Steering Committee Biographies

Maggie Andrews is Emeritus Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the University  of Birmingham.. She has more than thirty years’ experience of working in higher, further and adult education and a strong record of public engagement with archives, museums, the BBC and community groups. She writes, researches broadcasts and teaches on the history of women in twentieth century Britain, and how that history is portrayed in popular culture. She has been an active member of both the regional and national WHN for many years, is on the editorial board of Women’s History Review, a National Teaching Fellow and author with Janis Lomas of A History of Women in 100 Objects (History Press 2018). An interest in the history of domesticity has led to the publication of The Acceptable Face of Feminism: the Women’s Institute Movement 1915-1960, (Lawrence and Wishart 1997 and 2015) and Domesticating the Airwaves: Broadcasting, Domesticity and Femininity, (Continuum 2012 and a future publication with Bloomsbury on Evacuation and Women in the Second World War.  Her research on the Home Fronts of the First and Second World Wars includes the publication of The Home Front: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences (Palgrave Macmillan 2014) and roles as a CO-I for the AHRC funded Voices of War and Peace First World War Engagement Centre and as a historical consultant of the Radio 4 drama series Home Front.

Tahaney Alghrani Currently I am completing a PhD and also a Graduate Teacher. My research, funded by the University of Liverpool, centres on juvenile institutions in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My primary focus is on the ideology, reform and discipline of juvenile females incarcerated within reformatories and industrial schools. My interdisciplinary approach is to investigate historical sources utilising sociological/criminological theories to locate the position of young women in port/urban locations and their pathway into incarceration. I am also interested in the aftercare/probationary practices of the Victorian era and current-day policies. The findings of this research will contribute to and enhance the ongoing debate around issues of female juvenile incarceration and probationary policies. Prior to my PhD research, I was a school teacher and my specialist subject was History.

Helen Antrobus  Since beginning my career in museums seven years ago, I have worked tirelessly to firmly place women’s history at the heart of public memory, commemoration, and celebration. From beginning as an archive assistant cataloguing the papers of Ellen Wilkinson, to curating national programmes at the National Trust, it has remained the primary drive for my work.  As a curator first at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, I curated an award-winning, internationally received exhibition responding to the 2018 centenary, working with community groups and activists to provide contemporary responses to the last 100 years of political and social representations of women’s rights. Working with a range of women’s community groups and organisations, I led on contemporary collecting projects, oral history recordings, and community exhibitions throughout 2018. 

As Curator of National Public Programmes at the National Trust, I have consistently advocated for challenging histories and feminist histories to be brought to the fore of heritage, visitor experience, and collecting cultures. Working with the University of Oxford research partnership, I have co-convened conferences and academic workshops, promoting academic research within the National Trust, and hosted undergraduate and postgraduate research projects across our property portfolio.  My first book, First in the Fight: Twenty Women Who Made Manchester was published in Autumn 2019, and I am currently working on my second. As a public historian, I work closely with BBC and Channel 5, both in a consultation role and as a featured historian on several radio and television documentaries.

Clare Burgess is a graduate student at the University of Oxford, where she is undertaking an MSt in Early Modern History. Her research focuses on the agency of sex workers in late sixteenth century cities, with the intention of creating a comparative study of four European and New World cities. This project aims to consider the intersections of gender, sexuality and race, and how these factors had an impact on the agency and fortunes of sex workers. Clare is also the co-founder of “From Margins to Centre? An Undergraduate Conference on Marginalised Histories”, the first national undergraduate conference of its kind, which took place in February 2020, with a keynote from Professor Catherine Hall. She is a Laidlaw Scholarship alumna, having completed a research project entitled “On the Barricades: the hidden history of women in the French Revolution” over two years as an undergraduate. 

