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Social Futures Institute
Joan Heggie is a Research Fellow in the Social Futures Institute and is based in the School of Social Sciences, Business & Law. Joan’s current role includes assisting academics and researchers in SSSBL to apply for research & enterprise funding, as well as developing research projects of her own.
Joan has a BA (Hons) in History, Gender & Politics and a Masters and PhD in Women’s Studies. Joan’s PhD (University of York, 2005) explored the experiences of lesbian soldiers within the British Army to more fully understand how institutional structures and policies regulate both gender and sexuality by controlling the female body. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this research revealed how lesbians managed and negotiated their different identities as women, as soldiers and as lesbians.
Since coming to Teesside in 2002, Joan has worked as a researcher on several projects regarding women’s employability, gender and skills. From 2008-2011, she was Project Manager of the British Steel Archive Project, which generated new avenues of research in Teesside’s industrial history and women’s social history. Research exploring women's involvement with property using the North Riding Register of Deeds during the 18th & 19th centuries is ongoing.
As well as being a member of the Social Futures Institute, Joan is also a member of the Centre for Regional and Local Historical Research, the Cleveland and Teesside History Society and the Friends of Teesside Archives. She has strong links to community groups and regularly gives public talks across the region about her research.
Within the University, Joan takes a lead in supporting the wider Equality and Diversity strategy to include staff and students in challenging stereotypes, raising awareness and helping to break down the barriers that prevent staff and students achieving their potential. She was recently elected Chair of the LGBT Staff Focus Group and is also a member of the Gender Focus Group. Joan acts as a Mentor for students through the Diversitees Programme.
Joan’s current research focuses on three main areas of interest:
Exploring women’s involvement with land and property is an important area of research which helps to enhance understanding about the complexity of women's relationships to property since the late 18th century. This pilot project has been funded by a small research grant from the Economic History Society and uses the North Riding Register of Deeds, held at the North Yorkshire County Record Office, as its primary resource. These documents are a hugely under-utilised resource for women's property history in general but also help to address the gap in knowledge about women's involvement with property during their lifetimes, as opposed to that held at death. The North Riding Register of Deeds contains handwritten ledgers in which property transactions for the North Riding of Yorkshire are recorded, covering the period from 1736 to 1971. Two Index Ledgers were transcribed into a database for periods 1784-90 and 1885-1889 and have been made available via an online search facility to increase public access. An extensive gender-based analysis of the database has been carried out and all women's wills and transactions containing only women have been transcribed. Further work is ongoing regarding the size and value of the property, as well as analysis by type of transaction. Archival research will be carried out to create biographical reconstructions of selected women’s lives. These combined methods will help to establish how women were involved in property transactions over time and contribute to the wider debates on women as social and economic actors.
The history of the growth of Teesside and the global impact of its iron & steel industry is another area of interest. Using the British Steel Collection as the primary resource, Joan is exploring the companies which came to Teesside in the 19th century and the influential individuals who contributed so much to the industry. Joan published a book in 2013 on Middlesbrough’s Iron & Steel Industry which contains approximately 180 images from the Collection.
After discovering an album of prints about steel making by Viva Talbot in Teesside Archives, Joan has carried out extensive historical and biographical research into Talbot’s life. This has included developing exhibitions of her original artwork. Several venues in the north east have hosted these exhibitions, including Middlesbrough's Institute of Modern Art (mima). Joan is currently researching the Talbot family home, Solberge Hall (near Northallerton), as well as compiling a catalogue raisonné of Viva Talbot’s work.
Joan's interest in local & regional history focuses on the ways in which the industrial narrative of Teesside and the wider Tees Valley can be more fully understood by exploring the biographies of individuals who were, in some way, involved in its growth. These include (in addition to those already mentioned above): Benjamin Talbot (industrialist); John Ross (architect) and Margaret Wright (photographer).
Joan welcomes enquiries from potential PhD students interested in women’s history and regional history, especially related to the industrial heritage of Teesside and women and property.
Currently involved as an Historical Consultant during the restoration of the Central Lodge buildings in Stewart Park, Middlesbrough, part of Askham Bryan College. See http://www.askham-bryan.ac.uk/news/transformation-begins-at-central-lodge-stewart-park
Heggie, J. K. F. (2013) Middlesbrough’s Iron & Steel Industry. Stroud: Amberley Publishing.
Heggie, J. K. F. (2012) ‘Viva Frances Talbot, Lady Nussey (1900-1983)’ in Durham Biographies, Volume Seven. Edited by G. R. Batho and Alisoun Roberts. Durham: The History of Education Project.
Heggie, J. (2010) “Viva Talbot”. Multiples: The Journal of the Society of Wood Engravers No. 8 (November), p. 15-18.
Heggie, J. K. F. (2009) “The British Steel Archive Project: Forging new kinds of partnerships to preserve significant business archives”. Business Archives Principles and Practice, Number 98 (May), p. 16-32.
View Joan Heggie's Publications on TeesRep
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