Greek History

Themes: Thriving communities, Sustainability and creativity

Expertise: Urban history, history and memory of interreligious coexistence and conflict, displacement and resettlement

I am intrigued by the close relationship between history, memory, and community in multiethnic urban environments. My own research focuses on cultures of coexistence in the past and the deleterious effects of divided memories in the present and seeks to help strained urban communities thrive by building a sustainable future on a resilient memory.

My experience includes serving as a specialist speechwriter to the mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece, and working with heritage, educational, and civil society stakeholders to advance intercultural understanding. My work-in-progress recovers the adaptability of multiethnic urban elites in the post-imperial Eastern Mediterranean of the early twentieth century.

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Dr Ruth Cruickshank

Humanities Representative, Living Sustainably Catalyst

Themes: Thriving communities, Reducing health inequalities, Greener futures, Sustainability and creativity

Expertise: ‘Leftover’ meanings in food; global production and consumption of food; eating disorders (notably the discourses around OSFED, the most prevalent yet least known eating disorder)

I am passionate about revealing the unthought-of constructs of power; effects of trauma and exploitation; and critical potential bound up with representations of food, drink and their production and consumption. My work is at thenexus of literary and cultural criticism and comparative, food studies and the medical humanities, examining discourses and literary, philosophical and visual texts.

My latest book is Leftovers: Eating, Drinking and Rethinking with Case Studies from Post-war French Fiction and I am currently working on the politics of not knowing and of representation of eating disorders, and supervising PhD projects on interrogating representation of meat substitutes and diasporic Desi foodways.

I also publish on documentary aesthetics and postcolonial global food chains; intertextual geopolitics and gastrodiplomacy; understanding of alterity revealed by comparing structuralist and poststructuralist thought involving food; relationships between globalisation, cultural capital and symbolic violence; and questions of recycling and cultural production.

I am a founder member of The Food Group at RHUL, co-organising events raising awareness of the intersection of sustainability and culture, Inedible, Unpalatable and Indigestible and Food and Drink on the Brink.

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Judith Hawley

Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature, Member of The Food Group

Themes: Greener futures, Sustainability and creativity

Expertise: I am committed to a greener future in my personal and professional life.

As a founder member of The Food Group at RHUL, I have been involved in two events which raise awareness of the intersection of sustainability and culture, Inedible, Unpalatable and Indigestible and  Food and Drink on the Brink. My work on literature, culture and heritage challenges traditional boundaries and connects past and future. My publications explore the boundaries between amateur and professional. In the heritage sector, my role as a Trustee  of Pope’s Grotto Preservation Trust and of The London Luminaries helps build communities and generate income for a group of twelve historic properties in South West London. As a frequent contributor to radio and TV programmes I participate in current debates about the future of the past. I am determined to apply my expertise and extend my knowledge to support the sustainability of the natural and cultural environment.

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Zena Kamash

Senior Lecturer in Roman Archaeology, Dept of Classics 

Themes: Reducing health inequalities, Sustainability and creativity, Thriving communities

I am British Iraqi archaeologist who is strongly committed to improving wellbeing amongst communities, especially in the UK and the Middle East. I am currently PI on a British Academy-funded project titled ‘Crafting Heritage for Wellbeing in Iraq’, which brings together researchers in the UK and Iraq across the fields of archaeology, heritage, psychology and arts/craft practice to explore how bringing together heritage and crafting can improve the wellbeing of people who have experienced conflict.

I am also writing a book titled Heritage and Healing in Syria and Iraq (under contract with Manchester University Press) that challenges existing approaches to cultural heritage reconstruction in post-conflict contexts and explores the ways in which such reconstruction might be more effectively framed to promote healing and reparation.

Outside academia, I am a trustee for Oxfordshire Mind, where I work to reduce mental health inequalities to ensure that everyone who needs support is able to access it.  