Susan Cohen was awarded her ​PhD  ​by the University of Southampton ​in ​20​05 for a thesis on  Eleanor Rathbone and her work for Refugees.   ​The monograph from this was published by Vallentine Mitchell in 2010.   She has written numerous books on social and nursing history for Shire, ​and has a new book out for ​Pen and Sword​. In 2015 she ​co-founded the Remembering Eleanor Rathbone group, which organised a range of events from talks to conferences and art displays, in London and Liverpool during 2016, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Eleanor Rathbone’s death in 1946. She undertook oral history interviews for the Holocaust Survivor Centre in London.  She is currently writing a history of nurses and nursing for Amberley.

Chelsey David I am currently a practicing teacher working in an international French public school and tutor undergraduate law students. I initially studied law at the University of Bristol, where I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the use of women’s and children’s evidence in early modern Witcraft trials, followed by an MA at Swansea University examining noble women’s participation in iatrochymistry in the 16th and 17th century England. I completed my PGCE at the University of Oxford, where I gained a passion for seeking to increase the opportunities to meaningfully study the diverse range of women’s experience in the past and in 2019, I was awarded a Teacher Fellowship from the Historical Association. I have experience working in the UK state, grammar, private and international schools, and recently have taught in schools in mainland China online.  I am passionate about widen both women’s inclusion in the history curriculum and increasing the diversity of women’s experience studied by school students at all stages.

Sian Edwards. I am a Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Winchester, specialising in the social and cultural history of rural Britain in the period from 1918-1989, with a focus on youth and gender. Moving forward, I am becoming increasingly interested in the experiences of rural women and girls in the twentieth century and the distinctiveness of rural femininity in this period. My forthcoming book, Youth Movements, Citizenship and the English Countryside: Creating Good Citizens, 1930-1980 explores the centrality of the English countryside in constructions of good citizenship within mid-century youth organisations and highlights the way in which such understandings of citizenship were gendered in this period. This work has been developed from my PhD, which was awarded by the University of Sussex in 2014. It was during my time at Sussex that I developed my passion for women’s history. Studying women’s experiences challenged what I thought I knew about the past and encouraged me to think more critically about my position in the present. Because undergraduate study was such a transformative experience for me, I am passionate about foregrounding the history of women and girls in my teaching, and am dedicated to exploring new ways to engage my students in the field. Beyond my interest and enthusiasm, I have had significant experience in administrative and organisational roles in a number of research centres and networks, including as the administrator for the Centre for German Jewish Studies and as co-ordinator for Winchester’s Centre for Gender Studies. I have been a member of the Women’s History Network for about seven years and in this time have attended numerous WHN events, which I have found to be most enjoyable, stimulating and worthwhile. I would be delighted to be able to contribute to the Network in a more direct way and, as an early career researcher, a position on the Steering Committee would be an invaluable opportunity to develop my place within the field of Women’s History.

Helen Glew is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Westminster. She specialises in women’s employment in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is also interested in the history of feminism and women in the public sphere more widely. Her monograph Gender, Rhetoric and Regulation: women’s work in the Civil Service and the London County Council 1900-1955 was published by Manchester University Press in 2016 and her work has also appeared in Women’s History Review and Information and Culture: A Journal of History as well as in several edited collections. Her current project is a social and cultural history of the marriage bar and married women’s right to work, 1870-1960. Helen has extensive experience in conference organisation and regularly speaks at public events on topics relating to women’s history.

Sarah Hellawell is Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Sunderland. Her research examines the nature of British women’s transnational activism in the twentieth century. She is currently working on her first monograph, which looks at the British Women’s International League during the interwar years, based on her PhD research. Her article on the internationalism of the Women’s Co-operative Guild was published in Twentieth Century British History. Her work has also appeared in Women’s History Review and several edited collections. Inspired by the recent suffrage centenary, she has embarked on a local project on the work of Sunderland’s first female MP, Dr Marion Phillips. This research has led to community engagement events and the installation of a blue heritage plaque. Before taking up her current post, she was Research Assistant on the AHRC-funded project, titled British ex-service students and the rebuilding of Europe, which led to an article in History: Journal of the Historical Association.

