Dr Elena (Ellie) Woodacre, Founder and Director
Dr Woodacre is a Reader in Renaissance History at the University of Winchester. She is a specialist in queenship and royal studies and has published extensively in this area including her monographs, The Queens Regnant of Navarre: Succession, Partnership and Politics, 1274-1512 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Queens and Queenship (ARC Humanities Press, 2021), which explores queenship in a theoretical, longue durée and global sense, and a biography of Joan of Navarre: Infanta, Duchess, Queen, Witch? (Routledge, 2022). Elena has edited several collections: Queenship in the Mediterranean (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), The Image and Perception of Monarchy in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Cambridge Scholars, 2014), Royal Mothers and their Ruling Children (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Virtuous or Villainess? The Image of the Royal Mother from the Early Medieval to the Early Modern Eras (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), A Companion to Global Queenship (ARC Medieval Press, 2018), Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and The Routledge History of Monarchy (Routledge, 2019) and most recently, she co-edited a volume of the English Consorts: Power, Influence and Dynasty collection on the later medieval queens with Joanna Laynesmith (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023). Elena is the organizer of the ‘Kings & Queens’ conference series, founder of the Royal Studies Network, Editor-in-Chief of the Royal Studies Journal and the editor of the Gender and Power in the Premodern World series (ARC Humanities Press) and the Lives of Royal Women series (Routledge). She is also leading an international project entitled ‘Examining the Resources and Revenues of Premodern European Royal Women’, with a team of colleagues in Germany, Portugal and the UK (https://www.queensresources.org/).
Dr Dustin M. Neighbors, Administrative Officer and Digital Content Manager
Dr Dustin Neighbors is a postdoctoral researcher for the Fashion History Lab project at Aalto University, as well as avisiting postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies at the University of Helsinki. He began his undergraduate studies in the southern USA and earned his BA in History and Sociology from Georgia State University. He received his MA in Early Modern History from the University of East Anglia in 2012 and immediately began his doctoral research at the University of York. Dustin’s doctoral thesis, titled “‘With my rulinge’: Agency, Queenship, and Political Culture through Royal Progresses during the Reign of Elizabeth I”, focused on royal progresses as fundamental instruments used to negotiate power between the ruler and the ruled, and craft spectacles of authority, particularly through ceremony, ritual, recreational activities, and visual displays both in public and private spaces.
He is currently working on two interconnected projects. First, through the Fashion History Lab project, Dustin is comparatively examining the material culture, dress, and textiles of early modern hunting through researching the lives ofroyal and noble figures between the 16th and 18th centuries, including August and Electress Anna of Saxony in Dresden and Queen Kristina of Sweden. Second, Dustin is cultivating a larger project on the cultural heritage, politics andpractices of early modern hunting, particularly women’s engagement with hunting, and its environmental elements in northern Europe. For this project, he has a collaboration with a UNESCO site, the par force hunting landscape in Denmark.
Dustin previously served as a postdoctoral research assistant with Historic Royal Palaces researching the royal progresses of Henry VIII. His research was the basis for the successful AHRC Network Grant for “Henry VIII on Tour: Tudor Palaces and Royal Progresses.” Additionally, he served as Chief Layout Editor for the Royal Studies Journal for four years.
Johanna Strong, Social Media Officer and Admin Assistant
Johanna Strong completed her PhD at the University of Winchester (under the supervision of Dr Ellie Woodacre and Dr Simon Sandall) looking at the ways in which Mary I was posthumously represented and the reasons behind these depictions. ‘The Making of a Queen: The Effect of Religion, National Identity, and Gender on Mary I’s Legacy in the English Historical Narrative’ examines the ways in which Mary I’s legacy was posthumously created and how this legacy is perpetuated through to the period of the English Republic. She completed her MA at Queen’s University in Canada (her home country!) under the supervision of Dr Jeffrey Collins.
Her research has been featured in two Winchester Heritage Open Days “Hampshire HistBites” episodes, on the Team Queens blog, with Tudors Dynasty, on the Tudor Society site, on the Talking Tudors podcast, and most recently in a series for Winchester Cathedral. Her first chapter was published in early 2022 in Valerie Schutte and Jessica S. Hower’s Writing Mary I: History, Historiography, and Fiction.
Johanna currently divides her time between her research and her position as a Teacher of History and Politics at Felsted School. If you’d like to follow her research, she can be found on Twitter (@jo_strong_), Instagram (@_johanna.strong_) and at her website (www.drjohannastrong.ca).
Saira Baker, Engagement Officer and Podcast Producer
Saira Baker is an historian specialising in 19th and 20th century European monarchy. She is also a researcher and producer. Her most recent producing work as been with the BBC World Service and Radio 4. She lives and works in London.
Saira began her undergraduate career at the University of Bedfordshire in 1997, completing her BA (Hons) degree in Drama with Technical Theatre. After a long career in the theatre industry under her belt it was time for a change. Pursuing her interest in the history of monarchy, Saira returned to academia, completing her BA (Hons) degree in History with the OU. Her research interests include the role of queens and crown princesses in court politics and international diplomacy. She is currently developing new research into the lives of Queen Alexandra, consort of King Edward VII and Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Additionally, Saira serves as produced of the new Royal Studies podcast series and a as digital content officer for the Royal Studies Journal.