Hannah Eastham

Research Summary

Hannah began an ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership Award in October 2019, supervised by Dr. Christopher Morton (Pitt Rivers Museum) and Dr. Dolores Martinez (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology). Previously, she completed her MPhil in Heritage & Museums from the University of Cambridge, where she gained work experience in the photograph collections at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). At that time, she came across the photographs and diaries of a British marine scientist cum anthropologist, James Hornell (1865-1949), whose collection from Japan forms the case study for her current research on digital repatriation and exhibition practice.

After receiving the MAA’s Crowther Beynon Award, she travelled to Japan in 2014, to undertake pilot research on the photographs of Hornell: scenes of fishing communities at a key point in Japan’s industrialisation in 1907. In 2016-18, she continued this project through a research studentship at the Graduate School for Advanced Studies at the National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku), undertaking pilot fieldwork in 2017: collaborating with a Japanese photographer and community members to re-photograph locations which formed the historical context for Hornell’s visit 110 years earlier.

Her research will investigate the impact of returning this collection in parallel with the contemporary photographic outputs of the pilot work in 2017; and her DPhil will experiment with various participatory methodologies to improve outcomes for undertaking museum-based digital repatriation projects.