Post-disciplinary and Experimental Glass Group

Newcastle University is home to a growing community of glass researchers sharing ideas and practice, based in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and known as PEGG. The community, comprising undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, is training itself to think in a fresh ‘post-disciplinary’ way about glass and other vitreous materials – developing new research approaches that blend the theoretical, the practical, the analytical, the reflexive and the sensory to enrich understanding of the social dimensions of past technology and production.  Individuals bring their personal interests and knowledge to bear within the community’s collective multi-dimensional view of how to define and tackle old and new questions about vitreous materials technology and use, and their place in people’s lives.

Central to PEGG’s work is a vibrant culture of experiment which the University has a wealth of resources to support:

  • Dedicated space at Jarrow Hall open-air museum – a unique outdoor resource for experimental reconstruction of glass production technologies and practices and community engagement;
  • Excellent links with the National Glass Centre in Sunderland and the enormous variety of creative glass practice hosted there;
  • State-of-the-art facilities in the Wolfson Laboratory including hi-spec flameworking torches, a fully programmeable Vecstar furnace enabling controlled firing atmospheres, an annealing furnace, ready access to a wide range of glassmaking chemicals and raw ingredients, optical microscopy, thermocouples, portable XRF with relevant standard reference materials, sample preparation facilities, and ground-breaking development of use-wear analysis techniques as applied to glass;
  • EXARN, the Newcastle Experimental Archaeology Research Network led and managed by  research students in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology – promoting the study of material culture and ancient technologies through a varied programme of experimental archaeology engaging with all materials, and promoting the study of cross-craft interaction as well as material specialisms including glass.

These resources enable the exact following of recipes and accurate reproduction of all conditions for the making and working of glass, from precisely replicable scientific conditions to studies of the experience of operating a wood-fired furnace over week-long firing episodes.

PEGG community and activities: