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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details for Dr Mary Brooks

Brooks, Mary M. (2017). Performing curiosity: re-viewing women’s domestic embroidery in seventeenth-century England. The Seventeenth Century 32(1): 1-29.

Author(s) from Durham


For many in seventeenth-century England, curiosity became an intellectual and physical means of exploring natural and artificial wonders and categorising tangible and intangible things. For well-off Englishwomen, “curious work” had a more specific meaning. It described a specific type of pictorial, decorative embroidery, usually learnt in school and practised in the home, possessing moral agency and functioning as an indicator of status and wealth. Although recognised for their exuberant use of extravagant materials, these embroideries have proved challenging to appreciate and understand. This paper re-situates these “curious works”, placing them within the changing concept and practice of curiosity in early modern England by using an object-based evidence approach combined with an historical archaeology methodology. Viewing these artefacts through the “lens of curiosity” provides a new perspective on these embroideries as the outcome of the performance of the feminine curiosity and thus the equivalent to the masculine project of curiosity.

Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:

International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: