AS&E Archaeology offers a range of research and educational services for educational, social, and cultural organisations (such as museums, schools and colleges, higher education institutions, charities, and community groups).
Services include historical and archaeological talks and lectures, workshops, team-building exercises, guided and self-guided tours, costumed interpretations and displays, and exhibitions, on a range of subjects associated with postmedieval (c. late 16th – mid 20th century) England. These services aim to inform, enhance skills, and ‘edutain‘ in friendly, fun, ways, applying traditional teaching methods alongside newly developed techniques and resources, to bring the past to life – including costumed provision.
Sensory journeys through the past
Research, educational sessions, and resources, bring together a range of sources to explore emotion and experience in the past, by scrutiny of the sensory and social environments in which previous generations lived and died, and providing period ambiance. As well as examining the past by looking at text and images, touch – adopting a ‘hands-on’ learning approach, and handling a broad variety of artefacts – is an important element of the services provided; sounds are also often integrated within educational sessions and resources, as (when possible) are taste and smell!
Spectacle, scandal, and sensitivities
The subjects covered by AS&E include past and present perceptions and dramatisation of many of the issues covered by these services, as shocking, shameful, and outrageous. Study themes include crime and punishment (especially violence); poverty and destitution; slavery and inequality; and disease, death, and burial. But ostensibly mundane topics are also explored to consider some of the traditions, conditions, and positions that today seem timeless, but that either came into being, developed, or were cemented, in the periods studied, such as tea-drinking; urban and industrial communities; family and marriage; consumerism; charity, philanthropy, and ‘welfare’ provision; and waste disposal and sanitation! These topics are analysed sensitively, to enable participants to reflect upon a range of lived experiences in previous centuries, and what such knowledge might tell us about life in the here and now – and on improving the future.
Enlivening the past
The approaches adopted have been developed after teaching for many years within the Adult Education sector. Students have often expressed a desire to know ‘what it was like‘ or ‘what it felt like‘ at particular times in the past as their greatest motivation to embark upon historical study. Helping them to answer these questions is no mean feat – and we can never know fully the environments and emotions of past populations. But emotional and phenomenological archaeologies and histories, reached by participants through their own informed encounters and engagements with the past, may bring us closer to understanding how people perceived themselves and one another, and experienced their world.
About Dr Kirsten Jarrett
Turner Almshouses, Derby (©KJarrett)
SA&E Archaeology is the collection of historical services provided Dr Kirsten Jarrett – an archaeologist and historian with more than 20 years experience who based in the UK. Kirsten’s research focuses upon the post-medieval period in England (particularly the Midlands region, but also examining sites elsewhere, including London) during the 17th – 21st centuries. With much enthusiasm, and in a friendly and open manner, she brings her research to the public with the aim of extending interest in the historic environment, and enabling greater understanding of the material past, providing new perspectives on the modern world.
Her research involves studies of households (particularly industrial housing, workhouses, and almshouses); families (particularly gendered relationships, motherhood, and childhood); death, burial and ritual (particularly 17th – 19th century memorials; and superstition); emotion and experience (particularly surrounding love, power, and abuse in the home); crime and punishment (particularly violence in and around the home, court houses, prisons, and penitentiaries); and poverty, philanthropy and charity and welfare provision (particularly workhouses and almshouses, hostels and refuges).
Early 19th century County Gaol, Derby, with head ‘turn-key’s (warder’s) house, bottom left (©KJarrett)
Kirsten’s fieldwork mostly comprises above ground surveys, including standing buildings analysis (usually domestic buildings); surface artefact analysis (typically garden, sanitation, and waste disposal contexts); studies of grave memorials; and landscape studies. She engages in Archaeological Theory (including Archaeology of Identity – the subject of her Doctoral thesis); archaeological narrative and ‘story-telling’; and is developing methods for the therapeutic application of archaeology.
Early 18th century grave memorial, Sudbury, Derbys. (©KJarrett)
Dr Jarrett is currently conducting independent research on a variety of topics that centre upon the material dimensions of emotions and experiences in and around Derby during the 17th – 19th centuries. Topics include death and burial practices (including local attitudes towards ‘body-snatching’); on domestic rituals, including those related to folk magic, lore, and Christmas; on love and marriage, and the home and family life; and on the material environments of well-known local 18th century intellectuals, such as artist Joseph Wright.
In conducting background research for community projects, Kirsten is examining 17th – early 20th century written, visual, and material records relating to the topics listed above (crime and punishment; unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and welfare, examining workhouses and almshouses; and gender and family). She hopes to bring this work together in a book aimed at both public and academic audiences that considers the material environments and effects of urban and industrial development upon home and family, in Derby – England’s first factory town.
Silk Mill, Derby – the first factory in England, built in 1717 (Robert Simpson, A Collection of Fragments Illustrative of the History and Antiquities of Derby, 1826)
She is also interested in visits to, and excavations of, prehistoric, Romano-British, and Medieval sites and monuments; and the collection and display of archaeological material; during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Kirsten is particularly interested in antiquarianism by women, and in the relationship between the past, and the design of elite landscapes and buildings at this time, especially in Derbyshire.
