Becoming Part of the Conversation


‘Emma Copestake is a first-year History PhD student at the University of Liverpool. Her research currently focuses on the humour and wellbeing of dock communities in Liverpool and Glasgow throughout the twentieth century. Other interests include the history of emotions, labour history, class, gender, occupational health and medical humanities. Follow Emma on Twitter @em_copestake and read further blog posts at

I know nothing about the history of dock work. This is something I tell myself daily, despite the fact I have already spent two and a half years researching waterfront communities, carried out interviews with those who worked on the docks and spend most days reading something relating to the industry. Just to be clear, I also know nothing about the history of emotions, humour, labour history, occupational health or anything related to my field.

Since beginning my PhD in October 2017, I have had to learn to value my own contribution…

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Great Opportunity for PGRs in the North West!

Exciting news! This is our official call for papers for Crafting the Past, all PGRs interested in presenting a paper should send their 100-word proposal, paper title and short bio to Presentations will be 10 minutes in length and a question-and-answer session will follow, but for now we just want to read your excellent […]

via CFP – 9TH FEBRUARY 2018 — Annual Postgraduate Conference


A ‘Networking’ Trip to Glasgow

On Monday 11th December, I travelled from Liverpool to Glasgow to visit the Scottish Oral History Centre and to attend the book launch of The Deindustrialized World: Confronting Ruination in Postindustrial Places. I decided to attend because I enjoyed the book and wanted to watch the author presentations but I ended up learning a lot about the value of one of academia’s key buzzwords: ‘networking’.  Continue reading


Lessons on Time and a PhD

“That is the whole thing with the future. You don’t know. At some point you have to accept that you don’t know. You have to stop flicking ahead and just concentrate on the page you are on.” – Matt Haig.[1] Continue reading


Can History Be Funny?

Humour is crucial to the human experience, yet it is rarely found in history books. Psychologists, sociologists and linguists have all found the topic worthy of study but not many historians have. Is this because historians really are those dusty researchers in archives not having any fun? Maybe history is just not that funny.  Continue reading


Imagining the Pentonville Five

In early October I was given the task of working out a 35 minute history taster session for year 8s. I wondered about how to make the history of industrial relations exciting for 13-year-olds and how to avoid spilling out a load of theoretical jargon but then the Pentonville Five saved me.  Continue reading