While research is my most valued passion, bringing it to people is a very happy side-effect. As you can see on the 'About Me' page, I lecture at various academic conferences around the continental United States. While bringing my research into academia is very important, bringing it to the average person is also important.
Historically, educated academics have been thought to be odd or quirky because their research is not accessible to the average person. The following are ways that I have brought my academic research to more mainstream - and some not so mainstream - communities.
As any scholar can tell you, funding research is one of the most difficult part of doing research. In order to try to offset the costs of doing my research and traveling to events / conferences to present said research, I make jewelry, paint, and crochet. My website can be found here: www.etsy.com/shop/nikisbobbles
Beginning in 2017, I started doing different living history portrayals with the group Bloody Historical. Generally, my characters run towards early 18th century maritime medicine. For these roles, remedies from appropriate primary sources are created and then the theory behind their usage is explained to the public with wit and humor.
Recently, I also started portraying a wife on the homefront during WWII.
One of my favorite, non-academic, groups to lecture to is definitely the steampunk community. Based in an alternative Victorian history, as though the industrial revolution was done with steam, Steampunk is a wonderful conglomeration of history, fiction, and those who pursue them as academic, professional, and hobby interests.
"All her life, Abigail Jones has been in the pinnacle of colonial American society. But, when her house is maliciously destroyed, she becomes a camp follower of the Continental Army. Ill-prepared or trained for such a life, she finds friends in the medical community. Before long, she is thrust into a world of politics and disease, where loyalty is a preciously rare commodity. Using her wits and personality, she treads the fine line between the intentions of the officers and the suffering of the soldiers, all while trying to fit in." [From the back of the book]
Notable figures such as: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, and the Marquis de Lafayette weave their way through this story, as Abigail grows from domestic housewife to military trained nurse. Along the way, she also learns how to survive in a world of men, and learns that while some of them want to help her and see her thrive others do not. Unsure of her future and slowly forgetting her past, she makes her way through uncharted territories of friends and foes. All the while learning the ways of medicine and surgery under the watchful and mentoring eye of Samuel, the head of the infirmary of the Continental Army.
This book presents the gritty, dirty, but well intentioned story behind the medicine of the American Revolution. While the story is technically fiction, the facts presented regarding the medicine and surgery are not. The novella includes a bibliography which shows the author's research of primary source materials, care for acceptable word choices from that period, and respect for the work done by fellow historians, and is available in print and Kindle format on Amazon.com.
Although I love 18th century scholarly medicine more than anything else, there are other times when an earlier costume is necessary.
This is my female representation of the outfit of the plague doctor of early - mid 17th century England.
At the time, the doctors were male, and wore garments made of either leather or beeswax brushed wool. The mask would have sweet smelling herbs in the beak in order to protect the doctors from foul smelling air.
My costume is made primarily of cotton and linen. The boots, gloves, and mask are the only parts made of leather. In this picture, the glass eyes have been removed from my mask in order to assist with breathing, and so that they wouldn't fog.