Rachel Swallow Profile

Rachel Swallow

Honorary Fellow, Data Technician (and Temporary Research Assistant), Dept. of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology.

Tell me a little about your position and what you do on a day-to-day basis

I am a member of the pioneering UKRI Future Leader’s Fellow project, The Human Remains: Digital Library in ACE, looking at changes and continuities in British exhumation in and around church sites from the 7th to 19th centuries. I have been a part-time Data Technician on this important new archaeological project since February 2020, and I am working currently on an initial sample of harvested sources, to help establish the ongoing work procedures and methods of the Digital Humanities side of the project. This position is giving me the opportunity to learn new skills and software. Most recently, I have undertaken a Temporary Research Assistant post within the project, where I played a part in setting up work procedures, trialling potential software for the overall project, undertaking translation work on sample documents and providing input as regards subjects, approaches and methods, for ongoing analysis of the sources. 

As an Honorary Fellow within the Department, I focus on interdisciplinary (history, archaeology, architecture, literature, etc) and cross-period research and publication into British fortifications and their landscapes. I have a particular interest in the form and siting of medieval castles in the Irish Sea Region. I am keen to receive post doctoral funding to enable me to further the particularly innovative aspects of my research, as well as to disseminate this work as widely as possible. Amongst other committee/editorial roles, I am Chair and Editor of the Chester Archaeological Society, Editor of the Castle Studies Group Journal, and Meetings Secretary of the Royal Archaeological Institute.

What is the best thing about working at the University of Liverpool?

 My experience of working at University of Liverpool has been nothing but positive, in every way, and on every level. Given that the majority of my work has now been undertaken remotely, I would have to say that the best thing about working at Liverpool, is the hugely supportive, friendly, professional and proactive academic/research environment, which continues to give me a sense of belonging, as a valued member of such a prestigious institution. There is a genuine interest and keenness, to assist in supporting my career and wellbeing at University of Liverpool.

What is your favourite part of our campus and why?

Definitely Abercromby Square and Sydney Jones Library: a beautiful blend of old and not so old, both of which signify, for me, the learning of the past, for the benefit of the future.

Reflect back from Day One to now. How have you evolved personally and professionally?

I have gained far more experience and confidence in an area of archaeological research (Digital Humanities) with which I was relatively unfamiliar. Having an interdisciplinary background in research, myself, the current job has encouraged me to cast my own research net further, to include yet more disciplines and research methodologies for my ongoing and proposed future research. I also believe that working within a close-knit team dispersed physically by a pandemic, has helped me listen more, and thus learn better.

What keeps you motivated within your role?

The motivation [within my role] is two-fold: working with people and I like and respect very much, on a new project at University of Liverpool, which I completely believe in.

Any funny stories from your time with us?

Getting lost (as is my wont) in a myriad of corridors on my first day. But by the time I had eventually found the project office, I had thoroughly enjoyed chatting to so many very lovely people I had bumped into along the way!