The Conversation

From April 2017, Josephine Lethbridge will be The Conversation’s Interdisciplinary Editor, funded by the ISRF. Josephine’s role will include working with scholars at The Conversation’s member universities, as well as past and present Fellows of the ISRF, to bring interdisciplinary social research to millions of readers worldwide.

Any ISRF Fellows wishing to pitch an idea for an article to Josephine, or simply interested in knowing more, should contact her directly at

Recent Articles

Why looking for aliens is good for society (even if there aren’t any)
Why looking for aliens is good for society (even if there aren’t any)
Ian Crawford, UCL

The search for life elsewhere in the universe is one of the most compelling aspects of modern science. Given its scientific importance, significant resources are devoted to this young science of astrobiology, ranging from rovers on Mars to telescopic observations of planets orbiting other stars.

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How activist artists on the US-Mexico border contest Donald Trump’s wall
How activist artists on the US-Mexicoborder contest Donald Trump’s wall
Claire Taylor, University of Liverpool

In recent years we have seen a rise of what has been termed “artivism”: the bringing together of art and activism. Artivists see art as a social practice. They address particular societal concerns or inequalities and involve communities and activists, as well as other artists. For many of these artivists, new media technologies have provided particularly fruitful ways to engage in this. Different groups and collectives are variously promoting “tactical media”, “electronic civil disobedience”, and “hactivism” as ways of employing digital technologies in order to make creative, artistic protests.

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Why archaeological antiquities should not be sold on the open market, full stop
Why archaeological antiquities should not be sold on the open market, full stop
Alice Stevenson, UCL

Illicit antiquities are once again in the headlines. US retailer Hobby Lobby was recently fined US$3m (£2.3m) for illegally acquiring antiquities that were most likely looted from Iraq. Collectors and museums are therefore being reminded to undertake due diligence in checking collections’ histories before purchasing cultural property.

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Why French president Emmanuel Macron is a gift for would-be sleuths everywhere
Why French president Emmanuel Macron is a gift for would-besleuths everywhere
Maxime Goergen, University of Sheffield

Newly elected French president, Emmanuel Macron, conceives of his role as that of a master purveyor of narratives and signs. His recently unveiled official portrait is just the latest in a series of symbolic stagings, which started the very night he was elected.

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Why Thoreau, born 200 years ago, has never been more important
Why Thoreau, born 200 years ago, has never been more important
Andrew Dix, Loughborough University

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” urges American transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau in Walden (1854), his account of living frugally in a log cabin near Concord, Massachusetts. “Let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.”

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Medical law expert on womb transplants, unisex pregnancy, and the ‘right to gestate’
Medical law expert on womb transplants, unisex pregnancy, and the ‘right to gestate
Amel Alghrani, University of Liverpool

Could a womb be transplanted into a transgender woman – or even cisgender (non-transgender) men? Could pregnancy soon be unisex? These questions may sound as though they come from a sci-fi novel, but this week these speculative questions were seriously posed in mainstream media.

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Josephine Lethbridge
Interdisciplinary Editor

About Josephine

Josephine Lethbridge became Interdisciplinary Editor at The Conversation after over three years as the UK’s initial Arts + Culture Editor. As well as articles on new research, she also commissioned academics to write commentary on popular culture news and to review films and art exhibitions.

Josephine has an MA in English Literature from the University in Glasgow, and since autumn 2015 has also been studying part-time towards an MSc in Science, Technology and Society at UCL, which she will complete in September 2017. She is mostly looking at the history of the idea of going to war on global warming and visions of geoengineering the climate. These diverse interests mean that she is thrilled to have become The Conversation’s first Interdisciplinary Editor.

In her spare time, Josephine enjoys going to the cinema and exploring London’s industrial history. She is also a trustee of the Queille Trust, which organises a biennial arts festival in the south of France and aims to support the careers of emerging performers. She lives in south east London.