I’m originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States, where I did my undergraduate degree at Michigan Technological University. This proved absolutely perfect for my interests in pre-industrial technologies, and I had soon built my own blacksmith’s forge – a process that would influence my future career in economic and social history. Fired by an interest in material culture, which was fostered by the world-class Industrial Archaeology unit at MTU, and blissfully distracted by a fixation on Scottish history and museums, I was given an incredible opportunity to study abroad for the last summer of my undergraduate degree. I came over to Edinburgh to study British Literature, but spent most of my time touring around Scottish museums, trying to figure out how old bits of metal were constructed, and how one might recreate them to learn about production methods.
Upon finishing my first degree in 2000, I was blessed with the opportunity to come back to Edinburgh to pursue postgraduate study. It was during my MSc and PhD on craft guilds and pre-industrial production that I discovered my love of towns, as I was further blessed by having Michael Lynch and Pat Dennison as my supervisors. My work since has focussed on my three historical passions: work, objects and the urban environment.
I joined the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh in 2014.