I never learn. Which is ironic considering the sector I work in. Whenever I get asked if I’d give a paper at a conference, I always think “Oh, that’s ages away, literally months away, I’m busy now but it’ll be fine by then…”. But it never is. Such was the case when I was asked by Sabrina Agarwal and Trent Trombley if I’d give a paper on burning at a special symposium of the American Academy of Biological Anthropology in March this year. Unfortunately I…Continue Reading “Biocultural Taphonomies: Teasing apart taphonomic filters in bioarchaeology”

I like to play video games to relax. I always have, ever since I had a Spectrum 48k. I tend to go through phases of what I like to play though. At the moment, it’s third person action-adventures, but often it’s something more strategy-based. One time last year, my wife asked me what I was playing, to which I replied Cities: Skylines. My town was coming along very nicely and I was rightly proud. “So, let me get this straight” she said, “In order to…Continue Reading “Tim Thompson’s ‘Sid Meier’s Memoir!’ Memoir!”

Back in the day when I was a fresh-faced PhD student at Sheffield, I had written a paper on research ethics in forensic anthropology. It was an off-shoot of my PhD work, and I felt it was an important piece to write. It was my first paper. I nervously submitted it to Medicine, Science and the Law since they had published work in the field of ethics before. They rejected the paper before it even got to peer review. I was gutted, and vowed never…Continue Reading “President Elect of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences”

There’s a well-used trope in sitcoms, in which the protagonist manages to arrange an evening where they go on two dates at the same time! Hilarity and humiliation always ensue. Well, that was basically me last Friday. I had been asked by two sets of conference organisers if I’d give a Keynote talk. It’s always very flattering to be asked, and I am very supportive of the academics who were working on both events, so I agreed. Besides, I thought, there’s six-day window for these…Continue Reading “Time flies…”

Last week I was over at our National Horizons Centre meeting with Dr Jen Vanderhoven and Prof Vikki Rand, our Director and our Bioscience Research Centre lead. We were talking around various topics, including what to focus our efforts on over the next year. I keep saying that the School of Health & Life Sciences is really complex, and with good reason. It’s really complex. For a start, we’re spread over two campuses which means that we need to make an extra effort to ensure…Continue Reading “What is the digital space..?”

Last week I was invited to give one of the keynotes at the DigiDeath: Public archaeologies of digital mortality conference hosted by the students of the Archaeology department of the University of Chester. And as an aside for learning & teaching folks, the student-run conference forms part of their module assessment. Anyway, I was delighted to have been asked to contribute alongside a host of leading experts. I’d recently written a chapter with Dr Dave Errickson on the depiction of the dead in social media…Continue Reading “#DigiDeath: Should we be Socially Distancing from the Dead?”

As we all know by now, when it comes to academia, I’m pretty chill. I’m both easy and breezy, and I am hardly vengeful at all. So it takes a lot to make me sit down and type furiously at this keyboard brimming as I am with righteous indignation. Although the fact that an earlier post was exactly that does kinda undermine my argument… Anyway,  a couple of times recently, I’ve been presented with the same frustrating argument that I’ve heard countless times before. And…Continue Reading “That’s my secret, I’m always angry…”

Look. I don’t want to do this. You don’t want me to do this. But we have no choice. It’s the New Year, and as such I am compelled to write some sort of ‘year in review’ type reflective piece. Especially since the year in question is 2020 and has been so, well, you know… So let’s just get on with it, shall we? This was my second full year in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine hot-seat. I started as Editor-in-Chief in Jan…Continue Reading “Oh no – not another year in review piece…”

While I was having a bit of a digital clear-out before the Christmas break, I stumbled across this piece which I had written back in 2017. To be honest, I’d totally forgotten that I had written this and I thought it’d be interesting to revisit it in light of the developments that have occurred during the three years that have followed, and in particular with regard to the sudden embrace of digital tools that the pandemic has forced upon the sector. It was written for…Continue Reading “Developing and disseminating digital tools – 3 years on…”

As you know, I am not one for willingly turning down an opportunity to talk in front of an audience, so I was delighted to be asked to give a talk as part of the series of guest lectures run by the Sherlock Institute of Forensic Science India. I was following some great talks over the past few months, including Jason Payne James talking about the role of the forensic physician and Patrick Randolph-Quinney discussing issues in taphonomy. My presentation focused on the effect of…Continue Reading “A meme-orial to my career…”