Frontispiece from John Britton and Edward Wedlake Brayley, The Beauties of England and Wales ; Or Delineations, Topographical, Historical and Descriptive, Vol. III, 1802: Remains at Dale Abbey, Derbyshire
This interest develops her doctoral research that examined the significance of prehistoric and Romano-British sites, monuments and material culture in the late- and post-Roman periods, in the construction of social, cultural, and ethnic identities; and integrates and extends her current research on post-medieval landscapes and material culture.
Early 20th century suburban house, Derby, studied by LIPCAP (©KJarrett)
Through ‘Living in the Past Community Archaeology‘ – LIPCAP (which she runs), she examines 17th – early 20th century housing in and around Derby (particularly industrial and ‘slum’ neighbourhoods). Kirsten showcased this project work for the Day of Archaeology in 2013 and 2015. She co-directs the ‘Past Sense Project‘ (PSP), which examines domestic and sexual abuse in the past, developing psychotherapeutic archaeological workshops. Dr Jarrett’s interest in folk lore and magic has also led to the development of a public project on this topic – Malefic Midlands. She is exploring the provision of educational workshops for homeless and ex-offender charities, and local youth clubs.
19th century ‘Home for Penitent Females, Derby (©PSP)
Publications and Exhibitions
Digitally enhanced photo of kitchen display, ‘1930s House Christmas’ Exhibition, 2014 (©KJarrett)
Dr Jarrett has presented and published her research at numerous academic conferences, and within academic and public publications; runs several blogs (see LIPCAP and PSP links, above; ‘Notes of an Antiquary‘; and ‘Archaeology of Domestic Life in Early 20th century Britain‘). (For more information, a research profile is available here: https://independent.academia.edu/KirstenJarrett.)
Displays from ‘At Home in WWI’ Exhibition (©LIPCAP)
She has curated and delivered several exhibitions for voluntary projects: ‘At Home in WWI Exhibition: Exploring Life on the Home Front through Household Objects‘ – an event for the 2014 Festival of Archaeology; ‘1930s House Christmas Open Day, 1930s House Xmas Open Day 2013 and 1930s House Xmas Open Day 2014; and ‘Material Culture, Memory, and Violence in the Home: Towards healing histories’, at the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory Conference (CHAT), Sheffield, 2015. Dr Jarrett specialises in presenting interesting, informative, and attractive displays on a shoe-string budget!
CHAT exhibition: display panel posters & digital multimedia interactive display (©PSP)
Qualifications and Professional Memberships
Kirsten is an Associate member of the professional organisation, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (ACIfA); a member of the Society for Post-medieval Archaeology (SPMA); of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (DAJ); and of the Finds Research Group; and participates in the Histories of Home Subject Specialist Network (HHSSN), and the Histories of Archaeology Research Network (HARN).
She gained an interest in archaeology first through collecting Victorian bottles as a small child, which intensified when at 10 years of age she discovered a late 18th – early 20th century waste disposal site. Her formal studies began with taking an Open University BA Arts and Humanities foundation year in 1991 (studying History, English Literature, Art History, Philosophy, and Music, focusing on Enlightenment period England). She began her BA (Hons.) in Archaeology at the University of Nottingham in the following year, which involved studying literature in conjunction with other historical sources, and anthropological studies. After graduating, she continued her studies at Nottingham, undertaking an MA in Archaeological Research (achieving a Distinction), which involved continued anthropological studies, and material sciences. During this time she also gained a City & Guilds certificate in Adult Education Teaching, and began work in this field. She went on to study at the University of Sheffield, gaining an Archaeology PhD. She has continued professional development with specialist courses in areas related to her research interests.
Educational Experience and Resources
Employing traditional teaching methods, University of Oxford Continuing Education Dept. (©KJarrett)
Kirsten began teaching archaeology in 2000, having taught for the WEA and Adult Education departments at the University of Nottingham, Keele University, and University of Oxford; and primary and secondary schools. She has provided voluntary research and practical assistance for museums; trained volunteers for various archaeological projects; and has a large artefact handling collection.
Screenshot from interactive exhibition (©KJarrett)
Using her experience in field trips, museum work, and exhibitions – as well as in class-room and on-line teaching, fieldwork, and interpretation – Kirsten is developing new ways to support and enable learning, through hands-on practice and sensual engagement, as freelance teacher, lecturer, tour guide – and story-teller. Her aim is to provide educational sessions that might be fun and entertaining, as well as informative, and enhance both specialist and transferable skills. Sessions make use of digital technologies in conjunction with other teaching methods. Her training and experience in Historical Archaeology and other disciplinary methods and theoretical frameworks (including anthropological, sociological, and historical approaches, and geographical techniques) enables incorporation of a broad and abundant range of rich historical sources, alongside material culture, within teaching sessions.
Events currently under development include talks and workshops (‘Sensational Histories‘); field trips and tours (‘Grand Tours‘); and exhibitions (‘Touching Histories‘); community work (‘Grassroots Heritage‘) continues; see the dedicated webpages, and forthcoming events page, for details (coming soon).