Leonie Hannan

Leonie Hannan

Teaching Fellow in Object-Based Learning

UCL Museums & Collections

University College London
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT

+44 (0)20 7679 3657


Leonie Hannan read Modern History at Pembroke College, Oxford and studied for her Masters in ‘Material Culture: European Society, c.1350-1750’ at Royal Holloway, University of London. She completed her PhD in 2009 at the history department at Royal Holloway, University of London. Leonie is an experienced archival historian with a particular interest in women’s letter-writing in the period c.1650-1850. Leonie has worked extensively in museums and heritage and has a strong commitment to making history accessible to wider audiences. As Teaching Fellow in Object Based Learning, Leonie has been able to marry her interests in museum collections and teaching and learning in a higher education context.

Research Interests

In my role in Museums & Collections I investigate the value of using rare and fascinating museum objects housed in UCL's museums to encourage teaching and learning in higher education contexts.

As a researcher I work on eighteenth-century gender and intellectual histories with an emphasis on the evidence of material culture. My doctoral research demonstrated the critical role of letter-writing for English women’s engagement with the life of the mind and identified the home as a key site for female knowledge production in the period. My current research investigates the eighteenth-century home as a site of scientific enquiry. I am the lead researcher on the 100 Hours research project, hosted by UCL's History Department and funded by UCL's Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects.

- The social and cultural history of the long eighteenth century.

- Material history and the untapped potential of museum collections as research resources.

- The value of object based learning in universities and other education settings.

Publications and Conference Presentations


I am currently completing a monograph entitled: Interior Lives: Letter-Writing and the Life of the Mind for Women in England, c.1650-1750.

H.J. Chatterjee and L. Hannan (eds), Object-Based Learning in Higher Education (forthcoming with Ashgate, 2015).

H. Greig, J. Hamlett and L. Hannan (eds), Gender and Material Culture in Britain since 1600 (forthcoming with Palgrave in 2015).

L. Hannan, 'Women's Letters: Eighteenth-century letter-writing and the life of the mind', in Greig, Hamlett and Hannan (eds), Gender and Material Culture in Britain since 1600 (forthcoming 2015).

L. Hannan, 'Collaborative Scholarship on the Margins: an epistolary network', Women's Writing 21:3 (2014), pp. 290-315.

L Hannan, 'Women, Letter-Writing and the Life of the Mind in England, c.1650-1750', Literature & History, 22:2 (2013), pp. 1-19.

L. Hannan, R. Duhs, and H.J. Chatterjee, ‘Object Based Learning: A Powerful Pedagogy for Higher Education’, in A. Boddington, J. Boys, C. Speight (eds) Museums and Higher Education Working Together (Ashgate: Farnham, 2013), pp. 159-68.

L. Hannan, ‘Making Space: English Women, Letter-Writing and the Life of the Mind, c.1650-1750’, Women’s History Review, 21:4 (2012), pp. 589-604.

L. Hannan, Review: Women in American History to 1880: A Documentary Reader, edited by Carol Faulkner, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (Sept., 2012), pp. 458-9.

L. Hannan, ‘Whose Body Now? The Many Lives of a Museum Medical Collection’, in S. Jandl and M. Gold (eds), Academic Museums: Exhibitions and Education (Edinburgh, 2012), pp. 376-401.

Recent Conference & Seminar Papers

2013 'English Women and the Domestic Practice of Self-Education, c.1650-1750', Educating Women Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University  
2012 ‘Studying the Materiality of Women’s Letter Writing in the ‘Digital Era’’, Writing Materials: women of letters from Enlightenment to modernity Conference, Kings College London and the V&A Museum  
2012 ‘Learning across the Lifecycle: an eighteenth-century case study of female intellectual life’ - Social History Society Conference, University of Sussex  
2011 ‘A Desire for Learning: Reason and Emotion in English Women’s Letter-Writing of the Long Eighteenth Century’ BSECS Annual Conference. Winner of the President’s Prize (for originality, rigour and presentation)  
2010 ‘Letter-Writing and the Transmission of Female Intellectual Identities in England, c.1650-1750’ – Engendering Gender, University of Exeter  
2010 ‘The Role of the Home in Shaping Adult Women’s Educational Experiences in England, c.1650-1750’ – Social History Society Conference, Glasgow  
2010 ‘Interior Lives: the Eighteenth-Century Home as a Site for Female Intellectual Thought’ - British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Annual Conference speaking on a panel with Dr S. Whyman and Dr H. French  
‘Domestic Imaginings: the Mental and Physical Spaces of Women’s Letter-Writing, 1650-1750’ - Women’s History Network Annual Conference, Women, Gender and Political Spaces: Historical Perspectives  
2009 ‘Real and imagined space: women, letter writing and the life of the mind in England, c.1650-1750’ - British History in the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar, Institute of Historical Research  
2008 '“Then I gett a little release and run to my deare Book”: Women, Letters and the Life of the Mind in England, 1650-1750’ - Women’s History Seminar, IHR  

Public Engagement

Recent Public Engagement Activities

2014 'Collections' on Paperweight Radio (with Kate Smith), Resonance FM (aired June 2014)
2014 '10 researchers, 10 objects, 100 hours' (with Kate Smith), Festival of the Arts, University College London
2013 Museums Showoff, Grant Museum of Zoology, for the Bloomsbury Festival
2013 'Learning with Objects' Exhibition, North Cloisters, University College London
2011 Personal Statements & University Applications – a debate: recorded at Loftus Studios for BBC Radio 4 (aired October 2011)
Two ‘My East End’ Day Workshops, on the house and home in Victorian London and the history of childhood, held at the Geffrye Museum and the Museum of Childhood respectively and organised by Birkbeck, University of London
‘Love, Letters and Longing in the Eighteenth Century’: public lecture at the Geffrye Museum for ‘Love Week’