PGF Seminar 10th February 1-2pm

We will be hearing from Clare Tonks (University of Edinburgh). Clare is in the final year of her PhD under the supervision of Professor Gordon Pentland. She previously studied for a BA in English Literature and Psychology at George Washington University in Washington DC and an MA in History and Literature at Columbia University, based in Paris. Her research examines the cultural memory of war and commemoration of the Napoleonic Wars in Britain from Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 until the Duke of Wellington’s death in 1852. She will deliver her paper entitled: “Material Culture of Battlefield Tourism at Waterloo”. 

For more information please contact Leanne –

PGF Semester 2 Seminars – Wednesdays 1-2pm

*Everyone is welcome – email Leanne at for Zoom details.

· 3rd February – Rob Granger (Newcastle University), Nightmares and Miracles: Franco’s Madrid, 1939 – 1975

· 10th February – Clare Tonks (University of Edinburgh), Material Culture of Battlefield Tourism at Waterloo

· 17th February – Henry Brown (University of Oxford), Anarchists in Uniform: The Militarisation of Anarchist Culture during the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939)”

· 24th February – Claire Heseltine (University of Oxford), “‘And her loveliness’: the wounding and death of Penthesilea in Roman art”

· 3rd March – Oded Haim (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), From Defeat to Victory: Why did Rome Win the Second Punic War?”

· 10th March – Jamie Gemmell (University of Edinburgh), “Projects of Racialisation: Oroonoko and African Identity in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World”

· 17th March – Indigo Reeve (University of Edinburgh), A Stressful Life: Childhood Health in South-East Scotland”

· 24th March – Meena Menon (University of Leeds), Social Movements and Local Sovereignty in the Age of Transnational Capital and Ecological Devastation in Postcolonial India

· 5th May – Cathy Bishop (Swansea University), Practicalities of incense in New Kingdom Egypt

· 12th May – Yolanda Panou (University of Edinburgh), Becoming a victim of μανία: Representations of child killing on the Athenian stage

· 2nd June – Kathryn Watts (University of Edinburgh), TBC · 9th June – Mihai Hotea (University of Nottingham), Should democratic leaders engage in bilateral summits with dictators? A case-study of the US, UK and communist

PGF Seminar 3rd February 1-2pm

We will be kicking off the first seminar of semester two with our very own Rob Granger. Rob is in the second year of his Northern Bridge funded PhD. He is researching the social, cultural and political attitudes under the late Franco dictatorship in Spain, to seek to understand how far the regime was underpinned by a culture of consent. Rob will deliver his paper entitled: Nightmares and Miracles: Franco’s Madrid, 1939 – 1975.

For more information please contact Leanne:

Ramón Masats ‘Casa de Campo’, 1961

PGF Seminar 27th January 1-2pm

We will be hearing from our very own Jerome Ruddick.  Jerome is a PhD student working within the subject of Classics. He has a BA in Classics and Archaeology and an MSc in Forensic Archaeology. His PhD focuses on the Hellenistic period in Greece and the relationship between mythology, identity and material culture. Jerome intends on examining how material culture contributes to identity’s evolution and what this informs us about the nature of Greek belief.  Jerome will deliver his paper entitled: “The Festival of Despoina: Creating mythological narratives through material culture”.

For more information please contact Leanne:

19th January 5pm – Evening of Lightning Talks

The Postgraduate Forum have organised an evening of lightning talks in which several of our postgraduate students will deliver a five-to-ten-minute paper on their research, followed by a brief Q & A session.

Everyone is welcome to attend, please join us online on Tuesday 19th January from 5pm to hear about the fascinating research that is going on within our postgraduate community. 

For the Zoom information please email Leanne at

Speakers (in no particular order)

Harriet Palin (History) – ‘Educating England, c.1500-1640’

Harriet is a first year PhD History Candidate whose research looks at religious education in Early Modern England. In particular she is interested in media such as catechisms, hymns and prayerbooks and how such tools interacted as part of the pedagogic experience of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Harriet also considers at themes of childhood, educational barriers and aurality and is happy to discuss these topics as part of the wider history of education.

