This blog is about academia and me. It’s about academia and you. It’s about sharing my experiences of my profession, and about sharing knowledge and skills which are too often taken for granted. It’s about those academic voices which are either not heard at all, or are not heard enough. It’s about challenging dominant ideas of what academics should look like. It’s about redefining what it takes to be an academic and how academics are expected to present themselves, their lives, and their work. It’s about making ourselves and our profession simultaneously vulnerable and stronger, so that we can help change what makes us feel inadequate, ashamed, or unprofessional. So that we can help make academia more inclusive.
As part of my role as one of this year’s New Generation Thinkers, I’ve recorded an edition of BBC Radio 3’s The Essay! “Women on Their Own: Widows in Britain, Now & Then” will be broadcast on 11 November 2015 at 10.45PM, and you can listen anytime after this by visiting BBC iPlayer. Please upgrade your browser
These articles in Research Professional (11 June 2015) feature some statements by me on New Generation Thinkers, and an interview on my experience of being selected for the scheme. You need to be a subscriber to Research Professional to gain access to these pieces.
It’s official: I’ve been lucky enough to have been selected as one of this year’s New Generation Thinkers by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. And of course this wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t share a few lines on the process that led to last week’s melodramatically long-embargoed announcement and to my first ever appearance on national radio. After completing the short online application in December 2014, I was notified in February this year that I was one of the sixty applicants who had been shortlisted and invited to a training and...
I’m very excited to say that I’ve recorded my first ever radio broadcast, and you’ll be able to listen to this edition of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking on Thursday, 28 May 2015 at 10PM. This edition of the programme introduces four of this year’s New Generation Thinkers, including me. Please upgrade your browser
I had been meaning to apply for the AHRC/ BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers initiative for a couple of years now, and last December I finally decided to take the time and fill in the application form. I proposed a programme on the history of widows in Britain, and explained the wider relevance of my research on this topic. The final section required applicants to write a review of a recent play, film, or book unrelated to their research that could be read on air. I offered a discussion of Maxine Peake’s play “Beryl” (2014), something which relates to...
While researching the introduction to my book on the widow in British literature and culture, I stumbled across a tune from the First World War which illustrates perfectly some of the attributes which have rendered the figure of the widowed woman a popular and loaded one here in Britain, not only since the Victorian period (which is where my book begins) but also from as early as Shakespeare’s times. Luckily for me, someone was generous enough with their time and enthusiasm to upload a YouTube video of his playing the original record, and below you can find my transcription...
At a time when we remember the First World War, its victims, and its survivors, it seems apt for me to share some of the research I’ve been doing on the literary and cultural history of the widow in Britain, and particularly on how the state’s support and the economic conditions of widowed women has changed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and reflects both Britain’s development in terms of gender equality as well as the emergence of the welfare state.
Research Seminar, 5 March 2014, Department of English, Durham University
In the post-war decades, Britain prided itself on the new welfare state and the support it afforded children and mothers. But what about those women who had lost their husbands in the war? This post looks at the picture painted by two sources from the 1960s: a broadcast on child welfare by the Central Office of Information (1962) and a BBC Home Service radio broadcast called “World of the Widow” (1960).
This second post on widows in Victorian comic songs considers a piece which renders its widow financially, medically, socially, and sexually undesirable.
The first in a series of posts on deviant widows in popular comic songs from the 1840s, 50s and 60s.
Over the past decade, the detective widow has become a well-established character in the little-explored subgenre of neo–Victorian crime fiction. In Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series, the author argues, the detective widow investigates the gendered characteristics and complexities of Victorian widowhood while detecting the artistic crimes associated with historical fiction’s imitations and adaptations of the past.
04/07/2012, “North West Long Nineteenth-Century Seminar”, Manchester City Library
09/04/2010, “Fashioning the Neo-Victorian”, Erlangen-Nuremberg.