About

I am a historian of the 20th Century with special interest in the Second World War, refugees, children and humanitarianism. Originally from Calgary, Canada, I am currently Head of Research at a Holocaust heritage charity and a Research Fellow in Modern European history at the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England. 

Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the Second World War.   In 2016, I completed my PhD in modern history at the University of Edinburgh. Although my greatest interests lay in the Second World War, my current research now focuses on how governments and NGOs create policies and humanitarian operations to help vulnerable groups, especially children and refugees.

I have a number of projects in progress:

  • “Humanitarian Action and Translation” collaborative project at the University of Geneva with Dr Elisabeth Möckli (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation) that looks at how translation and language policies impact humanitarian projects in modern war
  • articles that analyse the more controversial elements of Swiss-led child evacuations (why did the Nazi commanders in Belgium and France authorise this evacuation, for example)
  • public blog that explores current events, films, and popular culture by using history as a way to interrogate recurrent crises.
  • securing small-project funding to interview former survivors of the Swiss-led evacuations to understand the considerable upheaval and experiences they would have endured.  Their oral testimony is absolutely essential and will add greater nuance to this remarkable moment in history.

A Blurb on My Background

While the study of History is now my intellectual home, I actually started my research in communications, especially political persuasion. While studying for my bachelors in Communication Studies at the University of Calgary,  I learned a great deal about quantitative data collection, analysis and statistics, but my foundation for studying war and history actually grew out of a keen interest in “rhetoric.”  Mass rallies, speeches, and how governments communicate with citizens and soldiers during war strongly sparked my attention.

To learn more, I took a Masters (by Research, at the University of Calgary) to look at various speeches by Churchill, Hitler and other Nazi officials to better understand the role of rhetoric in the Battle of Britain. I continued this trend of trying to understand morale in war by taking a further one-year Masters (MSc) at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. Clearly, I was hooked on the Second World War. But for my PhD, I changed directions, and began learning about a lesser-known Swiss-led child evacuation. This spawned my growing interest in why and how humanitarian organisations were able to help vulnerable groups in war, especially children and refugees.

While I remain fascinated by how politicians speak, what they say, and the impact it has upon audiences, my research on the Second World War and the Holocaust has grown, absorbed and transformed into a broader and diverse range of wartime experiences and events.