Inquiring into Empire: Remaking the British world after 1815



Zoë Laidlaw is a Chief Investigator on ARC Discovery Project DP180100537 Inquiring into Empire: remaking the British world after 1815 (2018-2022). Inquiring into Empire examines the pivotal role of commissions of inquiry in reforming law throughout the British Empire from 1815-1840. Using traditional methods and digital tools, the project investigates the design, instantiation and impact of inquiry on colonial law, the imperial constitution and the mechanisms of imperial governance across the empire. Its outcomes include enhancement of our understanding of law reform, the historical functions of commissions of inquiry, and the legacy of British imperial rule throughout the world. Chief investigators are Lisa Ford (UNSW); Kirsten McKenzie (Sydney); David Roberts (UNE); Zoë Laidlaw (Melbourne); and Stephen Doherty (UNSW). Partner Investigators are Alan Lester (Sussex); Paul Halliday (Virginia); and Philip Stern (Duke).

Zoë Laidlaw is also Principal Investigator for three UK AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Training Grants in collaboration with Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator of Oceania, The British Museum. These grants have funded three PhD studentships exploring the little-known and under-utilised Australian collections of The British Museum and other UK-based collections of Indigenous Australian objects and images. ‘The Royal Navy and Colonial Collecting, 1820-1870’ (2014-17) was completed by Daniel Simpson (Royal Holloway University of London); ‘Picturing the Antipodes: race, image and empire in 19th-century Britain’ (2016-2020) is being completed by Mary McMahon (RHUL); and Nicola Froggatt (RHUL) is working on ‘British Ethnographic Collecting in Western Australia’ (2017-2021).

Neil Howard. The British Museum. CC BY-NC 2.0
Neil Howard. The British Museum. CC BY-NC 2.0