I studied art/architectural history and theology/biblical studies at Trinity College, Dublin. I then studied for my MSt in Medieval History at Oxford before starting my DPhil, which I completed in 2016. After this, I was a lecturer in the Art History department at the University of York for two years, where I enjoyed the opportunity to teach in the Minster, and I still enjoy teaching on site when possible. I received the Hawksmoor Medal in architectural history in 2013. My book (Plan and Elevation: Richard of Saint Victor and Medieval Architectural Drawing) will be published by MIT Press in 2021.
My research revolves around the intellectual properties of medieval visual culture (1000-1400) and the way in which contemporary people understood their world and the art/architecture they created. To date, I have primarily researched the development of architectural drawings in theological contexts and the invention of plans and elevations as a means to represent historical buildings. These drawings appear decades before the growth of technical drawings, and suggest that certain techniques of representation enjoyed popularity outside of building sites. My current research examines the role of medieval churches as platforms for teaching people about Christian history by means of a complicated system of symbolism embedded within the building and its individual parts. More generally, I am interested in the history of technology, medieval manuscripts, Jewish history, and the trans-national migration of ideas.
I appeared on several radio shows in the aftermath of the fire in Notre-Dame Cathedral. I have also worked with several heritage institutions to develop visitor experiences to medieval buildings.