Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communication

Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

Liz Stainforth

Visiting Research Fellow

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University Road, Room 1.18

BA English and Philosophy (Joint Hons), MA, PhD Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (University of Leeds)

Liz’s research investigates digital heritage and memory cultures. She is also interested in theories of utopia and critical studies of history and heritage.

Research Interests

My research interests include digital heritage cultures, philosophies of history, theories of utopia, media memory studies, cultural and media policy, the contemporary politics of technology and digital archiving practices. I have several secondary research interests, primarily in early printed books, literary studies and science fiction.

My doctoral research explored discourses of memory in the context of digital heritage projects and cultural policy. Case studies included the European Commission-funded project Europeana and UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme (thesis title: ‘Defining the Problem of Tomorrow’s Memory: The Time of Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age’).


Articles and Book Chapters:

‘Mixing Memory and Desire: Exploring Utopian Currents in Heritage’, Future Anterior 14:2 (forthcoming, 2018).

‘The Dynamics of Scale in Digital Heritage Cultures’, in Tuuli Lähdesmäki, Suzie Thomas and Yujie Zhu (eds), Politics of Scale: A New Approach to Heritage Studies (forthcoming, Berghahn Books, 2018) (co-written with Rhiannon Bettivia).

‘All and Each: A Socio-Technical Review of the Europeana Project’, Digital Humanities Quarterly 11.3 (2017) (co-written with Rhiannon Bettivia).

‘From Museum to Memory Institution: The Politics of European Culture Online’, Museum and Society 14:2 (July 2016), pp. 323-337.

‘Curatorial “Translations”: The Case of Marcel Duchamp’s Green Box’, Journal of Curatorial Studies 5:2 (July 2016), pp. 238-255 (co-written with Glyn Thompson).

‘“The Logic of the Visible at the Service of the Invisible”: Reading Invisible Literature in The Atrocity Exhibition’, in Richard Brown, Christopher Duffy and Elizabeth Stainforth (eds), J.G. Ballard: Landscapes of Tomorrow (Leiden: Brill Press, 2016), pp. 99-111.

‘The Nature and Value of Cultural Policy Research for Early Career Researchers’, Cultural Trends 24:2 (March 2015), pp. 109-111 (co-written with Alice Borchi).

‘“The Quakers Tea Table Overturn’d”’: A Literary Satire of the Eighteenth-century Tea Party’, Petits Propos Culinaires, 102 (March 2015), pp. 14-22 (co-written with C. Anne Wilson).

‘“Re-Visioning the Brontës”: An Introduction’, Brontë Studies, 39 (2014), pp. 3-5 (co-written with Nick Cass).

‘Metadata’, in James Elkins et al, Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline (London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 163-165 (co-written with David Thom).

Edited Volumes and Special Issues:

Utopian Currents in Heritage, guest editor, special issue of Future Anterior journal, co-edited with Helen Graham (forthcoming, 2018).

Barbarisms, guest editor, special issue of parallax journal on the contemporary politics of technology, co-edited with Daniel Mourenza and Stefano Calzati (forthcoming, 2018).

J.G. Ballard: Landscapes of Tomorrow, Richard Brown, Christopher Duffy and Elizabeth Stainforth (eds), (Leiden: Brill Press, 2016).

Book reviews:

Review of Museums in the New Mediascape: Transmedia, Participation, Ethics by Jenny Kidd, International Journal of Heritage Studies 23:5 (2017), pp. 488-489.

Review of Art Researchers’ Guide to Leeds by Rose Roberto, Art Libraries Journal 37:2 (2012), p. 48.

Conference Papers 

April 2017, ‘Anarchism and Utopia in the Spanish Civil War’, La Noche de los Libros Talk, Desperate Literature, Madrid (co-presented with Danny Evans).

February 2017, ‘Disruptive Forms, Persistent Values: Negotiating Digital Heritage and the “Memory of the World”’, Futures of Memory Workshop, University of Leeds.

June 2016, ‘Mixing Memory and Desire: Utopian Currents in Heritage’, Association of Critical Heritage Studies Third Biennial Conference, UQAM and Concordia University, Montréal.

June 2016, ‘All and Each: The Dynamics of Scale in Digital Heritage Cultures’, Association of Critical Heritage Studies Third Biennial Conference, UQAM and Concordia University, Montréal (co-presented with Rhiannon Bettivia).

June 2016, ‘Understanding Impact in the Humanities from an Early Career Researcher Perspective’, AHRC Commons, Common Ground panel event, University of York.

March 2015, ‘Europeana: The Politics of European Cultural Heritage Online’, Guest Seminar for Cultural Heritage and Memory module, Central European University, Budapest.

