Consultant in maritime history and creative lifestory
Welcome to my website
I'm a creative historian who works with museums, universities and in the community. Women who went to sea - whose travel transformed their lives forever - are my special area of expertise.
My especial interest is in the stories of people who have led marginalised lives in the past - and sought adventure, freedom and the space to be all they are, and might become.
In particular this means recording people, or helping them write their stories. They tend to be people who've taken jobs at sea despite the odds - like women, black and minority ethnic (BAME) and LGBTQI people - for whom seagoing meant sometimes liberation and sometimes injustice.
Ships are hypersexualised spaces for those confined in them. As a cultural historian, that's fascinating to me. They're heterotopias (meaning other places, like Wonderland) and liminal zones, which means they explain a lot about our societies on land.)
I live in Marsden in the Pennines, and work a lot in London and abroad. At Liverpool John Moores University I am Visiting Senior Research Fellow. At the University of Hull's Maritime Historical Studies Centre I am an Honorary Research Fellow.
My new book, Women and the Royal Navy, (IB Tauris/ National Museum of the Royal Navy) is just starting its first reviews.
It was Book of the Week in The Lady on January 5 2018. Reviewer Lyndsy Spence wrote:'Extraordinary information is revealed...the book strikes a balance between the romantic notion of the naval life as one of freedom, and a more realistic view of the responsibilities and dangers that women were taking on...This is a timely and inspiring book.'
The Spectator in Jan 2018 carried a review by Alan Judd.
'This book is a thoroughly researched account of the parts played by women in the service of the Royal Navy from the Middle Ages to the present. What it lacks in anecdotes and personal accounts it makes up for in its comprehensive documentation of official attitudes and measures.'
Order the book for £14 instead of £20 RRP. Enter the discount code AN2 when prompted.
What they say about me
Late Spring 2018: Cubah Cornwallis: the black nurse who saved Nelson's life in Jamaica, Trafalgar Chronicle (special edition: 'Nelson's other women').
June 22. It's the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury in 1948, full of Caribbean migrants hoping for a new life. I've got a few articles out about the women's angle. And I am speaking on BBC Woman's Hour on 20th June 2018 (Wed) .
Here's a special sonic treat. Calypsonian Alexander D Great has kindly recorded a long-lost calypso to Nancy Cunard, the black rights activist who was on board.
Click here to hear it.
Alex's website can be found at www.alexanderdgreat.net
26 July 2018. (Thurs) I will be giving a keynote speech, 'Representing minorities in maritime museums: gender, race, and sexual identity' at the International Postgraduate Port and Maritime History Studies Network Annual Conference.
University of Hull Centre for Maritime Historical Studies, Blaydes House, 1 High Street, Hull HU 1 1HA.
For conference details contact email@example.com
8-10 November, 2018. (Thurs to Sat). Come and hear my paper, They also serve who only stand at sinks: seafaring laundresses in WW1. It's part of the The First World War at Sea: Conflict, culture and commemoration conference at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London UK.
For conference details contact: https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/ researchers/opportunities-events/first-world-war-sea-conflict-culture-and-commemoration-call-papers
'Boats Crew Wren', The Marine Quarterly, no 29, Spring 2018, pp47-53, www.themarinequarterly.com/
Look out for forthcoming reviews
British Journal for Military History:
'Women at the Wheel: A Century of Buying, Driving, and Fixing Cars' by Katherine J. Parkin, University of Pennsylvania Press.
Spring 2018 issue, Vol 2, issue 10, p38. https://womenshistorynetwork.org/ womens-history-spring-2018/