Dr Rachel Lichtenstein is a British artist, writer and curator who is internationally known for her books, multi-media projects and artworks that examine place, memory and Jewish identity. She currently combines writing and research with a post as Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University in the U.K., where she also co-directs the Centre for Place Writing. She holds a position as Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Jewish Studies and is a member of the International Advisory Panel for the Foundation of Jewish Heritage and the Collections Advisory Network at London’s Jewish Museum. Lichtenstein was awarded the first Creative Research Fellowship at London’s British Library.
Recent projects include project managing an archive collection in London’s oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue, co-creating digital ‘Memory Maps’ of Jewish London and Manchester, and a multi-diciplinary research project on Jewish settlement on the Caribbean Island of Barbados working with archaeologists, academics and local people. She has published widely both in the U.K. and internationally. Recent articles include: ‘Beattie: The Battle of Cable Street’ Jewish Multiculturalism (Royal Literary Fund, 2022); ‘Memory Map of the Jewish East End’ (History Workshop Journal, 2021); ‘Vanished Streets: Unseen Photographs of Lost Jewish London’ (National Library of Israel, 2020) and ‘The Search for the Lost Synagogue of Speightstown’ (Journal of Barbados Museum & Historical Society, 2018). Her publications include: Estuary: Out from London to the Sea, (Penguin, 2016), longlisted for the Gordon Burns Prize, Diamond Street (Penguin, 2012), On Brick Lane (Penguin, 2008), which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje prize. Keeping Pace: Older Women of the East End (Women’s Library, 2003), A Little Dust Whispered (2002) and the cult classic Rodinsky’s Room (Granta, 1999, co-authored with Iain Sinclair) which was described by the Guardian as ‘an elegy to the lost world of the Jewish East End.’ This book has now been translated into five languages, with a launch in 2019 of the French translation at the Jewish Museum in Paris.
Her work has received extensive coverage in the national print and broadcast media including all major broadsheets, BBC London News, BBC Radio 4, and the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? exploring the actor Daniel Radcliffe’s Jewish heritage. She has also contributed to a number of anthologies and other publications and regularly speaks at events, literary festivals, conferences and other institutions internationally.Lichtenstein trained as a sculptor and her artwork has been widely exhibited. Venues include the Whitechapel Gallery, British Library, Barbican Art Gallery (U.K.), Woodstreet Galleries (Pittsburgh) & the Jerusalem Theatre (Israel). Her oral history collections can be found in archives in Israel, Barbados and the U.K. She has been a tour guide of London’s Jewish East End for over thirty years. Further info: rachellichtenstein.com