Beth Jenkins. I am a historian of modern Britain, with specific interests in the history of women and the professions. I received a PhD from Cardiff University in November 2016 for my AHRC-funded thesis titled ‘Women’s Professional Employment in Wales 1880-1939’. In 2016-2017 I worked as a lecturer in Modern British History at Cardiff University.

I am passionate about increasing fair access to higher education and public engagement with academic research. During my doctoral studies, I was a coordinator of an outreach project in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion and also worked as a Grants Officer for the Heritage Lottery Fund. I currently work for an education charity, The Brilliant Club, helping to deliver their Scholars Programme in the east of England. I am the Charity Representative on the WHN Steering Committee.

Dr Anne Logan  Having just retired from the University of Kent and been made an Emeritus Reader, I am pleased to take on some new voluntary activity on behalf of Women’s History Network and have more time to do so than hitherto!  I was previously on the Steering Committee some years ago and I served as charity representative and was a magazine editor from 2011 to 2015.  I was one of the main organisers of the 2015 WHN annual conference held at Canterbury and I have also put together several one-day regional conferences and workshops for the southern region, something I hope to do again in the future.  In addition to teaching and research, in recent years I have had a good deal of experience of working with community groups, volunteers and non-academic organisations such as local museums. I enjoy public engagement activities greatly and am looking forward to helping lead the WHN steering committee efforts for community engagement, including the organisation of the Community History Prize.

Marine Picard

Marine Picard is currently a PhD student in Visual Culture at Durham University. Her thesis is titled ‘Sensual Encounters: Phenomenology and Affect in the Work of Émilie Charmy, Germaine Richier and Helene Schjerfbeck’. It asks how works made by these artists engage the viewers’ bodies and how our own bodies shape our understanding of the artworks. She is particularly interested in women artists, gender, bodies and their representation, emotions,and sensations. Her focus on embodiment and aesthetics translate into a passion for body inclusivity in art and various media. In addition to a MA Art History she also has an academic background in Psychology. She also uses her bilingualism to work in French translation and language tutoring. 

Katharina Rowold is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Roehampton. She previously held posts at London Metropolitan University, London Guildhall University and University College London. Her research focuses on women’s and gender history, the history of childhood, and the history of medicine and science. She has published The Educated Woman: Minds, Bodies, and Women’s Higher Education in Britain, Germany and Spain, 1865-1914 (Routledge, 2010), a comparative study of the ideas on female nature that informed debates on women’s entry to higher education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. She has also edited Gender and Science: Late-Nineteenth-Century Debates on the Female Mind and Body (1996) and (with Lucy Bland), Reconsidering Women’s History (2015). More recently, her research has focused on the history of motherhood and early infant care, on which she has published a number of articles. She is currently working on a book project that explores the history infant feeding in Britain from the 1860s to the 1970s in a series of case studies.

Lyndsey Jenkins is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary University of London, where she is undertaking a research project entitled ‘A Woman’s Place is in the House? Labour Women MPs 1945-79’. Her doctoral research, funded by the AHRC and the Oxford Centre for Life Writing, was undertaken at Wolfson College, Oxford, analysing the lives and careers of a family of working-class suffragettes. The book based on this research is forthcoming in the Oxford Historical Monographs Series with Oxford University Press.  She is also collaborating with Alexandra Hughes-Johnson on a publication showcasing some of the exciting scholarship on suffrage emerging out of the 2018 centenary. She was the 2017 recipient of the Caroline Spurgeon Award from the British Federation of Women Graduates, and was also awarded a Bryce Reed Studentship from the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford. Her 2015 publication, Lady Constance Lytton: Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr, was a Sunday Times Biography of the Year and shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed/Biographer’s Club Best First Biography Prize. A historian of women, power and politics, she has held lectureships at Mansfield, Magdalen and St John’s Colleges, Oxford. She is a former civil servant and government speechwriter. She is particularly interested in widening participation and attracting a new generation of students and researchers to women’s history.

