Through the opportunities presented by my ESRC funded PhD, I am now engaged in national programmes, including addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19. As the country entered lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, the volume of traffic on our roads dropped by around 70% following an increase in people working from home, and the avoidance of unnecessary journeys.
For nearly all of my days I’ve loved music, virtually all music. Vast amounts of it have defined whole periods of my life. After the obvious Beatles days of growing up there was Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue to Héjira’ period, succeeded by David Bowie’s ‘Berlin Trilogy’ then a noisy amalgam ‘Heaven up here’ period of Blondie, Chic and, yes, Echo and the Bunnymen, while I was constantly out with my housing and community work friends in the early 1980s.
Over the last few years I’ve been using advanced quantitative methods to research health and paid work participation in older age groups. Countries all over the world are experiencing population ageing and increasing life expectancy. There are more and more older adults compared to those of working-age, and people are being expected to work until they are older.
If you’re beginning to feel a little cooped up after spending weeks at home, spare a thought for the dolls in the baby house at Nostell Priory near Wakefield, who have been ‘staying at home’ for nearly three hundred years. That is until earlier this year when staff at the National Trust property were given the green light to begin painstakingly restoring the house and its contents in preparation for a new exhibition, Miniature Worlds. As part of a three-month placement with the National Trust, I have been working with Nostell’s curator Simon McCormack, to better establish what role doll’s houses like this one played in the daily life of the eighteenth-century country house.