About

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Biocultural Historian: Plants + medicines

Since discovering a love of research on the history of plants and medicines after my first degree,   I have been writing and editing popular books on herbal remedies, teaching workshops on plant identification, folklore and remedy making at www.handmadeapothecary.co.uk

I see the hedgerows as libraries of knowledge, there is so much to know, see, taste and do with plants and I love to share that with people. I currently live on and off a narrowboat where I take foraging trips and workshops throughout the summer.

My love of researching the history of plants and their uses as medicines led me to work with the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where my for MSc dissertation investigated the development of Eucalyptus as a medicine in the 19th Century. I am now be undertaking my PhD project on another medicinal plant in the collection: the anti-malarial Cinchona tree.


Education

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2017-2020 PhD Candidate (TECHNE NPIF)

Royal Holloway University of London & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Title of PHD: 'Biocultural collections and networks of knowledge exchange in the 19th century: the quest for quinine'. Based on the large cinchona collections within the Economic Botany Collection at Kew, this collections based research will trace the networks of exchange, circulation of specimens and key players in this story, shedding light upon the development of this important anti-malarial. A collaboration with Royal Holloway.

Supervisors: Felix Driver (RHUL) & Mark Nesbitt (RBG, Kew)

Full description here.

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2014 MSc Herbal Medicine (Research) Distinction

University of Westminster

Dissertation: History of the development of Eucalyptus as a medicine 19th Century.

2009-2012 BSc (Hons) Herbal Medicine 2:1

University of Westminster

Dissertation: Hydrastis and CITES

Awards

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2018 Society for the History of Alchemy (SHAC) New Scholars Award

2017 TECNHE NPIF (PhD) Scholarship 

2017 Martin Fellowship, Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Leiden, Netherlands

2016 Fort Foundation Research Grant

2014 Fort Foundation Educational Grant


(Also see Linkedin)

Selected career

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Economic Botany Collection, Kew Gardens

Since 2014 I have been involved in a wide range of projects researching the history of medicine and overseeing projects at the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew including:

  • Research of the history of Eucalyptus & Cinchona.

  • Project supervision for the closure of the Plants + People Exhibition (Museum No 1).

  • Assistant curation for the displays at the Botanical Cafe, Kew.

  • Project officer for the expansion of the new Economic botany offices.

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City of London: Open Spaces

Since 2012 I have worked in various open spaces departments & teams for Epping Forest, Highgate Woods & Hampstead Heath including:

  • Communications & Social Media: developing strategy and communications planning

  • Outdoor education: planning & delivering educational sessions based on the National Curriculum

  • Events organisation & planning