Dr Lois Burke
IASH Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow, October 2020-July 2021
Project title: ‘Scottish Women Writers of the Golden Age of Children’s Literature: Connections, Creativity, and Children’s Cultures.’
Dr. Lois Burke completed her PhD in 2019 at Edinburgh Napier University, where she was the recipient of a 50th Anniversary Scholarship. She then took up a Residential Research Library Fellowship at her alma mater, Durham University, before joining the Reference Services department at the National Library of Scotland. Her work focuses on nineteenth-century archives and collections, particularly those that represent the writings of women and children. Since 2016 she has worked closely with the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh and has co-curated 3 exhibitions there: ‘Bedtime Stories’, ‘Growing up with Books’, and ‘Changing Childhood.’ She is a member of the editorial board for the bilingual journal Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures. Her work has featured in venues including Victorian Periodicals Review, The Conversation, and Durham University’s The Impossible Podcast. She is currently preparing a monograph, Victorian Girls Writings: Girlhood Cultures of Authorship in the Nineteenth Century , for publication.
This project, ‘Scottish Women Writers of the Golden Age of Children’s Literature: Connections, Creativity, and Children’s Cultures’ utilises Edinburgh’s unique collections to reveal the importance of forgotten Scottish women writers of the first Golden Age of children’s literature, 1865–1915. Through the use of Digital Humanities tools and methodologies, this project demonstrates that Scottish women writers played a significant but heretofore unacknowledged role in the burgeoning development of children’s print culture in the late-Victorian period.
This project will piece together the scant pieces of archival evidence of Scottish women writers and their readers during this period, demonstrating an ethical and reparative research imperative. It will situate this history of cultural connection between Scottish women writers alongside the collaborations between groups of late-Victorian child readers, and in doing so newly evaluate the significance of these intertwined and simultaneous networks, which have never been explored in parallel. Lois will map these socio-cultural networks using the software GraphCommons.