Kate Law is a feminist historian of the British Empire whose research focuses on women’s activism in Southern Africa. Her first book, Gendering the Settler State: White Women, Race, Liberalism and Empire in Rhodesia, 1950-1980, was published in 2016. She spent four years working at the University of the Free State, South Africa, and would be keen to encourage more scholars from the region to consider publishing in WHR. She currently works at the University of Chichester as a Senior Lecturer in Modern History, but will be moving to the University of Nottingham in October to take up an Assistant Professorship/Nottingham Research Fellowship. At Nottingham, she will continue to research and write her new book which is tentatively entitled, Fighting Fertility: The British Anti-Apartheid Movement and Depo Provera, c.1980-1994.

Kristin O’Donnell is a cultural historian and doctoral researcher at the Centre for Memory, Narrative and History at the University of Brighton. Using the First World War centenary as a case study, Kristin’s research asks what engagement with First World War narratives in the present can reveal about the culture and politics of commemoration. This research explores the way individuals, groups and the nation-state use the past to inform a sense of present-day identity, and to construct boundaries of belonging, which are often constructed along lines of class, gender and ethnicity.

Interdisciplinarity and collaboration are at the heart of Kristin’s research and professional practice and her approach to history brings research, cultural policy, and community engagement into dialogue with present-day politics. Kristin is the recipient of an AHRC National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) scholarship, a scheme developed as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, designed to strengthen engagements between creative industries, policymaking and academia. She has collaborated with a range of community groups, from local schools in Kent through her work with Dover Arts Development, to international networks such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

As a working-class academic Kristin is also passionate about inclusive education. She has worked on projects aimed at widening access to university education and published on the impact of gender, ethnicity, class, and education on feelings of identity and belonging in Clever Girls: Autoethnographies of Class, Gender and Ethnicity, winner of the 2020 “Jake Ryan and Charles Sackrey Award for a Book about the Working-Class Academic Experience” awarded by the Working-class Studies Association.

Jane O’Neill Jane is a social historian with research interests spanning gender, sexualities and courtship in the modern period, and is particularly interested in oral history methodology and history ‘from below’. Her ESRC-funded PhD ‘Youth, sexuality and courtship in Scotland, 1945-80’, was awarded by the University of Edinburgh in 2016, and uses personal testimony to examine the formation of young people’s sexual ideas and identities and changing conceptions of social and sexual respectability in Scotland, questioning notions of ‘sexual revolution’.  She is currently working as a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project ‘The Abortion Act (1967): a Biography’. This interdisciplinary study between History and Law traces the Act’s changing interpretation and implementation in each of the countries of the UK across the 50 years it has now been in force, and will culminate in a book to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2019.

Alexandra Hughes-Johnson is a historian of nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain with a particular interest in women and political activism. She is a Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and the Research Coordinator for the Women in the Humanities Research Programme. Alexandra’s PhD, ‘Rose Lamartine Yates and the Wimbledon WSPU: Reconfiguring Suffragette History from the Local to the National’, was awarded by Royal Holloway University in 2018. Alexandra has been a member of WHN since 2013 and presented her research at a number of WHN conferences. She is currently working on a book chapter that explores the establishment of new suffrage organisations during the First World War and an article that focuses on the establishment of the Women’s Record House and the memorialisation of the suffrage campaign during the interwar period. Her next research project will build on her interest in women’s politics at a local level, and analyse womens’ election to local county councils after 1918.

Anna Muggeridge is a social and cultural historian of twentieth century Britain. She is currently completing a PhD at the University of Worcester, which examines the ways in which women in the Black Country were politicised through the ordinary and the everyday in the first half of the twentieth century. Her main research interests are in histories of women’s politics after suffrage, and histories of the domestic. She has a strong commitment to public engagement and had worked with the Black Country History Museum and History West Midlands to share women’s histories from the region with a wider audience. Anna has a longstanding interest in women’s history and has been a member of the Women’s History Network since 2014, when she studied for an MA at the University of Warwick. She has presented papers at a number of WHN conferences and looks forward to attending the 2019 Annual WHN Conference later this year.

