As a life-long historical re-enactor, historical research has been central to my practice. Over the past year the focus of my research has shifted away from the English Civil War and its landmarks, to an investigation of the way in which my family’s involvement in the Sealed Knot has influenced the way I understand the past and present. From researching Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave and We’re Here Because We’re Here, it became apparent that the use of interviews would help begin my investigation into historical re-enactment and its connection to my practice as an artist. This lead me to take an auto-ethnographic approach, analysing my personal experiences of this unusual hobby and examining what my role within re-enactment entails. My position as an ‘insider’ has allowed me to build up a body of work documenting the unseen and hidden aspects of re-enactment groups and to consider how this extended family steps between contemporary reality and the 17th Century. My research and practice during this reflection has led me to question shifting identities, particularly the cross-dressing for female re-enactors, and how my view of contemporary culture has possibly been influenced by my upbringing in a parliamentary army within the Sealed Knot Society.
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