Dr Helen Cornish carried out her doctoral fieldwork amongst British Pagan Witches, studying the politics of historical knowledge. Much of her research was located at the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall. Her research explores how historicity is negotiated in everyday ways and is informed through myth, ritual, temporality, the landscape and material culture, as well as through the authoritative work of expert historians and archival sources. She continues working towards a longitudinal ethnographic study.
Helen Cornish teaches on Integrated Foundation Year: 'Contemporary Issues in Anthropology', and 'History and Anthropology'
She also teaches on the BA in Social & Cultural Studies in the Department of Educational Studies.
Anthropology of history, contemporary Paganism & religion, museum ethnography, material culture.
Much of her research has taken place in Cornwall. She is interested in how ideas about Cornishness and belonging are produced through folklore, festivals and material culture, deploying the past towards dynamic agendas in the present.
She also worked on a research project (UH) that explored the dyanmics of Practice as Research in academic creative departments (2008-2010); this project explored comparable themes about shifting notions of knowledge and practice.
‘“The Magical Valley”: Coming home to the Museum of Witchcraft’
Cornish, Helen. 2012. ‘“The Magical Valley”: Coming home to the Museum of Witchcraft’. In: Garry Tregidga, ed. Memory, Place and Identity: The Cultural Landscapes of Cornwall. London: Francis Boutle. ISBN 9781903427736
‘Not all singing and dancing: folk festivals in Padstow’ Anthropology Revisits the Festival
Cornish, Helen. 2015. ‘Not all singing and dancing: folk festivals in Padstow’ Anthropology Revisits the Festival. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, ISSN 0014-1844
'The Life of the Death of "The Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin": Storytelling around the Museum of Witchcraft'
Cornish, Helen. 2013. 'The Life of the Death of "The Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin": Storytelling around the Museum of Witchcraft'. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 22(1), pp. 79-97. ISSN 1755-2923
Spelling out history: transforming witchcraft past and present
Cornish, Helen. 2009. Spelling out history: transforming witchcraft past and present. Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies, 11(1), pp. 14-28. ISSN 1528-0268
‘Cunning Histories: privileging narratives in the present’
Cornish, Helen. 2005. ‘Cunning Histories: privileging narratives in the present’. History and Anthropology, 16(3), pp. 363-376. ISSN 0275-7206