Memory, Resistance, and Regeneration: A Merseyside Town in the Age of De-industrialisation, St. Helens 1968-2018
Supervisors: Professor Mathew Thomson & Dr. Joachim Haberlen
My PhD research concerns ordinary people's memories of the period commonly referred to as de-industrialisation. Combining oral history and documentary evidence, my project examines, via a case study of the former industrial town of St. Helens, Britain's industrial decline and its impact on those most directly affected by it, i.e., the workers and the residents of former industrial towns. In particular, my project explores the links between people's memories of the time period, attempts to resist de-industrialisation, and moves towards – and resistance of – (urban) regeneration.
Personal & Academic Background
I grew up in St. Helens, near Liverpool, before sending myself to Coventry in 2011 to study a BA in French & History at the University of Warwick. Upon graduating in 2015, I went souther still to enrol on a two year Masters degree in Anglophone Studies at the University of Nice, where I juggled studying and seminar tutoring with a part-time retail job and a brief career as a rickshaw driver. Having plentifully stocked myself with Vitamin D from the Côte d'Azur sky, I returned to Warwick in 2017 to begin my PhD.
Alongside researching, I am a keen but not overly-talented squash player and I was the PhD Staff-Student Liaison representative on the History department's Research Committee for the 2017-18 academic year.
In September 2018, I became the Administrative Assistant for the Warwick Oral History Network. The OHN runs regular seminars, provides assistance to various community oral history projects (such as the Binley Colliery project being undertaken by the team at Dunsmore Living Landscape), and hosts an Oral History Interest Group for researchers at the university wishing to share knowledge/experiences of using oral history.
2017- DPhil History (University of Warwick), ongoing
2015-2017 – Bac+5 Etudes Anglophones (Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis), mention très bien
2011-2015 – BA (Hons) French & History (University of Warwick), 1st class (with merit for oral)
2017 – MA Dissertation (supervisor: Professor Didier Revest) – Les classes ouvrières et les inégalités sociales en Grande-Bretagne depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale : origines, évolution, et le rôle de Margaret Thatcher [The working classes and social inequalities in Great Britain since World War Two: Origins, evolution, and the role of Margaret Thatcher]
2016 – MA Dissertation (supervisor: Professor Didier Revest) – The socio-economic impact of de-industrialisation on women in England from the 1980s to the present day, with specific focus on St. Helens, Merseyside
2015 – BA Dissertation (supervisors: Professor Chris Read & Dr. Charles Walton) – Utopian dreams, dictatorial reality: the analogous outcomes of the Abbé Sieyès' and Lenin's revolutionary projects
Autumn 2020 - 'Strike at Pilkingtons: 50 Years On', North West Labour History, 45, 53-59.
June 2020 - 'Then and Now: History of the Faculty of Arts', IATL Blogs and Reports (University of Warwick)
Autumn 2019 - 'Queens of the coal age: Lancashire Women Against Pit Closures and the Parkside Pit Camp, 1992-94', North West Labour History, 44, 12-16.
Autumn 2019 - 'Ongoing work: Binley, Coventry', Oral History, 47:2, 12-13.
July 2019 - 'Town centre regeneration, community, and the involvement of local residents', Centre for the History of Retail and Distribution (CHORD) Conference Blogs (University of Wolverhampton)
7-8, 14-15 November 2020 - North American Conference on British Studies 2020 - 'Community After Closure: A Case Study of St. Helens, Merseyside'
23-25 September 2020 - Building Welfare States: New Approaches to Architecture, Community, and Planning in Twentieth Century Britain (University of Warwick) - 'Building community through regeneration in St. Helens, Merseyside'
5-6 July 2019 - Oral History @ Work: Recording Change in Working Lives (Oral History Society Annual Conference, Swansea University) - 'A tale of two ranches? From John Wayne to JR Ewing: de-industrialisation and changes to work in St. Helens, Merseyside'
27 June 2019 - Urban Identities: Past and Present (Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick) - 'Building communities? Urban development in industrial and post-industrial St. Helens'
9 May 2019 - Retailing and Community: The Social Dimensions of Commerce in Historical Perspective (Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution, University of Wolverhampton) - 'Representing local interests in post-industrial town centre regeneration: a case study of St. Helens, Merseyside'
10 November 2018 - The Politics of Sedition in Long Nineteenth Century Britain: A Social and Cultural Discourse (Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick) - Panel Chair: 'Resistance from below: expressions of sedition from the working class'
25-26 October 2018 – The Pursuit of Legitimacy Power and its Manifestations in Political History (Leiden University, Holland) – 'Seeking continuity in a period of change: resisting industrial decline and post-industrial regeneration'
Abstract available for download here .
31 May-1 June 2018 – History Postgraduate Conference (University of Warwick) – 'Resisting de-industrialisation through memory: a case study of St. Helens, Merseyside'
Abstract available for download here .
23 May 2018 – Questioning the Disappearance of Disciplinary Boundaries (Annual PG Symposium of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick) – 'Oral history: a chorus of disciplines'
Abstract available for download here .
Other Research Projects and Roles
March 2021-July 2021 - PGR Digital Teacher Hub project
January 2021-July 2021 - Student Research Portfolio project.
Supervising the project in my role as Warwick Arts Faculty Student Engagement Intern.
March 2020- - 'Then and Now: Arts at Warwick'
Student-led history of the Faculty of Arts at Warwick set up by Dr. Kathryn Woods.
I have occupied role of Project Officer since April 2020.
Read about the project on IATL's blog and through this interview with the Warwick University student newspaper: 'There was an unofficial society celebrating the Koan [...]', The Boar, 25.06.2020.
Listen to a podcast about the project, recorded with Dr. Gareth Johnson, editor of Exchanges, which will publish a special issue about the project during the next academic year.
October 2018- - 'Memories of Binley Colliery'
Project led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust in association with Warwick Oral History Network.
Awarded Warwick Public Engagement Funding, 2019-2020.
Read about the project: 'Ongoing work: Binley, Coventry', Oral History, 47:2, (Autumn 2019), 12-13.
2020-2021, University of Warwick
- HI180, Britain in the Twentieth Century: A Social History
- Warwick Arts Faculty Student Engagement Intern.
2019-2020, University of Warwick
- HI153, The Making of the Modern World (weekly seminars + weekly study skills sessions)
2018-2019, University of Warwick
- HI153, The Making of the Modern World
2016-2017, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis
- English Studies (2nd year undergraduate), 'From Schism to Revolution' [History module covering the Tudors and the Stewarts]
- Sociology/Economics (2nd year undergraduate), 'English Language'
- Human Resources Management (1st year MA), 'English Language'
2016-2017, Ecole du Journalisme, Nice
- Journalism (General) (3rd year undergraduate), 'Debates and Interviews in English'
Outreach Work and Other Activities
29 October 2020 - 'How to: Dissertation', online talk for Warwick HistSoc (recording available on Facebook)
13 November 2018 - Binley Colliery Oral History Project, Hagard Community Centre, Willenhall, Coventry
18 April 2018 – Entering Higher Education seminar, Rainford College
21 March 2018 – Guest speaker at Year 11 & 13 Rewards Evening, Rainford College