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Dr Rachel Hurdley

Dr Rachel Hurdley

Research Fellow

School of Social Sciences

Email
hurdleyr1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29208 75069
Campuses
2.12 Glamorgan Building, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Comment
Media commentator
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I am a Research Fellow in Cultural Sociology. My research focuses on how identity and power are organised through small, everyday processes and materials at home and work.  

My current writing is on The Hidden History of your House, drawing on my BBC Radio 4 series, The Hidden History of: the Corridor, the Mantelpiece, the Window, the Staircase and the Front Door.

I am fascinated by changes in mantelpiece displays as reported in Mass Observation: how do a stuffed mouse and a propellor clock materialise social change?

Through observing corridor happenings and meetings, I ask: how can doors and small talk effect power, belonging and social/institutional change? 

My second research interest is qualititative methodology: how do we know what we know? Most recently, I've focused on drawing as a way of thinking and using literary 'hunches' in sociological analysis.

Biography

I am currently working on a book, The Hidden History of Your House.

I recently completed a British Academy Small Grant project, Materialising modernity: Patrick Geddes, Mass Observation and the lost aesthetics of social research. In collaboration with colleagues in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, I have also researched teamwork in the development of an NHS treatment intervention for patients with comorbid dememtia and cancer.

Following popular Radio 4 documentaries on 'The Hidden History' of differnt domestic forms, I am now working on a series of other programmes with producer Louise Adamson (Juniper Productions).

I collaborated with National Museum Wales/Amgueddfa Cymru in a community engagment project to implement dementia-friendly design. Another collaboration with Archaeology colleagues involved working with Men's Shed, Ely, Cardiff, to develop community learning strategies for Antler Work.

Building on a short study, The Power of Corridors, I undertook an ethnography Rethinking Space, Openness and Organisation as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow 2011-2014, exploring the relation between social, material and spatial interactions and relations on a university campus.  

Making Wales, Remembering Home was a Beacon-funded collaborative film-making project with refugees and destitute asylum seekers.

I was The Sociological Review Fellow 2009-10, writing a monograph, Home, Materiality, Memory and Belonging: keeping culture (2013).

Following my time as a researcher in the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods in Qualiti, I took up an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship in SOCSI.  

With a joint Classics and English degree, I initially taught Classics at an Oxford school, while volunteering at a housing rights centre. Curious to explore the problem and meaning of 'house and home', I did a housing studies MSc.  In 2006, I completed a PhD in housing, Dismantling Mantelpieces: consumption as spectacle and shaper of self in the home at the Cardiff School of Geography and Planning.  

Publications

2020

2019

2017

2016

  • Hurdley, R. 2016. Everyday life. In: Inglis, D. and Almila, A. M. eds. The Sage Handbook of Cultural Sociology. Sage, pp. 372-389.

2015

2014

2013

2011

2010

2009

2007

2006

Teaching

I am currently Progress Reviewer for Socsi PhD students, supervisor for Masters in Education and contribute to Undergraduate Dissertation Module marking, 

In the past, I have contributed to a number of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional doctorate courses in SOCSI, CPLAN, RGS and HISAR (now SHARE). These include:

Postgraduate

Qualitative Research Methods, Research Design and Practice, Difference and Equality, Latin Historical Texts, Mediaeval Historical Texts, Beginners' and Intermediate Latin

Undergraduate

Power, Culture, and Identity, Social Research Methods, Reading Latin I and II

My research focuses on how identity and power are organised within:

  • Home, work & family
  • Everyday spaces & things
  • Belonging, remembering, excluding & forgetting
  • Methodology

Recent projects are:

  • A British Academy Small Grant  Materialising modernity: Patrick Geddes, Mass Observation and the lost aesthetics of social research. 
  • In collaboration with colleagues in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, I am researching teamwork in the development of an NHS treatment intervention for patients with comorbid dememtia and cancer.
  • Ongoing research into Mantelpiece Display,  including Mass Observation Mantelpiece Reports 2019/20
  • Drawing and Literary 'Hunches' as a research methodology

A Leverhulme-funded ethnography Rethinking Openness, Space and Organisation examined how power is organised through university spaces and materials.  The research builds on The Power of Corridors.  

Home, family, memory and identity as mundane practices - particularly focusing on materiality - are ongoing research interests. 

Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • the meaning of home
  • sociology and literary analysis
  • archival research
  • material culture

Past projects