Lauren Working is a historian and literary scholar at the University of York. Her research explores the influence of English colonialism on the culture and politics of Tudor and Stuart London. Her first book, The Making of an Imperial Polity: Civility and America in the Jacobean Metropolis (2020), was published by Cambridge University Press, and won the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize in 2021. She has published academic work on topics including intoxication, plantation archaeology, female agents, and the colonial gaze in a cavalier poem about Madagascar. Her chapter on ‘Material Traffic’ will be published in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Travel, Identity, and Race in Early Modern England, 1550 – 1700.
Lauren’s public engagement work with museums has led to several collaborative projects. ‘Middle Temple to Manoa’, a four-month exhibition at London’s Middle Temple Library, featured new pieces by the globemaker Loraine Rutt. The exhibition will move to Oxford’s Bodleian Library in 2023. With the World Museum in Liverpool, Lauren worked with curators and the award-winning poet Sarah Howe on ‘I, too, am a Survivor’, an immersive exhibition about migration and shipwrecked porcelain that culminated in the permanent re-display of the gallery’s Chinese ceramics in 2021. Lauren freelances for the National Portrait Gallery, and sits on the museum’s Colonial and Imperial Histories advisory board. As a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker, she has appeared on BBC Arts & Ideas to discuss topics ranging from still life painting to the Mayflower anniversary; her episodes of ‘The Essay’ include ‘Ruffs in Jamestown’ and ‘Boy With a Pearl Earring’.
She is currently finishing an introduction to Shakespeare’s The Tempest for Oxford World’s Classics.