Dr Shep’s research investigates the personal, professional, social and cultural geographies of the 19th-century book trades in the port city of Southampton. Mass industrialisation disrupted the traditional structures, economies, livelihoods and collective identity of many skilled occupations, including that of printers, bookbinders, engravers and papermakers. Global mobility and new linguistic, racial and gender demographics reshaped how print in all its diverse forms was produced, distributed, consumed and preserved.
In collaboration with Professor Mary Hammond, Dr Shep will digitally map Southampton’s book trade networks using local archives and digitised newspapers. She will also recover the little-known stories of transient book workers and the places they inhabited, sharing them through a smartphone-enabled, community-facing heritage tour, and a virtual and physical exhibition.