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 doctoral research explored the contemporary significance of memory for cultural heritage in the wake of digital technologies. 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’).

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


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).

‘Performative Metadata: Reliability Frameworks and Accounting Frameworks in Content Aggregation Data Models’, in Gobinda Chowdhury, Julie McLeod, Val Gillet and Peter Willett (eds), Transforming Digital Worlds 13th International Conference, iConference 2018, Sheffield, UK, Proceedings (Springer, 2018), pp. 592-597.

‘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, co-edited with Helen Graham (forthcoming, 2018).

‘Barbarisms’, Elizabeth Stainforth, Daniel Mourenza and Stefano Calzati (eds), special issue of parallax 24:2 (April 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 

November 2018, ‘Technologies of Public Culture’, Wide Audiences and the Visual Arts from 1950 to the Present Conference, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (co-presented with Ana Baeza Ruiz).

October 2018, ‘Tracing the Rise of the “Authentic Community” in the Digital Realm’, Digital Library Federation 2018 Forum, Las Vegas (co-presented with Rhiannon Bettivia).

September 2018, ‘Aggregating the Past: Excavating Digital Heritage Infrastructures’, Unsettling Heritage Symposium, Deakin University.

August 2018, ‘New Imaginaries of Digital Heritage Space’, Digital Heritage Seminar series, University of Melbourne.

June 2018, ‘Culture is Digital? Digital Dimensions of Public Culture in UK Cultural Policy’, Exploring Digital Public Spaces workshop, University of Edinburgh.

April 2018, ‘Exploring “Digital Public Spaces” in the Context of Humanities Research and Culture’, ECHIC – Equip & Engage: Research and Dissemination Infrastructures for the Humanities, KU Leuven.

March 2018, ‘Performative Metadata: Reliability Frameworks and Accounting Frameworks in Content Aggregation Data Models’, 13th International Conference, iConference, University of Sheffield (co-presented with Rhiannon Bettivia).

December 2017, ‘Negotiating the Scalar Politics of Digital Heritage’, Researching Digital Cultural Heritage International Conference, University of Manchester (co-presented with Rhiannon Bettivia).

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 – 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).

2016-2017 – 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).

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 Mike Bonsall to compile an open source online catalogue of writer J.G. Ballard’s ‘invisible literature’.

Funded Workshops

2018 – Exploring Digital Public Spaces (£550): one-day workshop on changing conceptions of public space in the contemporary media and political environment (University of Edinburgh).

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

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 at Leeds with N. Kivilcim Yavuz and Victoria Cooper).

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).

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.

Conferences and Seminar Series

2018-2019 – The Transcultural Fantastic: Sadler Seminar series exploring the traditions of the Fantastic in art, fiction and film from a transcultural and interdisciplinary perspective (co-organised at Leeds with Ingo Cornils and Sarah Dodd).

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

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

2014 – Landscapes of Tomorrow: J.G. Ballard in Space and Time: one-day conference on the writer J.G. Ballard (co-organised at Leeds with Richard Brown and Christopher Duffy).

2012-2013 – Impact and Innovation (HEIF V) funding (£1300) to run a research symposium in Special Collections (co-organised at Leeds with Nick Cass).

Grants and Prizes

2018 – Susan Manning Workshop Grant (University of Edinburgh).

2017-2019 – Sadler Seminar Series Grants (University of Leeds).

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

2013-2014 – AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Award.

2013 – Women of Achievement Roll of Honour (University of Leeds).

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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