March 2015, ‘All and Each: Dialogues in the Digital Archive’, Connecting Communities: Storytelling & the Digital Archive Conference & Community Showcase, University of Leeds (co-presented with Rhiannon Bettivia).

March 2015, ‘Cultural Value and Everyday Life’, Work in Progress Research Seminar, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds (co-presented with Ana Baeza Ruiz).

September 2014, ‘From Museum to Memory Institution: Cultural Heritage Sites in the Digital Age’, Digital Memories 5th Annual Conference, Mansfield College, Oxford.

May 2014, ‘J.G. Ballard’s Invisible Literatures’, J.G. Ballard: Landscapes of Tomorrow Conference, Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds.

March 2014, ‘Defining the Problem of Tomorrow’s Memory: Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age’, Philosophers in the Library Talk Series, Shakespeare and Company, Paris.

January 2014 – November 2014, ‘IN FOCUS Talk Series’, Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds (talk and discussion series on selected collections from the University of Leeds Library’s Special Collections).

April 2013, ‘Curatorial “Translations”: The Case of Marcel Duchamp’s The Green Box’, Association of Art Historians 39th Annual Conference and Bookfair, University of Reading.

Research Projects & Grants


2017-2018 – The Spirit and the Letter: Sadler Seminar series exploring utopian print cultures, critical design practice and radical histories and imaginaries of community (co-organised with Paul Wilson).

2017-2018 – Research Associate for My Castle Gateway: collaborative consultation project about the development of the Castle Gateway area in York, linking creative and ongoing public engagement with the formal planning process (led by Helen Graham).

2016 – Research Associate for My Future York: collaborative inquiry project exploring alternative futures in relation to practices of community heritage and local democracy in the city of York. Funded as part of the AHRC’s Connected Communities Festival (led by Helen Graham).

2015 – Tracing Arguments: one-day student-led workshop providing a peer-review platform for PhD students at all stages of their research (co-organised with Chrysi Papaioannou and Ana Baeza Ruiz).

2014-present – All and Each: Dialogues in the Digital Archive: ongoing collaborative research project with Rhiannon Bettivia (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) about digital archiving practices.

2014-present – The Invisible Library: collaborative project with digital humanities expert Mike Bonsall to compile an open source online catalogue of writer J.G. Ballard’s ‘invisible literature’.

2014-2015 – LEAP Skills Training Hub grant (£500) to run a text encoding workshop as part of ‘Medieval Studies in the Digital Age’ seminar and workshop series (co-organised with N. Kivilcim Yavuz and Victoria Cooper).

2014-2015 – Cultural Value and Everyday Life: seminar series exploring questions of ‘cultural value’ through lived experiences of arts and culture.

2013-2014 – AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Project (£3000) to run two workshops on the theme of ‘Co-producing Cultural Policy’ (CIs Alice Borchi and Leila Jancovich).

2012-2013 – Impact and Innovation (HEIF V) funding (£1300) to run a research symposium on the Brontë sisters (co-organised with Nick Cass).

2010 – Leeds University Community Initiative (LUCI) grant (£500) to run a set of workshops for school children at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, working with the Gallery’s collection.


2017 – Sadler Seminar Series Grant (University of Leeds).

2016 – Leeds for Life Travel Grant (University of Leeds).

2013-2014 – AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Award.

2012-2015 – AHRC Block Partnership Doctoral Grant.

2012-2013 – Impact and Innovation Grant (University of Leeds).

2011 – Henry Moore Institute Essay Prize (Masters Collections Category).

2010-2011 – Full Fee MA Scholarship (University of Leeds).

Professional Practice

2015-2018 – parallax journal: editing and proofing, evaluating issue proposals, liaison with publishers and authors.

2011 – Henry Moore Institute: cataloguing, research, report writing.

2010-present – University of Leeds Library Galleries: visitor services, marketing and events, report writing, exhibitions.

2008-2012 – University of Leeds Library: academic liaison, administration, acquisitions, digitisation activities, student support, induction.

2007 – Tindal Street Press: administration, proofing, securing endorsements, report writing.

2006 – Creative Pathways (Birmingham City Library): marketing and events, administration.


‘Visions of the Future: The Art of Science Fiction’ (Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, 4 April – 11 June 2011) with Paul Whittle and Laura Millward.

‘A “Revelation of Unexpected Associations”: J.G. Ballard, Eduardo Paolozzi and Helen Chadwick in Ambit’ (Henry Moore Institute Library, 16th October 2011 – 25th November 2011).




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