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About us

About us

The OHEM team brings oral historians, geographers, and environmental movement activists together with experts from British Library, the Royal Geographical Society and Friends of the Earth. The project is based at Royal Holloway Geography Department.

Project Team
Staff working on the project are:

Dr Toby Butler – Principal Investigator and Reader

Toby has devised collaborative oral history projects in India, the USA, Wales and England. He has directed BA and MA programmes, created oral history trails with the Museum of London, London parks and local authorities and recently undertook 57 interviews with museum founders for the Mapping Museums project.

Dr Barbara Brayshay – Researcher

Barbara has an academic background in Environmental Science and Bioarchaeology. Her current research interests focus on participatory action research and community engagement. Her interest in the use of participatory mapping as a tool for social change and creative forms of community campaigning is reflected in her role as a Director of LivingMaps Network.

Chris Church – Project Officer

Chris is Director of Community Environment Associates and specialises in work with communities on climate change and related issues. He has worked in the environmental sector for over 30 years with NGOs including Friends of the Earth, social enterprises and as a researcher and consultant. He was an Associate of the Community Development Foundation for 10 years, leading its’ environmental programme with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Prof Felix Driver – Co-Investigator

Felix Driver is an historical geographer specialising in collections-based research and public engagement in the arts and humanities, including projects in partnership with museums and visual artists. He was Principal Investigator of Mobile Museum, an AHRC research project on the mobility of biocultural collections, in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is an Honorary Research Associate at Kew and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Jeremy Iles - External Liaison Officer

Jeremy is currently coordinator of the Urban Agriculture Consortium and is a graduate of the School for Social Entrepreneurs. He was Director of the London Wildlife Trust 1984-1999, worked in Bangladesh & Eritrea for VSO, was Regional Manager for Sustrans (1994-2000), and CEO at the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (2000-2016). Jeremy is part of The Island Folk and All@Sea ceilidh band, and he is a sailing instructor.

Dr Oli Mould – Co-Investigator

Oli Mould is a geographer at Royal Holloway, with research interests in urban activism, creativity and social justice. He has written three books, Urban Subversion and the Creative City (2015), Against Creativity (2018) and Seven Ethics Against Capitalism (2021). He has written for The Conversation, Prospect, Tribune and CityLab among many others. He blogs at taCity, and can be found on Twitter @olimould.

Dr Saskia Papadakis - Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

Saskia Papadakis is a postdoctoral researcher working with the OHEM team at Royal Holloway. She also holds a post at the University of Manchester, where she is researching histories of the British Black Power movement in Leicester. With interests in antiracism, imperialism and Englishness, Saskia holds a PhD in Human Geography from Royal Holloway, for which she recorded life story interviews with people from the North of England who were living in London. Saskia co-convenes the Post and Decolonial Transformations study group for the British Sociological Association, and is an organiser with Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

Advisory Board

We welcome the engagement of our expert Advisory Board:

•  Professor Julian Ageyman, Tufts University, Co-founder of the Black Environment Network
•  Craig Bennett, CEO, Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts
•  Dr Julia Laite, cultural historian, Birkbeck/ Raphael Samuel History Centre
•  Professor Jenny Pickerill, environmental geographer, University of Sheffield
•  Professor Joe Smith, RGS Director
•  Mary Stewart, Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library and Director of National Life Stories
•  John Vidal, former Guardian environment editor
•  Joanna Watson, Friends of the Earth, Communications & Events Manager

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