Nancy Highcock is a social historian and archaeologist interested in social identities and intercultural contact the ancient Near East. As a postdoctoral researcher at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, she is part of the project “Memories for Life: Materiality and Memory of Ancient Near Eastern Inscribed Private Objects.” One integral aspect this research project (with Dr Christina Tsouparopoulou) is the analysis of inscribed objects commissioned and dedicated by people living in ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) over the course of three millennia (c. 2700-100 BCE) through the lens of gender identity with a particular focus on the material religion of female worshippers and female deities. In addition to this project, she is engaged in research on the relationship between dress items, craft production, and women’s economic agency in early second millennium Anatolia, having recently published an initial article on the subject: “To Toggle Back and Forth: Clothing Pins and Portable Identities in the Old Assyrian Period” (Fashioned Selves, ed. Megan Cifarelli, Oxbow 2019). She is the director of the lower town excavations at the site of Kınık Höyük-Niğde in southern Cappadocia, Turkey where she is focusing on domestic spaces and their associated craft industries and food pathways from Early Bronze Age (c 2700 BCE) through the Late Hellenistic period (1st century BCE). Nancy is currently writing her first monograph, Community Across Distance: the Forging of Assyrian Identity Between Assur and Anatolia. This work, based on her dissertation completed at New York University in 2018, explores the ways in which high levels of mobility shaped socio-political institutions and collective identities in an ancient Near Eastern Bronze Age mercantile community.

Sarah Frank is an Associate Lecturer in Modern History at the University of St. Andrews specializing in the French Empire during the twentieth century. Before joining St. Andrews, I held a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship with the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. I am particularly interested in the everyday experiences of soldiers, and their families, under colonialism. My first monograph, Hostages of Empire, Colonial Prisoners of War and Vichy France is under contract with University of Nebraska Press for publication in its France Overseas series. It explores the experiences of war captivity of the 85,000 colonial prisoners of war who were captured by the German army in May and June 1940. Rather than being sent to Germany with the rest of the 1.5 million white French prisoners, the colonial prisoners of war are kept in Occupied France. Hostages of Empire seeks to reconcile two previously rather distinct histories, that of metropolitan France and that of the French colonies during the Second World War. Bringing them together is one way to overcome a split history over two dimensions that contemporaries saw as intimately linked. As a social and political history, Hostages of Empire examines questions of race and gender among a group of racialized colonial subjects (and some citizens!) in exile in the colonial metropole. It is based on my doctoral research, funded by the Irish Research Council, completed at Trinity College, Dublin in 2015.

My next research project examines the impact of the end of the Second World War on families. Repatriation and reintegration were crucial times for soldiers and their families. The transition from life as a soldier, or prisoner of war, back to civilian life is particularly challenging. The distance, both physical and emotional, between soldiers’ experiences of war, and their families at home, make homecoming a crucial, and difficult time. Soldiers carried their personal experiences of war, suffering and captivity home with them, shaping their future relations with their families, and their governments. The return of the soldiers from the Second World War is a story about families as much as it is about shifts in the world order. It challenges the idea that post-war repatriation and reintegration were purely masculine events by examining the familial context to which these men returned and how homecoming affected local women. As such, this project examines questions of gender, movement, violence, growing nationalism and nascent ideas of independence in French West Africa.

Laurel Forster is Reader in Cultural History at University of Portsmouth. Her specialism lies in women’s cultural history of the twentieth century, with particular interests in the subjects of media, women’s writing and the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s. Her publications focus upon ways in which women’s cultures are represented in magazines, film and television, in creative practices such as writing, cookery and domestic crafts, and in the female literary canon. Her monograph Magazine Movements: Women’s Culture, Magazines and Media Form (Bloomsbury 2015) discusses women’s magazines (print and broadcast) across the twentieth century. She is currently co-editing The Edinburgh History of Women’s Periodical Culture in Britain: The Postwar Period for Edinburgh University Press

Laurel is co-lead of a Heritage Lottery Fund project ‘The Hidden Heritage of a Naval Town: Women’s Activism in Portsmouth since 1960’ (£73,000). This grant arose out of a conference ‘Historicising the Women’s Liberation Movement’, and a resulting special issue of Women’s History Review (Vol 25 (5) 2016). This project has gathered women’s testimonies of local activism, over fifty in number, and made this unknown history available through a website, published records, a pop-up exhibition, and a permanent archive. It is a wide-ranging and ambitious work of oral history and feminist recovery and involves external partners including museums, libraries and schools.

