Sharing things

6.2 Maria and Hannah - 6 October

Maria Maclennan and Hannah Feben-Smith talk about adoptee voices, jewellery detectives, and the value of things.


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Arguably we are totally different even from the moment we started this podcast – we are different people already

Maria Maclennan


Maria and Hannah headshot
Maria Maclennan and Hannah Feben-Smith

About our guests

Photo of a brooch and personalised Rubik's Cube
Costume jewellery brooch and Rubik's Cube created for Whatever Next? Adoptee Project

Maria Maclennan

Chosen object: Grandmother's brooch

Recording location: Glasgow

Dr Maria Maclennan is an award-winning interdisciplinary designer, researcher, writer, and educator. Her current research interests concern the forensic and criminal use of jewellery and the value of design in facilitating collaboration and knowledge exchange between diverse areas such law enforcement, government, and education. 

Maria obtained her PhD in Forensic Jewellery from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) at The University of Dundee in 2018; a unique industry partnership between the V&A Dundee and Institute for Capitalising on Creativity (ICC) at The University of St Andrews. As the world’s first ‘Forensic Jeweller’, she regularly provides support and advice to international policing agencies on jewellery recovered with unidentified human remains.

Maria's staff profile

Hannah Feben-Smith

Chosen object: Rubik's Cubes and a book on adoptee identities she co-wrote

Recording location: Edinburgh

Hannah graduated with an MA (Hons) in Linguistics and Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh in 2022. During her final two years at university, Hannah co-founded an adoptee project called Whatever Next? with her two friends, Josephine Jay and Adaline Bara. By sharing their own personal experiences, they aim to positively impact the adoptive community while challenging misconceptions! 

Since starting in 2021, the Whatever Next? team have gone on to win the Young Scot Equality and Diversity Award, and most excitingly, published their own book called ‘Whatever Next? On Adult Adoptee Identities’ which tackles traditional narratives and what we should do to avoid those pitfalls.  

Outside of the Whatever Next? project, Hannah enjoys playing the piano and solving Rubik’s Cubes.  

Whatever Next? team's website

Extra things from the episode

  • Inklings #10: Whatever Next? Winner of the Young Scot Equality and Diversity Award 2022 - View on 404 Ink Shop (external)

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Host: Hannah Clark

Theme music: Nathan Webb

Producer: Kate Stewart