Teresa Cairns

I am a researcher, film maker and life/oral historian; I also work as a consultant and trainer.

My film and sound work developed out of the narratives I co-produce in my research and evaluation work, and was a natural shift from written to spoken and visual forms. I am also part of a volunteer Reminiscence collective, CreatingTimelines, who create reminiscence events with communities and in sheltered housing across Brighton; this work has evolved through climbingthewall as In the Object…A Memory.

My Doctoral research explored working class experiences of education during the interwar period of the 1920s and 30s in England, through the life story narratives of correspondents to the Mass Observation Archive, University of Sussex Library. My academic research continues through my ongoing project exploring experiences of Menopause; I commissioned a Mass Observation Directive about mid-life Transitions: the Menopause, with funding from the Feminist Review Trust and a British Academy research award.

I co-write a blog about the politics of food growing & land access; http://hortusludi.wordpress.com/

I also have my own blog that acts as a notebook of reflections on the research process and a place to capture issues emerging from the film and evaluation work, as well as occasional personal pieces: https://anepistolaryproject.wordpress.com/

One of my posts looked at the shifting UK policy framework impacting on the poor [http://wp.me/p1qbiL-3V ] was reblogged by GuerillaPolicy & included in their best welfare posts of 2014: http://www.guerillapolicy.org/welfare/2014/12/18/the-best-welfare-blogs-of-2014/

I taught apprentices and secretarial students, including the first YOPS/TOPS trainees, on Tyneside in the 1970s. I later worked in the Adult Literacy Movement in London, with ex-prisoners, homeless/hostel dwellers and with Travellers; I collaborated with organisations such as the Maternity Alliance in Whitechapel & the Patwa Project to develop language & literacy skills to support advocacy work amongst women across ethnicities. During the 1990s I taught across the South East for the WEA, the OU & in University Continuing Education. I now work with organisations developing participatory methodologies for evaluation and research, alongside ethnographic use of film. The aim is to work as partners in co-production of knowledge, to provoke critical thinking and develop personal and organisational practice.


I use Twitter for conversations, news, to source information, make connections, share ideas and for inspiration: @DrTeresaCairns