Photo of Professor David Houston Jones

Professor David Houston Jones

Public engagement

Collaboration with those who benefit from research, and with non-academic practitioners, is at the heart of my work. I have worked with artists, surgeons, charities, school pupils and teachers, and my work on facial difference has led to collaborations with the charities Changing Faces (CEO: James Partridge) and Saving Faces as part of a project led by the world-leading surgeon Prof Bernard Devauchelle. I co-curated the exhibition Faces of Conflict at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (2015) and in this context worked with the Hunterian Museum, the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Historial de la Grande Guerre. We ran schools sessions in tandem with the exhibition, involving staff and students from King Edward Sixth College, West Exe School and St David’s School, Exeter.

In consultation with teachers working in the South West I worked with Dr Marjorie Gehrhardt and Dr Catriona Pennell, both CI on 1914FACES2014, in order to produce new educational resources on facial difference and the facially injured soldiers of the First World War. A pilot study in which the resources were used in the classroom ran at Penrice Community College, St Austell, Cornwall in July 2014, and the resources are now freely available online for academic purposes.

During the project it was my privilege to work with artists including René Apallec, Eleanor Crook, Mark Gilbert and Paddy Hartley. Paddy Hartley was artist in residence on 1914FACES2014 at the University of Exeter, a collaboration which led to the publication of Paddy Hartley: Of Faces and Facades (2015). I continue to work with Paddy in the context both of facial difference and of the medical archive.

I took part in the conversation series at The Print Room, Notting Hill, as part of the Beckett in London Festival in May 2016, participating in a discussion of Becket and the Arts: Texts for Nothing, a conversation with Dr Derval Tubridy and Dr Sarah Hayden on the occasion of the remaking of O’Doherty’s Hello Sam, Redux at The Print Room.

I acted as academic advisor to the Winter Warmed theatre festival (January-Feb 2013, dir. Richards), and participated in public discussion sessions held at the Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter. Entitled Fervent Thoughts, the sessions focused on comedy and performance and theatre and installation art. The festival, which combined productions of well-known plays by Samuel Beckett with a range of scripted and devised work by professional and amateur groups, was conceived in dialogue with community groups including Clyst Vale Community College, Exeter College and Uncommon Players.

Contribution to discipline

I am a member of the editorial board of the journal Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, and sit on the advisory board for e-France: an on-line journal of French Studies. I am also a member of the International Advisory Board, Reinvention: a Journal of Undergraduate Research. I was French section co-editor for The Literary Encyclopedia (2006-12), and was editor, Current Research (Society for French Studies) between 2002 and 2006. I have peer reviewed for the journals Miranda, Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature, Modern Philology, Twentieth-Century Literature and the Journal of Beckett Studies.


In the context of the 1914FACES2014 project, I have recently spoken on contemporary art and representing the face on ITV West Country and BBC Radio Devon.