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Name: Tom Eaton

PhD: Museum Studies

Thesis Title: 

'Dreaming O'er the Map of Things': The Romantic Imagination & Representations of Place - Histories of History and Multimedia Narrative Space in the Museum

Thesis Description:

My research project asks how closer analysis of the overlap between 'science' and 'storytelling' within the topographic tradition can help reinvigorate the interpretation of collections and histories of place in museums.

The project will also ask how the use of historical and contemporary topographic material, such as cartography, illustration, literature, and film, suggest innovative approaches to museum design and visitor learning.

Studies have already noted the interplay between factual observation and anecdote, exact information and imaginative scenography, between science and art that characterised the explosion of illustrated travel essays, regional histories, and printed landscape collections during the revolution of tourism in 18th century Britain; so too have modern trends within documentary cinema and fine art that explore the signifying properties of maps, photographs and text to heighten a tension between factual information and what is unspoken, unexplained and overlooked in the museum.

This project will relate the creative applications of topographic material to the use of collections and archives as spatial storytelling devices specifically within the history museum. The project will consolidate research on the topographic tradition, explore existing applications of topographic material in history museums, and consider how topographic narrative forms largely extraneous to museums can suggest new modes of display and engaging audiences not only with history, but the history of the geographical and historical imagination.

This project seeks to form threads between intellectual history, visual spectacle, and ways of reading histories of space and place in the museum.

Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Professor Suzanne MacLeod (University of Leicester); Professor David Matless (University of Nottingham); and Professor Martin Halliwell (University of Leicester).

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