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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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

NWCDTP Annual Conference

This time time last week, I was on my way to my first ever conference. Starting my PhD was pretty exciting but for some reason telling people that I was at a conference made it all feel much more real. This year’s annual conference of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP- a mouthful that I still have not mastered saying out loud) was titled ‘Exploring Identity: Between Being and Belonging’.  Continue reading