Rachael’s research combines anthropological and archaeological approaches to the contemporary past, incorporating: 1) a focus on the development of participatory and collaborative methods for engaging diverse publics in cultural heritage work, and: 2) a keen interest in the ways in which cultural heritage approaches to contemporary social issues can enhance advocacy and improve policy.
Rachael Kiddey is Teaching Associate in Heritage Studies at the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge. Previously, she held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford (2018-2022). Her British Academy project was called ‘Migrant Materialities’, and focused on the role that material culture – objects and visual culture – plays in experiences of forced displacement in Europe. A key element of 'Migrant Materialities' was the development of a research collective called 'Made in Migration', involving a coalition of people with lived experience of displacement and/or experience of using creative means to advocate for displaced people. The Made in Migration Collective co-co-curated the digital exhibition (hosted on this website) and a live exhibit, which was selected to feature in the British Academy Summer Showcase, 2022.
Before this, Rachael was postdoctoral researcher on a joint AHRC/ESRC funded project, with the Refugee Studies Centre at the Oxford Department of International Development, called ‘Architectures of Displacement: The Experiences and Consequences of Emergency Shelter’. Rachael was previously a postgraduate student at the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, where she completed her doctoral study in 2014.
Rachael’s doctoral research involved developing methodologies for working archaeologically with homeless people; documenting how heritage can function in socially useful and transformative ways. This research was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Award for Widening Participation Initiative of the Year 2012 and was shortlisted for the Society for Historical Archaeology’s Mark E. Mack Community Engagement Award 2016. Rachael has published in a range of peer-reviewed journals, including the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Public Archaeology, the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology and Post-medieval Archaeology. She has also published in popular magazines, including British Archaeology and The Big Issue.
Rachael has written book chapters for key edited volumes including The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology and The Routledge Guide to Contemporary Anthropology. Rachael’s monograph ‘Homeless Heritage’ was published in 2017 Oxford University Press and is the 2019 winner of the Society for Historical Archaeology’s James Deetz Book Award. Rachael has also appeared on a range of broadcast media including BBC Inside Out West (TV) and BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thinking Allowed’.