York/Hull Museums CDP Holder: Martha Cattell (2015-18)
Martha Cattell is a current Collaborative Doctoral Award holder (2015-18). Her Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD, project 'Bone and Oil: The Visual and Material Cultures of Whaling in the Long Nineteenth Century' is supervised by Professor Jason Edwards (University of York) in partnership with Hull Maritime Museum
Here, Martha tells us about her research and some of the highlights of her PhD to date (March 2017).
I am a current second-year Collaborative Doctoral Award student working with the History of Art Department at the University of York, and the Hull Maritime Museum on the project 'Bone and Oil: The Visual and Material Cultures of Whaling in the Long Nineteenth Century'. I am particularly interested in looking at how human/animal relationships are presented and explored and what this angle can then tell us about wider issues, including gender, identity and visibility.
My main source base is the vast collections of the Hull Maritime Museum, which include the largest scrimshaw collection outside of the USA; a series of whaling marine painting by local Hull artists, which have so far been rather overshadowed by more metropolitan names; and prints ranging from taxonomic natural history images to whaling scenes and whalers' log-books. I am also helping curate the upcoming Turner and the Whale Exhibition at the Hull Maritime Museum, due to open in autumn of this year, as part of Hull’s UK ‘City of Culture’ celebrations in 2017.
Key moments in the PhD so far:
- November 2015: Presenting at the Association of Art Historians New Voices Conference
- May-June 2016: Research trip to the USA to see the Turner’s Whaling Pictures exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and various other relevant sites including Nantucket Island, the Peabody and Essex Museum and Mystic Seaport.
- June 2016: Visiting Scholar in Residence at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
- September - December 2016: Visiting scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, via the AHRC International Placement Scheme, including a visit to the Herman Melville House, Arrowhead.