Dr Nicola Thomas

Research-led learning

Name Dr Nicola Thomas
Email Nicola.J.Thomas@exeter.ac.uk
Position Senior Lecturer in Human Geography
College

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Using archives to facilitate research-inspired and inquiry-led learning

Nicola Thomas is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography and among her research specialisms are Cultural Historical Geography, the Creative Economy and Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies. She is also Director of Research Engagement and Impact for the Department of Geography.

Nicola is a firm believer in bringing original archival material into her teaching on British colonial power in Jamaica, for example.

She says, “By really getting into seeing how we generate new knowledge through these sorts of materials and by analysing archives you immediately get an insight into how the knowledge that you might be reading in an article or textbook [has been produced].”

“You can read the journal article which someone has written about the way in which colonial power works and you can see how [the author of the article] uses this document, but in the University we have the originals. We are able to go into the Special Collections and are able to open up the ledgers, unpack them and to see the writing of the colonial officer, who  just sat down and took the inventory of the enslaved  people in the early 18th century.”

“There is something about that which gives you a real physical connection to the atrocities that happened on those plantations. It’s a very affective and emotional connection, but also an effective way of getting people to think about what colonial power entailed.”

Aim 3: Research-inspired, inquiry-led learning

To extend the opportunities for students to learn in innovative ways through their own research and inquiry in each year of study

Using archives in research

"By really getting into seeing how we generate new knowledge...you immediately get an insight".

The Creative Economy

"many students will go and work in [the Creative Economy] and it’s also an area which they connect to all the time..."

Technology and employability

"Technology is part of the student experience as they move forward into the workplace"