Recently (March 2019), Laurel organised an international symposium and public lecture at Portsmouth University on ‘Cookbooks: Past, Present and Future’, drawing on her expertise from The Recipe Reader (2003). Laurel is a member of the Southern Broadcast History Group and regularly hosts their seminars. She gives regular seminar papers and reviews for publishers and academic journals. She has an editorial role with The London Magazine, London’s oldest literary periodical. She is a member of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships Peer Review College, to review funding bids and allocate monies nationally. She has given keynotes to general and academic audiences, at the V&A, Women’s Library and Balliol college, Oxford.   Last year (2018), Laurel co-organised the centenary WHN Annual conference ‘The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage: National and International Perspectives’, helping June Purvis to host this at University of Portsmouth. Laurel is also on the editorial team for the WHN Journal.

Becki Hines

Becki Hines is currently a PhD student at the University of Worcester and her thesis is titled ‘Navigating stretching boundaries: The perils of conducting relationships in Worcestershire and surrounding areas, 1939-1948’. Her research interests centre around the effects of war on gender structures and women’s lives and she also recently completed a masters at the University of Birmingham on the punishment of transgressive female behaviour in France at the end of the Second World War. When she is not holed up in an archive or library she spends her days lecturing in accountancy as she is also a qualified accountant and tax advisor.

Kate Murphy is a Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, where she has worked since 2012. Prior to her academic career, she worked at the BBC for 24 years, primarily as a producer of Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, which has heavily informed her research. While  at the BBC, she completed a part-time PhD which looked into BBC women’s experiences of employment in the interwar years. This formed the basis for her monograph Behind the Wireless: An Early History of Women at the BBC which was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016.  She established the BA (Hons) History degree at Bournemouth and was Programme Leader for several years. 

Catia Rodrigues is currently a TECHNE/AHRC PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research examines how collectives of women from different artistic groups (e.g. artists, patrons, models) engaged with the evolution of Pre-Raphaelitism across the nineteenth-century, and how this reflects in their artistic partnerships, networks, and stylistic choices. Other research interests include Arts & Crafts, Aestheticism, Decadence, Fin-de-siècle, Gothic revival, Women’s Writings, and nineteenth-century visual art.  She is also currently a PGR Mentor at Royal Holloway, and she has vast experience working in the museums sector. She has previously worked with Imperial War Museum, and is currently collaborating with the Charles Dickens Museum and Royal Holloway’s Picture Gallery as a volunteer. Catia’s current research and interests reflect her eagerness to promote women’s history, and she is looking forward to learning and promoting new innovative research that is being conducted in the field.

Alice Whiteoak is a social historian with a background in women’s and gender studies. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Hull, which explores female litigation, specifically involving widows, in the Court of the Exchequer during the 17th century. Her work provides an insight into how the Court was used by men and women, explores regional variances, and examines the impact of the English Civil Wars on female litigation. This research is part of the Gender, Place and Memory research cluster at the University of Hull, led by Dr Amanda Capern and Dr Briony McDonagh. She has worked with The National Archives on a project to catalogue Exchequer depositions from the late 16th to early 18th century. Prior to her PhD, Alice completed the two-year Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies (GEMMA), studying at Hull and Central European University in Budapest. Since her BA dissertation on the life of Elizabeth of Bohemia, Alice has been intrigued by the experiences of women throughout history. She is particularly interested in historical enquiries around female agency, sexuality, and the prevention of violence. Alice volunteers with Women’s Aid and works as the membership officer and a social media officer for the Economic History Society.