Researching in Dublin: The Big Move

It’s been a while since I updated The Scribe Unbound. Last time I wrote, I was wrangling with image permissions having had a couple of articles accepted for publication. Those articles, which were all interdisciplinary, collaborative, endeavors, have now been published:

‘Historical analyses of disordered handwriting,’ Written Communication 34 (2016): 

‘A history of dystonia: ancient to modern,’ Movement Disorders: Clinical Practice 4 (2017):

‘How to use pen and paper tasks to aid tremor diagnosis in the clinic,’ Practical Neurology (2017):

The spring months were consumed by tying up the loose ends of my fellowship at the University of York, saying farewell to friends, and moving house. A one-month visiting research fellowship at the Huntington Library in California followed – a delightful mixture of sunshine and academic productivity.


Los Angeles sunshine – the commute to work

Over the course of the month in Pasadena, I conducted a short research project entitled, Old Hands: The Work of Ageing and Elderly Medieval Scribes. The Huntington has a wonderful collection of medieval manuscripts and early printed books, as well as offering the opportunity to wade through a wealth of secondary materials. Perhaps the biggest strength of the Library is the community that it fosters there through its programme of short-term and long-term visiting fellowships. Coffee afternoons and happy hours were the perfect opportunity to meet researchers from all over the world. And the environment helped with the conviviality too – lunch breaks in the sunny, beautiful botanical gardens were restorative and inspiring.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my new office at the Trinity College Dublin Long Room Hub:


Not a bad view from the office: Trinity College Dublin from the Long Room Hub

I’m one of three new Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Fellows for 2017-18, along with Dr Meltem Gürle and Dr Alexander Bubb.


The COFUND fellows with Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Director of the Long Room Hub

Whilst I’m in Dublin, I’ll be researching a medical humanities project entitled: Old Hands: A Palaeographical Study of Ageing Medieval and Early Modern Scribes. My time at the Huntington Library allowed me to conduct a short pilot study, and now I’m looking forward to really digging my teeth into the project. It builds upon my research at the University of York, which focused on neurological disorders and medieval scribes. My work at TCD will look more generally at the ageing process and handwriting, and will also expand into the early modern period. I’m looking forward to continuing my digital humanities collaborations with Professor Stephen Smith and my medical research with consultant neurologist Dr Jane Alty. Most excitingly, being at the Long Room Hub will enable me to form new collaborations and continue to push my research forward in its dynamic, interdisciplinary environment.

The term started promisingly with a talk by Dr Laura Cleaver on Trinity College Dublin MS 92 – part of the Beyond the Book of Kells lecture series.

The talk was a wonderful in-depth exploration of the illuminations in, and provenance of, a manuscript from the Trinity College collection. It was also a good opportunity for me to meet fellow research fellows, staff and students.

For more on my research in Dublin over the next year, watch this space!


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