Dr Rachel Hurdley

Dr Rachel Hurdley

Research Fellow

School of Social Sciences

Media commentator

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.   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.  I was The Sociological Review Fellow 2009-10, writing a monograph, Home, Materiality, Memory and Belonging: keeping culture (2013). Making Wales, Remembering Home was a Beacon-funded collaborative film-making project with refugees and destitute asylum seekers. Building on a short study, The Power of Corridors, I am now doing an ethnography Rethinking Space, Openness and Organisation as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. This explores the relation between social, material and spatial interactions and relations on a university campus.

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 relations are effected, transformed and fixed within:

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

The current Leverhulme-funded ethnography Rethinking Openness, Space and Organisation examines how power is organised into and out university spaces and materials.  How is work collaboration transformed by a new 'walk through' common room?  How might an 'accessible' building deter 'the public'?  The research builds on The Power of Corridors.  This unfolds how organisational culture happens within everyday interpersonal, spatial and material relations in the corridors of a university building.

Home, family, memory and identity as mundane practices - particularly focusing on materiality - are ongoing research interests.  The monograph Home, Materiality, Memory and Belonging was published in 2013.  In Dismantling Mantelpieces, I explore closely how these are made, maintained, disposed of and changed through curating and narrating displays in the home.  The film series Making Wales, Remembering Home, co-produced with refugees and 'destitute' asylum seekers, emphasises how homes, memories and identities are precarious, tenuous processes.