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Personal profile

Research interests

Hannah Rumball is a senior lecturer and an academic working across a range of interests in dress history and material culture. Hannah teaches on, and is coordinator for, Critical Studies on the BA (Hons) Fashion Business, BA (Hons) Textiles and Business and BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and Business. She is currently working on research into the tailoring of the late-nineteenth century women’s waterproof overcoat the Ladies Ulster for the EU research project The RIG (Research Interest Group), for Appearances, Bodies and Societies. She has worked on projects for the National Trust and The Regency Town House, and has worked as a costume mounter, researcher and lecturer.

Her research areas include nineteenth and early twentieth century women's dress, with a particular specialism in Quaker Plain dress and its fashionable adaptation. Hannah was awarded her PhD in material culture, dress history and Quakerism, from the University of Brighton in 2016. Her doctoral subject was conceived independently, after having completed an AHRC fully-funded Masters by Research at Kingston University on the subject of the prescriptions of Quaker dress. Subsequent consultations with appropriate academics at the RCA, Kingston and Brighton University, as well as independent scholars, ensured the creative and innovative quality of her proposal and illustrates Hannah’s strong cross-discipline collaborative ability. Both the RCA and University of Brighton accepted her proposal, with University of Brighton awarding her a fully-funded studentship position to undertake the doctoral project.

Her research has a particular focus on object analysis and material culture and has taken her to museums and collections across the country. There she has read, used and analysed archival material in both tangible and digitised formats, varying from exquisite fragile garments from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to Quaker religious manuscripts from the seventeenth century.

Other areas of interest for Hannah include suffrage dress, nineteenth century dress reform, womens tailoring, waterproofing, Herstories, feminism and feminist readings of history, the use of fur, feathers and skins in fashion, aestheticism, embroidery, and the relationship between dress and religion with a particular focus on protestant readings of Scripture.

During the summer of 2018, Hannah visited Uganda where she undertook research into local textiles with a particular focus on the production of bark cloth in Masaka, a traditional region of its production. She has donated examples of these studied Ugandan textiles to the University of Brighton Dress History Teaching Collection to further the University’s repository of international textiles, and to broaden the scope of source material available to the student cohort for inspiration and study.

Hannah is a founder member of the international C19th Dress and Textiles Reframed network, a group of dress/textile/fashion historians who have found common interest in rethinking some of the common perceptions, and misperceptions, about dress and textiles in the long 19th century. They hold free monthly online, international 'At Home' symposiums where researchers showcase their latest research, providing a community where like minded dress historians come together to share and debate fresh ideas in the field. She is also a member of the university's Objects Unwrapped Research Group; the Association of Dress Historians; DATS; The Costume Society and the Quaker Studies Group at the Religious Society of Friends, London.

Hannah is currently supervising a PhD with the working title, "How Women in Asylums in Nineteenth Century Britain Found Their Voice: Protest and Subversion Through the Art of Needlework."

Supervisory Interests

My supervisory interests include nineteenth and early twentieth century women's dress and textiles, and I have a particular specialism in Quaker Plain dress, Quaker attitudes to consuming dress, and its fashionable adaptation by Quaker women between 1860 and 1914. I also have a specific interest in and specialism in, the historical adaptation of tailored menswear for female clients during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries especially garments used for active outdoor pursuits, such as the Ulster overcoat. I champion a material culture approach to research, and have a supervisory interest in overseeing projects engaging with object analysis and archival collections. I am interested in supervising projects which shall use archival material in both tangible and digitised formats. I would relish the opportunity to supervise projects which would use garments and textiles to contribute new knowledge and interpretations to our understanding of womens lives historically. Other subject areas which I would consider supervising would include nineteenth century dress reform, the relationship between dress and religion with a particular focus on protestant readings of Scripture, Quaker attitudes to dress and textiles and consumption, the historical use of tailored garments in womenswear especially those intended for outdoor and functional pursuits, the evolution and importance of waterproof garments. 

Education/Academic qualification

Unknown, PhD, University of Brighton

1 Sep 201230 Jun 2016

Award Date: 1 Jun 2016

Master, Kingston University

Award Date: 1 Sep 2010

Bachelor, Kingston University

Award Date: 1 Sep 2009


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