John Pearson (Archaeology) – ‘Getting Started with Glass Production Practice in Medieval Spain: The Fun and the Frustration’ 

John recently returned to higher education after a long absence. He finished a taught MA in Archaeology here at Newcastle in 2019 which catapulted him into research on medieval glass production practice in Islamic Spain. John has had two periods of craft production practice during his working life, from 1985-1991 as a craft bookbinder and from 2008-2017 as a guitar maker. Practical engagement with materials and ‘thinking through making’ are central to his current research archaeological research.

Alberto Murru (History) – ‘“Le polizie dell’Asse”. Police Collaboration between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany’ 

Alberto I started his PhD in 2017. He previously studied History in Bologna, Italy. His MA dissertation reconstructed the life of an Italian anti-propaganda organisation called ‘Anticommunist Study Centre’, which was created by the Fascist regime in the second half of the 1930s.

Craig Thomas (History) – ‘Peer Power: Scotland northern England under the 5th and 6th dukes of Buccleuch, c.1820-c.1914’ 

Craig is in the first year of his PhD in History. He previously completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Dundee. Craig’s paper will give a brief overview of his Collaborative PhD between Newcastle University and Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust which will examine the industrial histories of the Buccleuch estates in Scotland and northern England under the 5th and 6th Dukes of Buccleuch, c.1820-c.1914.

Zoe Ainsworth (Archaeology) – ‘Historic landscape change in Northumberland’s upland valleys (HiLand)’ 

Zoe previously studied for both her undergraduate and masters in archaeology at UCLan. She is currently undertaking an Northern Bridge Collaborative PhD in landscape archaeology with the McCord Centre for Landscape and Northumberland National Park.

Elly Polignano (Classics) – ‘Marcus Argentarius: critical edition, translation and commentary’ 

Elly is in the first year of her PhD. Her research focuses on the widespread literary form of the epigram and Elly’s thesis will offer the first critical edition and commentary of Marcus Argentarius’s thirty-seven epigrams.

Joe Redmayne (History) ‘The British maritime industry, 1914–19: split labour market, white labourism and colonial seafarers’ 

Joe Redmayne is a second year History PhD student and is interested in global labour history. His doctoral research situates the location of County Durham during the year 1919 transnationally, and explores the global implications of Empire on British society through regional working-class consciousness. Joe is particularly interested in the category of ‘whiteness’ or ‘white labourism’ to renew our understandings of class consciousness in an age of world empires.

Kevin Graham- (History) – ‘The Centre Ground of British Politics from 1918’

Kevin is a lecturer in Politics and Law and he currently works as a part time Associate Lecturer with the Open University. Prior to becoming a lecturer, he worked in Politics as an MPs Researcher and developed an interest in political history. He lives locally and has previously been a parliamentary candidate and a local Councillor. His PhD focuses on the development of centrism in Britain and the role this has played in both addressing and responding to political changes over a one- hundred-year period. 

PGF Seminar 13th December 1-2pm

For our first PGF seminar of 2021 we will be hearing from our very own Leanne Smith.  Leanne is in the second year of her Northern Bridge funded PhD. Her research focuses on the religious and political thought of the Fifth Monarchy Men, a seventeenth century millenarian sect. Leanne will deliver her paper entitled ‘Politics of the Apocalypse: William Aspinwall’s godly republicanism‘.

For more information please contact Leanne:

PGF Seminar 16th December 1-2pm

For our final PGF seminar of the year we will be hearing from Marcela Delia a current PhD student at the State University of Campinas, Brazil. Marcela gained both a bachelor and a magisterium degree in History at the University of São Paulo. During this time, she was awarded a scholarship by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) which allowed her to pursue her research further at the University of Edinburgh. Marcela’s current research looks at the relationships between Scottish governments, law, and witchcraft (c. 1590-1662). She will be delivering her paper entitled ‘Justices in that pairt: revisiting the Aberdeen witchcraft trials in light of a recent discovery (c. 1597)’.

