Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Liz Stainforth


School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University Road, Room 3.02

Office hours: Flexible, by appointment.

BA English and Philosophy (Joint Hons), MA, PhD Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (University of Leeds)

Research investigates digital heritage and memory cultures. Also interested in theories of utopia and critical studies of history and heritage.


I completed my undergraduate degree in English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Leeds in 2008, before commencing study in the School in 2010. The topic of my doctoral research (2012-2016) was informed by my interest in digital heritage collections, cultural memory and philosophies of technology. From 2007-2017, I worked at Leeds University Library and Galleries, alongside my studies, where I was involved in projects with the Digital Content and Repositories Team, Special Collections and the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery. From 2016-2018, I worked as a Research Associate on the collaborative place development projects My Future York and My Castle Gateway.

Research Interests

My doctoral research explored the contemporary significance of memory for cultural heritage in the wake of digital technologies. Case studies included the European Commission-funded project Europeana and UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme (thesis title: ‘Defining the Problem of Tomorrow’s Memory: The Time of Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age’). My research interests include:

  • Digital heritage cultures;
  • Media memory studies;
  • Politics and ethics of technology;
  • Cultural and media policy;
  • Digital archiving practices;
  • Philosophies of history;
  • Theories of utopia.

I have several secondary research interests, primarily in early printed books, literary studies and science fiction.


I previously taught:

2013-14 – Elements of Visual Culture (Year 1 module)
2014 – (In)tangible Heritage: (In)tangible Histories (MA module)
2016 – Cinema and Media History (Year 1 module)
2016-17 – Whose Past and Which Future? Exploring Living Histories and Heritage Today (Year 1 module)

I am currently teaching:

Approaches to Living Histories and Heritage (Co-taught Year 1 module)
Heritage Studies: Key Words (Co-taught MA module)
Interpreting Cultures (Co-taught MA module)
MA Dissertation (MA module)

I have also taught as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University and the Central European University, Budapest.


Programme Director for MA Curating Science.


Journal articles


  • Bettivia R, Stainforth EMC, ‘Performative Metadata: Reliability Frameworks and Accounting Frameworks in Content Aggregation Data Models’, in Transforming Digital Worlds: 13th International Conference, iConference 2018, Sheffield, UK, Proceedings, ed. by Chowdhury G and others, Information Systems and Applications, incl. Internet/Web, and HCI (Springer, 2018), 10766, 592-597
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-78105-1, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/129482/

  • Bettivia R, Stainforth E, ‘The Dynamics of Scale in Digital Heritage Cultures’, in Politics of Scale: A New Approach to Heritage Studies, ed. by Lähdesmäki T, Thomas S and Zhu Y (Berghahn Books, 2018) (Accepted)
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/126948/

  • Stainforth EMC, ‘The Logic of the Visible at the Service of the Invisible’: Reading Invisible Literature in The Atrocity Exhibition’, in J.G. Ballard Landscapes of Tomorrow, ed. by Brown RH, Duffy CJ and Stainforth EMC, Dialogue (Leiden: BRILL, 2016), 22, 99-111

  • Stainforth EMC, Thom D, ‘Metadata’, in Theorizing Visual Studies Writing Through the Discipline, ed. by Elkins J and others, 1 (London: Routledge, 2013), 163-165

Research Projects & Grants


2017-2018 – Research Associate for My Castle Gateway: collaborative consultation project about the development of the Castle Gateway area in York, linking creative and ongoing public engagement with the formal planning process (led by Helen Graham).

2016-2017 – Research Associate for My Future York: collaborative inquiry project exploring alternative futures in relation to practices of community heritage and local democracy in the city of York. Funded as part of the AHRC’s Connected Communities Festival (led by Helen Graham).

2014-present – All and Each: Dialogues in the Digital Archive: ongoing collaborative research project with Rhiannon Bettivia (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) about digital archiving practices.

