Project Team

Project leads

Helen Smith

Project Lead - Print

Helen Smith is Professor of Renaissance Literature and Head of the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. With Rachel Cowgill and Kate Giles she leads the Street Life project, with a focus on letterpress printing and its histories, as well as the project's temporary gallery, museum and press.

Helen is excited to be bringing a historic press back to Coney Street, and finding ways to reconnect with the City's rich and longstanding traditions of craft printing and design.

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Kate Giles

Project Lead - Heritage

Kate Giles is Co-Director of Heritage360, a research unit specialising in the research and interpretation of historic sites and buildings in the UK and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology. With Rachel Cowgill and Helen Smith she leads the StreetLife project, with a focus on understanding the archaeology and architecture of its built heritage, and together with Louise Hampson (Archives Lead) to find new ways of sharing these stories with the public.

Kate is particularly interested in how a better understanding of its past can help residents, property owners, planners and other stakeholders make informed decisions about the future(s) of Coney Street, through workshops co-designed with York Civic Trust - one of StreetLife's main project partners, and how this can provide a template for other historic High Streets in the UK. 

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Rachel Cowgill

Project Lead - Music

Rachel Cowgill is Professor of Music and University Research Theme Champion for Creativity at the University of York. She is a cultural-historical musicologist and has published widely on music in Britain, Mozart opera, and performance history. She also has expertise in community digital archiving, and is PI for the AHRC-funded project InterMusE: The Internet of Musical Events.

Rachel is interested in how the soundscapes of Coney Street have changed over time, and the key role played by venues in the social and cultural fabric of the city.

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Management team

Hub Assistants

Venue Staff

Eighteen part-time Hub Assistants worked at the StreetLife Hub throughout 2022 and 2023 to welcome visitors to our events and exhibitions. Many have been inspired by their experiences working with StreetLife to pursue further work and study in the heritage sector.

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Laura Oxford


Laura is the Centre Administrator for CSCC and Heritage360. She supports the day-to-day running of the office, manages the Centre social media accounts and helps with finances and procurement. She is providing support for the Heritage Strand of the StreetLife project.

Laura is looking forward to seeing the many stories of Coney Street come together to provide a narrative that adds meaningful depth, diversity, and richness to the history of York.

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Lizzy Holling

Project Manager

Lizzy Holling is the Project Manager of StreetLife and will oversee this innovative, collaborative project. She has studied and written on material culture and worked in marketing, including for urban renewal projects.

Lizzy is interested to discover how the vibrant history of Coney Street can be used to aid its future. She is particularly excited to invite local communities and visitors to explore the past and present of letterpress printing.

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Thomas Houlton

Project Evaluation Officer

Thomas is the Project Evaluation Officer for StreetLife, working with the Economic Development Team to record and monitor the outputs and outcomes for the project. He is an Associate Lecturer in the School of English and Related Literature at the University of York, and has experience in arts administration in institutions in the UK and USA, and as an events manager at the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence, at the University of Sussex.

Thomas is excited to see how StreetLife engages with the communities of York, allowing its past to be rediscovered and its future to be shaped. His recently published book discusses monuments, public art, and decolonisation, and he is hoping to take this work forward into considering what new histories Coney Street can represent in its public spaces and artistic collaborations.

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Vicky Oulton

Heritage Project Manager

Vicky is the Project Manager for CSCC and Heritage 360 providing project, financial management and contract support to the Centre’s research and consultancy projects. Vicky is the project co-ordinator for the Heritage Strand on StreetLife.

As a York resident Vicky is excited about the hidden stories of the people who lived and worked in Coney Street that will be brought to life and shared as part of this project.

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Vicky Wren

Programme Manager

Vicky Wren is a Programme Manager within the Economic Development Team. She has scoped, managed and delivered several business support programmes through the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and Rural Development Programme for England. Her expertise on complex projects has been brought in to contract manage the delivery of the StreetLife project.

Vicky is a York resident and plays french horn in the community band Bargestra, part of The Arts Barge project. She is most excited about bringing to life redundant spaces on Coney Street for the arts sector and learning more about the heritage of the area.

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Research team

Andy Egerton


Andy Egerton is a Research Assistant for the music strand of the StreetLife project, having so far produced the "Love it or Hate it? The Willow Legacy" exhibition and "A Queer Walk of York" heritage trail. As a cultural and social historian focused on queer studies of early modern history, Andy has written essays such as the perception of the performative gender of castrati and women cast in Glück's Orpheus ed Euridice. Andy is currently interested in efforts to queer museum curation, rendering exhibits inclusive and accessible, and initiatives for community archiving.

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Claire Smith


Claire Smith is a Research Associate on the heritage strand of StreetLife, assisting with developing workshops in partnership with York Civic Trust. Claire’s background is in built heritage management, particularly fostering community participation. Claire is currently a project manager for St Thomas’ church in York.

Claire loves exploring the reuse of historic buildings, and hopes to inspire new ideas for Coney Street’s future.

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Hannah Shakespeare


Hannah Shakespeare has just completed an undergraduate degree in English and Related Literature at the University of York, and will soon be commencing a masters degree in publishing in London. Hannah is fascinated by both modern and historical publishing processes, and is particularly interested in the way that literature meets art in the use of traditional printing methods. Through this internship, Hannah hopes to learn more about the methods and history of letterpress printing, as well as how it connects to the worlds of contemporary publishing and fine art. 

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Isabel Lindsay


Isabel is a recent graduate of BA English at University of York. Interested in the arts herself, interning at StreetLife has taught her so much about the craft of printing in such a short time… so much so she wishes to take it up wherever she goes next! 