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Dr James Kent 

Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies

Themes: Reducing health inequalities, Sustainability and creativity

Expertise: Curatorial and photographic practice, public engagement and visual cultures

I am passionate about curatorial and photographic practice, public engagement and storytelling. My research-led photography projects combine portraiture with social documentary – engaging and raising awareness about challenges faced by different communities. I photographed Cuba in the wake of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s death in 2016, curating exhibitions in both the UK and Cuba.

My latest project makes interdisciplinary connections between visual arts, health and wellbeing. Working alongside colleagues at the University of Cambridge, I co-founded the Generation COVID UK collaborative research group – a consortium of clinicians, healthcare professionals, midwives, researchers and creative practitioners whose work involves collaborating with and/or supporting parents of babies born during the pandemic.  The project has featured in The Lancet and The Independent. Work from this collaboration will be showcased in a series of events at Cambridge Festival 2022. I am keen to use my experience and creative practice to raise awareness and drive change.

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Ruth Livesey

Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature and Thought

Themes: Sustainability and creativity, Thriving communities

Expertise: Community engagement through creative practice/research; urban/rural relations; sustainability and history of transport; nineteenth-century natural history.

My research focuses on the social and cultural effects of industrialisation in the nineteenth century. I also work with arts organisations, museums, and community groups using literature to explore sense of place in smaller towns and communities undergoing major challenges now. My last book – Writing the Stagecoach Nation (2016) – explored the ways in which writers helped nineteenth-century readers come to terms with the new infrastructure of the railways in Britain by looking back to the capillary networks of the horse-drawn stage coach system.

My current research focuses on the idea of ‘provincialism’ and fictions of the provincial town c. 1820-1930 and the cultural legacy of this thinking.  I have also written about nineteenth-century practices and knowledges drawn from natural history and philosophy as an anticipation of present eco-critical thinking. I am a passionate advocate of the value of interdisciplinary research and creative practice in addressing the challenges of the present.

Redell Olsen

Professor of English, Director of Living Sustainably

Themes: Biodiversity and natural capital, Greener futures, Sustainability and creativity

Together with Klaus Dodds and Caroline Harris, I curated the COP26 Forum at Royal Holloway in 2021, which brought together academic, local, and national expertise on climate solutions, policy, and research. I am an arts practitioner, poet and academic who is committed to addressing environmental concerns, biodiversity, plant humanities, climate literacy and justice through research and teaching.

My own creative and academic work approaches the reuse and repurposing of apparently outdated technologies, archives, and historical materials as the basis for innovative literary and artistic practice-based research. My film Now Circa (1918) was shortlisted for an AHRC best research film of the year award in 2018. I was awarded the DARE art prize in 2020 for a collaboration with BioDar scientists at the University of Leeds, the Tetley Art Gallery in Leeds and the Museum of Science and Media in Bradford. I have taught poetic practice, visual arts, literature, environmental literatures, and creative writing at undergraduate and postgraduate level and I am an expert in the field of practice-based research.

I am interested in environmental policy, and specifically how the arts and humanities can be instrumental in the shaping of thriving and sustainable communities within the university and more widely. I have previously collaborated with local groups, scientists, galleries, museums, science and heritage institutions through creative projects and practice-led workshops.


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Sukanya Sengupta

Professor of Management

Themes: Thriving communitiesSustainability and creativity

Expertise: Employee share ownership, performance management, small and medium enterprises, creative and media sector

My research interests include performance management, employee share ownership schemes and their impact on organisational and behavioural outcomes (e.g. organisational performance, labour productivity, commitment and employee turnover). The research on employee share ownership and performance based on quantitative analysis using the Workplace Employee Relations Survey and similar secondary databases. Another strand of research is predominantly qualitative and focuses on employment relations in small and medium enterprises, particularly in the creative and media sector.

The project report on Employment Relations in SMEs with Professor Paul Edwards facilitated a dialogue between policy and practice and was recognised for its research impact. An emerging area of research interest is precarious employment in the Indian Film industry. I would like to work with UKDA, IOD, Film Council UK and relevant audio visual medium.