Kristin O’Donnell’s work focuses on the intersections of history, memory, and art, with a particular focus on the performativity of memory, embodiment, representation, identity, and the politics of war commemoration. Kristin is currently working towards a PhD through an AHRC TECHNE NPIF funded studentship entitled ‘Performing Emotional Histories: Centenary Commemorations and Memories of the First World War’ at the University of Brighton in collaboration with Dover Arts Development. This current research explores the relationship between performance and memory at the crucial centenary moment, where the war has moved beyond living experience, asking why Britain is choosing to remember the Great War in this way and how the memory of the First World War is mobilised to deal with contemporary political concerns. This research examines the ways in which performance is utilised at both an institutional level through large-scale funding initiatives such as 14-18 NOW, and the ways in which communities are carrying out grass-roots level initiatives through schools and community groups. Previous scholarly research has explored the creation of early heritage sites and their role in identity formation in the nineteenth century, and the cultural memory of the 1984 Miner’s Strike.
Alongside her scholarly research Kristin does freelance historical research and collaborates with artists on performance-based projects that explore the relationship between memory, place, and identity.