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J. R. Carpenter

Writer in Residence

J. R. Carpenter is an award-winning artist, writer, researcher and educator with extensive experience working with libraries, archives, and community arts organisations. She is the author of five books and numerous digital writing projects which have been presented in museums, galleries, and festivals around the world.

As Writer in Residence, J. R. will engage with daily life on Coney Street past and present through a daily practice of short-form writing.

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Jennie England


Jennie England is a Research Associate on the heritage strand of StreetLife, and is working with York Civic Trust to deliver workshops. Jennie is a medieval historian, and also works in the heritage sector developing education and outreach programmes. 

Jennie has a passion for finding engaging ways to talk about history, and is looking forward to sharing new stories from Coney Street's past.

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John Jenkins


John Jenkins is a Research Associate with Heritage360, looking in particular the Guildhall and Mansion House, and the importance of Coney Street in the historic governance of the city of York. He teaches medieval religious history at the University of York, and has published work on pilgrimage and medieval saints' cults.

John is particularly looking forward to researching the many lavish banquets hosted by the city since the medieval period, and thinking about ways of bringing them to life for a modern audience.

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Kathy Davies


Dr Kathy Davies is a researcher supporting the ‘York in Print’ strand of the Street Life Project. Kathy is an historian of modern Britain, Ireland, and empire, and the British press. She is interested in the role of newspapers in local and national life, and in shaping the historical record.  

Kathy is excited to explore the newspapers printed on Coney Street over the last 200 years and engage York residents with these histories through creative experiences.

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Katie Wycliffe


Katie Wycliffe is a Music Research Trainee for the StreetLife Project. Having just graduated from the University of York with an MA in Musicology, Katie is using her research skills to investigate the historic music venues, businesses, and key figures relating to Coney Street's (and York’s) musical heritage.

Katie is most looking forward to designing and leading musical workshops for members of the public which will not only teach them about Coney Street’s musical history, but will demonstrate that anybody can get involved with composing and performing music.

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Lizzie Hodgson


Lizzie Hodgson is a Research Assistant on the Street Life project, assisting with the Heritage Research strand. She has previously worked at the York Mansion House where she developed her knowledge of the civic history of York.

Lizzie is keen to discover the stories of individuals who lived, worked and worshiped in Coney Street and help communities and businesses today feel more connected with its history.

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Louise Hampson

Lead Researcher

Louise Hampson is the Heritage Research & Partnerships Coordinator for CSCC and Heritage 360, and is the research lead on the Heritage strand of the project. Originally an archivist and museum curator by training, her expertise lies in stained glass (the subject of the PhD) and manuscripts, with a particular interest in material culture.

Louise is interested in how people connect with and enjoy history and ways to broaden that engagement. She is most excited about uncovering the untold medieval Jewish story of Coney Street.

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Lucy Barker & Sonia Sandhu

Artists in Residence

Lucy is an interdisciplinary artist based in Bradford. The connective thread between her projects is the heartfelt desire to engage a wide range of people in creative processes ­– as spectators, participants, and co-producers. Through her projects she strives to offer fresh perspectives that inspire audiences and participants to make positive personal and social change. On the Street Life project, she is a Research Support Associate on the music strand, leading on filming and documenting the activities of the project for impact, evaluation and the creation of training videos for the toolkits; plus reaching out to stakeholders and partners for the creative-sector workshops; and devising immersive experiences. Lucy works with her project assistant Sonia Sandhu, herself a Bradford based creative.

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Nick Gill

Printer in Residence

Nick Gill is a hot metal typesetter, typefounder, letterpress printer, and the owner of Effra Press & Typefoundry. His work as a letterpress printer began fourteen years ago with Phil Abel’s Hand and Eye Letterpress in London.

In 2019, Nick joined Thin Ice Press as a part-time printer-in-residence to offer hands-on letterpress training, teach workshops and oversee the Press’s printing projects. For the StreetLife project, Nick is looking forward to bringing printing back to Coney Street and engaging with visitors.

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Stephen Lonsdale


Stephen Lonsdale is a research assistant within the Heritage strand of the Streetlife Project. He is currently on leave from his PhD at York, where he is studying medieval moated sites in Yorkshire; he also teaches undergrads within the Archaeology department and works as a freelance archaeologist and historian. His expertise lies in settlement and landscape research and the archaeology of Christianity, especially within the Roman and Medieval periods.

He is most excited about Coney Street's rich philosophical and religious heritage, especially the church of St Martin le Grand, the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and the Medieval Jewish Community.

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Vera Ratnikova


Vera Ratnikova is a Research Trainee at StreetLife. They have completed a BA in History at the University of York, and an MSt in History at the University of Oxford before returning to York. For StreetLife, they are assisting the Print strand with researching the history of early printing and newspapers in York.

Vera is particularly interested in learning how printing on Coney Street has shaped the wider cultures of sociability and leisure in eighteenth-century York.

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Technical team

James Osborn

Technical Developer

James Osborn is the Digital Technology Specialist at Heritage360. He started his career as an archaeologist after studying at Bournemouth University. After completing further studies at the University of York he specialised in 3D visualisation.

James is interested in how 3D visualisations can enhance user experience and can be used as an analytical tool by academics and practitioners.

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Patrick Gibbs

Technical Lead

Patrick Gibbs is Head of Technology at Heritage360. His expertise ranges from web design and mobile technologies through to 3D visualisation, digital design and coding. He also teaches digital user experience design at the University of York.

Patrick is interested in how digital technologies can help visitors to museums, heritage sites and historic cities better understand and enjoy their surroundings.

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