2014-present – The Invisible Library: collaborative project with Mike Bonsall to compile an open source online catalogue of writer J.G. Ballard’s ‘invisible literature’.

Funded Workshops

2018 – Exploring Digital Public Spaces (£550): one-day workshop on changing conceptions of public space in the contemporary media and political environment (University of Edinburgh).

2015 – Tracing Arguments (£250): one-day student-led workshop providing a peer-review platform for PhD students at all stages of their research (co-organised at Leeds with Chrysi Papaioannou and Ana Baeza Ruiz).

2014-2015 – LEAP Skills Training Hub grant (£500) to run a text encoding workshop as part of ‘Medieval Studies in the Digital Age’ seminar and workshop series (co-organised at Leeds with N. Kivilcim Yavuz and Victoria Cooper).

2013-2014 – AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Project (£3000) to run two workshops on the theme of ‘Co-producing Cultural Policy’ (CIs Alice Borchi and Leila Jancovich).

2010 – Leeds University Community Initiative (LUCI) grant (£500) to run a set of workshops for school children at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, working with the Gallery’s collection.

Conferences and Seminar Series

2018-2019 – The Transcultural Fantastic: Sadler Seminar series exploring the traditions of the Fantastic in art, fiction and film from a transcultural and interdisciplinary perspective (co-organised at Leeds with Ingo Cornils and Sarah Dodd).

2017-2018 – The Spirit and the Letter: Sadler Seminar series focusing on utopian print cultures, critical design practice and radical histories and imaginaries of community (co-organised at Leeds with Paul Wilson).

2014-2015 – Cultural Value and Everyday Life: seminar series exploring questions of ‘cultural value’ through lived experiences of arts and culture.

2014 – Landscapes of Tomorrow: J.G. Ballard in Space and Time: one-day conference on the writer J.G. Ballard (co-organised at Leeds with Richard Brown and Christopher Duffy).

2012-2013 – Impact and Innovation (HEIF V) funding (£1300) to run a research symposium in Special Collections (co-organised at Leeds with Nick Cass).

Grants and Prizes

2018 – Susan Manning Workshop Grant (University of Edinburgh).

2017-2019 – Sadler Seminar Series Grants (University of Leeds).

2016 – Leeds for Life Travel Grant (University of Leeds).

2013-2014 – AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Award.

2013 – Women of Achievement Roll of Honour (University of Leeds).

2012-2015 – AHRC Block Partnership Doctoral Grant.

2012-2013 – Impact and Innovation Grant (University of Leeds).

2011 – Henry Moore Institute Essay Prize (Masters Collections Category).

2010-2011 – Full Fee MA Scholarship (University of Leeds).

Research Centres & Groups

Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, University of Leeds.

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Current PhDs:

Arran Rees – Collecting Digital Communication in Museums (team supervision with Rob Knifton and Helen Graham).

Laura Swithenbank – Sharing, Resisting, Being: Everyday Life and Collaborative Arts Practice in the North of England (team supervision with Helen Graham and Alice O’Grady).

Professional Practice

2015-2018 – parallax journal: editing and proofing, evaluating issue proposals, liaison with publishers and authors.

2011 – Henry Moore Institute: cataloguing, research, report writing.

2010-2017 – Leeds University Library Galleries: visitor services, marketing and events, report writing, exhibitions.

2008-2012 – Leeds University Library: academic liaison, administration, acquisitions, digitisation activities, student support, induction.

2007 – Tindal Street Press: administration, proofing, securing endorsements, report writing.

2006 – Creative Pathways (Birmingham City Library): marketing and events, administration.


‘Visions of the Future: The Art of Science Fiction’ (Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, 4 April – 11 June 2011) with Paul Whittle and Laura Millward.

‘A “Revelation of Unexpected Associations”: J.G. Ballard, Eduardo Paolozzi and Helen Chadwick in Ambit (Henry Moore Institute Library, 16th October 2011 – 25th November 2011).




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