Root is officially launched!

Wondering what I’ve been up to since I’ve moved on from KSU? I’ve had a big, exciting new project up my sleeve and am so excited to finally share it!

Root scan 1

My new business, Root, uses my background in food history, curation, visual arts, libraries, social science, teaching, and more to build community using food as a medium for learning and connection.

Starting next Monday, folks who subscribe to the monthly service will receive weekly historical recipes and stories. Plus, I’ll be launching online workshops, in-person classes and community events, collaborative art projects, and more. Subscribers get discounted first access to all of these, plus access to an exclusive Facebook community and discounts on one on one historical menu consultations with me.

You can learn more about Root here, and more about the monthly subscription here. Plus, make sure to check out my press release, which I’ve created to celebrate the launch! Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you, and I’m so excited to share this new journey with you!


New adventures

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front, but not because it’s been quiet over here! A few weeks ago I decided to resign from my position as a rare books curator. I love the work I did and the collection I worked with, but it was time for a change, so after some soul searching, I’m setting out in a new direction. I have a really big business announcement coming later this year, but at the moment I’m finishing my book manuscript for Afternoon Tea: A History (due 3/1!) and offering individual consulting for academic colleagues looking for some guidance as they do their own career-related soul searching (one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my post-PhD life has been articulating what I want and identifying transferable skills to get me there, but now that I’ve done it I hope I can help others too!)

I’m very excited about all the great things I have in store this year, and am excited to see where the collection I helped shape is going next. Prior to leaving, I initiated work on the museum’s next exhibit, which is on the Harlem Renaissance (a topic near to my heart). Specifically, it is on Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston, but it touches on the experiences of discrimination faced by all Black women writers at this time. It’s still in its early stages so I’m not sure how it will change as it develops, but I’m hoping that lots of folks will go see it and learn about the really incredible Harlem Renaissance-related collection that Mr. Williams built, and to learn more about two of my favorite authors.

Life beyond work continues to evolve in some exciting ways too–traveling to see friends (or hosting traveling friends), building a garden full of native edible and medicinal plants, and adopting one of the neighborhood community cats.

That’s it for updates for now–here’s to an adventurous 2018!

How’s the job search going? (Every academic’s favorite question)

The academic job search process is…complicated, to put it mildly, especially since many programs don’t prepare folks to think about their work outside of the context of one (or maybe two) career paths. There are many, many studies and media articles related to the lack of tenure-track positions, postdocs, etc., and it can feel (really) overwhelming. I’ve gone through the academic job search in tandem with alt-ac and non-ac searches multiple times, and it has given me some great tools, both in terms of practical resources (e.g. which jobs databases I like best) and a healthy perspective about all the great things academics CAN do with our degrees beyond working as tenure-track faculty.

My cat (Gir) making the same face I made during most of the job hunt.

As some of my readers know, I’ve been doing one-on-one career coaching informally for some time. With the new year, I’ve decided to refocus on this work, after hearing the concerns of many fellow academics whose searches have them feeling unmoored and frustrated, and unsure how to begin feeling unstuck. My approach is highly personalized and collaborative–I tailor my recommendations to each person’s situation and together we come up with a set of goals and actionable items related to those goals.

The thing many clients struggle with most is the feeling that they’ve somehow failed (I get it, I felt the same way too when I started searching for TT jobs). I’m here to remind you that 1. you haven’t and 2. Your degree and yourself still have immeasurably great value no matter what career direction you choose. My goal with each client is to help them identify what matters to them in a career, and how to get over the paralysis of the job search to start moving in that direction.

The thing to keep in mind during the job hunt: It’s your career and happiness, not anyone else’s!

Stay tuned for some exciting updates, and if you want to talk with me more about how we could work together, get in touch!




Show in Brindisi, Italy

If you follow my Instagram account, you may have seen me gush about sending my work off to my first international group show in Brindisi. I just got the initial photos back from the event, and it looks amazing: Riccardo did a fantastic job curating the show and wrangling us artists and our work (and handling all the international shipping drama). You can see the photos, including the press conference and opening night here!

It’s up through early January, so if you’re in the area go take a look (and let me know what you think!)

Pairing Rare Books with Beer!


All the books laid out on the table ready to go! (Before you panic, I had everyone leave their beers on their tables before they came up)

Yesterday evening I partnered with The Homestead Atlanta and Eventide Brewing to host May’s Curiosity Club, where I did a rare books and beer pairing. It was a lot of fun, and everyone was really engaged. Like a lot of the rare book events I do, I like to talk for a little bit to give people an overview and then let them come up and look at the books and ask questions (which is always more fun than just listening to a lecture).

For the pairing, I used Eventide’s four flagship brews as the starting point. I grabbed their tasting notes, and started to think about how those might relate to rare books. One of the big things I emphasize is that the book is a technology, and one that has developed considerably over time. If we look at the book as a physical object as well as a transmitter of written knowledge, we can see that development (not only is this approach really useful, but since many patrons haven’t thought of the book as a technology before it also is a lot of fun to watch them discover a new way of thinking about books for the first time!)

Continue reading “Pairing Rare Books with Beer!”

Where’s Julia?

Interested in seeing my work IRL (or virtually?) I have a couple events coming up this month where you can do just that:

May 17, Eventide Brewing, Atlanta: As a part of HomesteadATL and Eventide Brewing‘s Curiosity Club series, I’ll be presenting a new spin on the beer and book pairing. Using Eventide’s brews, I’ve mapped out the history of the book by matching the tasting notes of the beers to the “tasting notes” (physical attributes) of the books, and lined them up to show how books as a technology have evolved. Come have a beer, hold a book (not while holding the beer, please), and learn about book history in a new way!
You can register here and find the Facebook event here.

May 23, webinar: I’ll be presenting Not So Rare Any More: Reaching New Special Collections Audiences Through Unlikely Collaborations as a part of NFAIS’ Lunch and Learn series. This half hour talk will give a run down of my process of identifying new communities to engage with, and the process of developing programming tailored to different community interests.

Common Good classes: This month is the first time I bring rare books in to teach along with the folks at Common Good, who teach college-level courses to incarcerated scholars at a state prison. These are private classes, but I’m so excited to finally meet the scholars and use our books to support their learning, that I wanted to gush about it here!
If you haven’t heard of Common Good before, they’re doing amazing things and I am consistently impressed by their work (check out, for example, the mindblowing projects shared at this conference).

Zine Workshop for Pique Art Gallery

Hi all!

A while back I did a zine workshop as a part of an exhibition at Pique Art Gallery in Covington, KY. I wanted to share the archived version for those who are interested in (re)watching it. Full transcript for those who prefer text will be coming soon!

Colonial England and Afternoon Tea

While we’re on the subject of updates, here’s a post from my other blog to tell you a bit about the book(s) I’m working on right now. I’m extra excited because both allow me to deep dive into a subject area I’m curious about, while also giving me a chance to do some food history research AND use the historic cookery books I’ve been acquiring for work!