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Interview with the quest scientist Siobhan Cooke

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Interview with the quest scientist Siobhan Cooke

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We asked our fellow Dr. Siobhan Cooke what project she is working on at the DSM and what her relationship to the sea is. Cooke will be conducting research for the DSM from April 2021 to March 2022. She was born on Orkney and still works there as a collections manager in a marine and natural history museum.

 

What was your motivation for applying for a fellowship as a visiting scientist at the German Maritime Museum?

I was very interested in the LIFTE Project, and Orkney and Shetland’s early modern trading links with Europe, and their role of the islands in that network.  The Fellowship offered an exciting opportunity to be involved in this project in a great research and museum environment.

 

Is there a maritime connection in your life?

I was born in Orkney and spent my early years on a very small island named Wyre so spent my childhood surrounded by the sea – I even had to get a boat to and from school.  This connection to the sea influenced my later research interests, my hobbies such as freediving and paddle boarding, and my career path in a small independent maritime and natural history museum, Stromness Museum.

 

Which project did you advance during the fellowship at the German Maritime Museum? 

Looking In From The Edge(LIFTE), a three year German-British research project. My role in this project centres on the exhibition which will take place in Germany and in Orkney.

 

What do you find exciting about this topic/project?

This project provides and exciting opportunity to explore the impact of international trade on north-west Europe’s peripheral communities during the early modern period – a topic which has been little-researched until now. 

 

To what extent has the pandemic influenced or affected your research work?

Due to the pandemic I have been unable to travel to Bremerhaven thus far.  Technologies such as Zoom have been essential in allowing me to work with the team at German Maritime Museum during the fellowship to develop the exhibition. I very much hope I will be able to come to the museum in the Spring.  

Siobhan Cooke PHD on the beach of Orkney.

Photo: Dr. Siobhan Cooke

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