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…”

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…”

One day, I will learn not to post a glib tweet about a TV show right before bed. But that day will not be anytime soon as we all know that I like the attention… When it comes to forensic science on TV shows, I’m usually pretty zen*. Like a leaf in the wind. I know that some artistic licence is needed because this is entertainment, and much forensic analysis is visually rather boring. And slow. I’ve even advised TV shows myself so that they…Continue Reading ““Do not touch the charred crotch””

When my twelve year old called me a nerd recently, I pointed out that ‘nerd’ pays the bills. And then pointed out that he was an even bigger nerd than I was. And then we laughed, high-fived and went to do our respective homework because that’s how we roll. Clearly, he’s not wrong. And gaming is where he usually points this out to me. The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons, the fact that Warhammer is now worth over £1 billion, and that tabletop gaming generally…Continue Reading “Choose your own adventures…”

Now I’ve done a fair bit of media work in the past (Shock! Academic known for being a bit of a show-off has history of being a bit of a show-off…) but nothing to the intensity of this past week. Our paper reinterpreting the context of death for victims of Vesuvius at Herculaneum has finally come out in the journal Antiquity. To be honest, this paper should have been out a year ago but it’s been a bit of a battle to get it finished….Continue Reading “BREAKING NEWS: Only I could make a 2000 year old volcanic eruption all about me…”

I don’t know if you realise this, but I’m a bit of a nerd. I hide it well, behind this cool exterior of senior management sophistication, but it’s there. Academically it focuses on studying people from their skeletons, and particularly their burned skeletons. I can remember exactly where my interest here began – in the library of the University of Bradford in the winter of 1998. I was in a dark corridor of shelving pouring over bound volumes of journals (now I’m really showing my…Continue Reading “Lets get ready to CRUMBEL!”

Sometimes, just sometimes, I agree to do something before I’ve fully thought through how I can actually do it. And sometimes, just sometimes, innocent people get caught up in all of this. Now, I either do this because I have a pathological fear of saying ‘No’, or because I have unfaltering confidence in the abilities of my colleagues. Someone once said (Google tells me it was David Ogilvy, whoever he was…) that you should “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them…Continue Reading “I choo-choo choose you!”

As someone who teaches, I spend the summer recharging my batteries to get ready for the next academic year. As someone who has responsibility for people who teach, I spend the summer wondering why more people aren’t preparing teaching material for the next academic year! It’s very stressful being me… Anyway, I guess what I should be doing is seeing if I can make such prep easier.  Which is what I’ve done! You’re very welcome… When our new team took over the editorial roles of…Continue Reading “A new forensic teaching resource: JFLM Commentaries”