For more information please contact Leanne –

PGF Seminar 9th December 1-2pm

We will be hearing from Alice Robinson a Northern Bridge funded PhD student in her second year here at Newcastle University. Her research re-evaluates Percy Bysshe Shelley’s relationship with Ancient Rome through text. She has an MA in Classics and a BA in Classical Studies in English and specializes in Latin literature, intertextuality, and Romanticism. She will deliver her paper entitled Mapping Ancient Rome in Percy Shelley’s Writing”. 

For more information please contact Leanne –

Introduction to the PGF Committee: Kat Waugh, Social Media Editor

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a second year PhD student, living in the West End of Newcastle. I live with my partner, Jason, and we have a little rabbit called Luna. I’m originally from the North East but did my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Manchester. I stayed there to do my MA in Humanitarianism & Conflict response, before working as a support worker for people in supported accommodation. I really love animals, and volunteer as a dog walker for The Cinnamon Trust, which has kept me sane throughout lockdown!

Tell us a little bit about your research

My research looks at industrial closure in County Durham from cross-generational perspectives, exploring how the closure of the coal mines shaped, and continues to shape, understandings of place, identity and politics. My research is based on oral history interviews with people of all different ages, who grew up or live(d) in three villages in the county.  I’m really interested in how things like Brexit, and the election of Conservative MPs in the region are linked to deindustrialisation, and questions about the future of the region in relation to both heritage and new development.

What was it that got you interested in your current research topic?

It’s something I’ve always been interested in really, growing up in a former pit village and just observing things around me, but I think it was moving away to Manchester that really gave me the perspective on it that led me to where I am now. After leaving University, I went on to work in a supported accommodation for people who were homeless. I loved this job and still miss it, but it was incredibly tough and really highlighted the continued systemic issues within the UK that continue to effect former industrial areas in particular. I missed research, and just thought that I could perhaps combine the two areas of experience together to look at these issues historically. I also missed home and so everything really just came together to form my project.  

What has been the best/most enjoyable part of your PhD so far?

I love doing the oral history interviews that form the basis of my project. I’ve learnt so much from each participant and it’s just so interesting to hear the history of the region in people’s own words.

And what has been the most challenging?

Imposter syndrome! More than any of my actual research, just trying to get over various crises in self confidence has been the most challenging thing, I think. There has definitely been a lot of self-questioning about whether I’m up for doing the PhD at all, but I think these waves of doubt are something you learn to navigate as you progress.

Has Coronavirus impacted your research?

Yes, massively so. I had all my interviews scheduled for March and April 2020, and of course that’s when we entered full lockdown, so they were all rescheduled. So, there was a delay there while I held off to keep an eye on the situation as it developed, and then I moved to remote interviewing. That’s been a challenge in itself and has meant learning about a whole new way of working, but it’s allowed me to complete some really interesting interviews and get my project back on track.

What would be your most important advice for someone just starting their PhD?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are so many things that it’s almost assumed you know about when you start your PhD, not necessarily research based either but about academia or your department in general. It’s not silly to ask about these things, and it’s also in no way a bad thing to ask for well-being help and support when you need it, too.  

What are your post-PhD plans?

I would really like to move into policy research, in the Civil Service or an independent Think Tank for example, but I really hope I can stay focused on the North East region if I do that.

PGF Seminar 2nd December 1-2pm

We will be hearing from our very own Katherine Waugh. Kat is in the second year of her PhD.  Her research uses oral history to examine experiences of industrial closure in County Durham, looking at how the memory of deindustrialisation crosses generations and continues to inform understandings of place, community, and politics in the present day. Her paper is entitled ‘Coal mining’s gone, the communities are still here”: Cross-generational experiences of deindustrialisation in County Durham

For more information please contact Leanne –