Michael Shanks

Some positions and roles

2018 Honorary Doctorate, Roskilde University, for expertise in Experiential Learning and Education Futures – a welcome acknowledgement from this wonderful university of my commitment to radically student-centered learning.

2017-2020 Academic Advisor and Board Member, Historic Vehicle Association of America.

2016- Faculty member, Center for Design Research, School of Engineering, Stanford – Larry Liefer’s great research group.

2014 Member, Advisory Board, Humanities Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin.

2013-2015 Board Member, Palo Alto History Museum – building a museum for the city.

2013-2019 Research Fellow (Visiting), Durham University (UK).

2010-2015 Board Member, – a non-profit dedicated to sponsoring Roman Archaeology.

2011-2015 CoDirector and founding faculty, The Revs Program at Stanford – connecting the past, present, and future of the automobile – a project in the archaeology of the contemporary past – because history matters.

2010-2013 Professor of Archaeology (Visiting), Durham University (UK) – pursuing the archaeology of the NE of England with Richard Hingley, David Petts, and David Mason.

2010-2013 Professor of Humanities (Visiting), Humanities Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin.

2008-2017 Member, Rotterdam International Advisory Board – offering perspectives on cultural heritage as an essential component of economic development.

2009- Binchester excavations, south of Hadrian’s Wall in the UK – part of my ongoing exploration of the English-Scottish Borders.

2007-2008 Violet Andrews Whittier Faculty Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center.

2004-2009 CoDirector Stanford Humanities Lab – pioneering Digital Humanities and transdisciplinary human-centered projects with great colleagues Jeffrey Schnapp and Henry Lowood.

2000-2013 The Omar and Althea Dwyer Hoskins Faculty Scholar Professor.

1998-2005 Professor by Courtesy, Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University. The appointment was terminated by the department in 2005. The reason given was “bureaucratic hygiene” (really!), though I didn’t cost them anything. I suspect it was more to do with my interdisciplinary interest in cyborg culture and work with Daimler Chrysler.

1998- Professor of Classics, Stanford University. Founding faculty for Stanford Archaeology Center. New interdisciplinary moves into media materialities and design thinking with my Metamedia Lab.

1997-2004 Board Member, Brith Gof, outstanding performance company, led by artistic directors Mike Pearson and Clifford McLucas – the most creative of relationships. A role as Board Member was to strengthen links with the academy and to help develop theatre/archaeology, deep-mapping – revisiting that old antiquarian genre of chorography.

1997- Docent, Institute of Archaeology, Gothenburg. A cherished connection with the most open of intellectual communities, headed by Kristian Kristiansen. In 2006 we received 50k funding from the Wallenberg Foundation to build links through a project exploring the collaborative cocreation of cultural heritage.

1996-1998 Reader in Archaeology, Head of Department, University of Wales Lampeter. Where I realized that people and community matter most. Molly May was born in Carmarthen.

1993-1996 Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Wales Lampeter. A lot of teaching and building new programs and initiatives, in a glorious rural setting.

1992-1993 Teaching Fellow, University of Wales Lampeter. A university the size of a high school and a main street in the town where I got to know every storekeeper. Great vision and hope. Where we got to love labrador retrievers (Abbey came with us to Stanford).

1991-1992 Research Fellow, Centre d’Archéologie Classique, Paris 1 (Sorbonne), Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. Another intellectual rollercoaster with Classicists, philosophers, anthropologists, technologists, helped along this time by the glories of Belgian beer and a view over the Seine. Great discoveries with Alain Schnapp, Laurent Olivier, Kristian Kristiansen, Jean-Paul Demoule, Bruno Latour, Pierre Lemonnier, Sander van der Leeuw, Anique Coudart, Nathan Schlanger.


Corinth – subject of my doctoral dissertation – here at the beginning of the twentieth century, before the American excavations of this ancient Greek city

1983-1988 Teacher (Latin, Greek, Ancient History), Whitley Bay High School, UK – maybe the fabulous energy of the eighth graders helped me write round the clock on archaeological theory. My longest conversation, with Alan Campbell (historian, Member of Parliament, Junior Minister, Labour Whip, Privy Councillor, “The Right Honorable” and in 2019 Sir Alan – surreal!), began here.

Education and qualifications

PhD Roskilde University 2018, Denmark’s radical university experiment, pioneering experiential learning, student-centered pedagogy and design thinking since 1972.

Docentur (Higher Doctorate and license to teach) Institute of Archaeology, Göteborg 1997. A lovely Swedish city, home of some dear friends.

PhD Peterhouse Cambridge 1992. Better second time round – and the college gave all the support I so needed in my pursuit of connoisseurship plus critical theory.

MA Peterhouse Cambridge 1983.


Peterhouse, from Little St Mary’s churchyard in 1977 – suitably eighteenth-century Gothic

PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education – a masters level professional qualification) Durham University 1982 – when the River Wear froze over and I taught seven year olds in a Durham colliery village devastated by the decline of mining in the run up to the Miners’ Strike of 1984.

BA Peterhouse Cambridge 1980. Have I ever got over it? I skipped most lectures. The angry young man in me told faculty member John Alexander that he was useless and had nothing to say – this didn’t help much.

Royal Grammar School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1970-1976 – I still remember the school song about the great and the good of England’s north east. The most traditional of schooling you could imagine – academic gowns, rugby football (I was pretty good as scrum-half), Combined Cadet Force (Naval Section), Latin and Greek. Sounds like Hogwarts – all the violence, but none of the magic.

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