Dr Harry Willis Fleming is a historian, writer, and maker of projects that explore topographical, architectural, and spatial themes. His work articulates and purveys the sense of place. He received a Master of Research in History (with distinction) from the University of Southampton in 2011, and a PhD from Middlesex University in 2017. He has founded the Bervie Brow Research Station
at his home in north-east Scotland.
Harry's approach is both academic and creative. As a scholar, he situates himself within the disciplines of cultural history and the history of architecture in its broadest conception. Harry trained originally as a theatre designer at Wimbledon School of Art and then worked as a design consultant, and the visual and experiential remain central to his practice. His interests lie on the boundaries between art and non-artistic aesthetic practices. His work is multifaceted, and his methods include archival research, writing, visualising, staging, curating, convening, and broadcasting. The outputs of his work in different media often take the form of "archives" and "(re)constructions of places". His projects can be long-term and open-ended.
Harry's recent research focus has been the nineteenth-century artist and tower-dweller Richard Cockle Lucas
(1800-1883), for which he was awarded a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship (2012) and a funded doctoral Research Studentship
at Middlesex University (2012-2016).
Harry wrote and presented Vapourtrain
(2009) for BBC Radio 3, exploring how steam railway travel transformed notions of time, space, and place. He was a researcher and contributor to One Way To The Necropolis
(2005) for BBC Radio 4, a feature programme on the Brookwood Necropolis Railway.
He has taught on the 'Advanced Research' module of MA Spatial Cultures and MA Interiors (Architecture and Design) at Middlesex University.
Harry has a strong commitment to the wider public engagement with history and heritage. In 2005, he established the Willis Fleming Historical Trust, with which he has undertaken numerous projects, including the Heritage Lottery-funded restoration of the derelict WW1 Stoneham War Shrine
. He has given many public talks, put together community exhibitions and displays, and created several collaborative online research archives, such as the Swaythling Remount Depot
. He was a steering group member for 'Tudor Revels' (2012)
, a Heritage Lottery-funded exploration of Tudor Southampton; and a project member for 'Spirit of place' (2007), a virtual memorial commissioned by Arts in Healthcare to commemorate the former All Saints Hospital in Eastbourne.
He had an early interest in working with digital media, and was the designer of Lord David Owen's Balkan Odyssey CD-ROM (1997), a multimedia analysis of the breakup of Yugoslavia. As a design consultant, he managed major projects for London Underground, WS Atkins, Railtrack / Rail Safety & Standards Board, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, and many others.