Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare - Phd Students

Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare Meet our PhD students

The Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare Ph.D students are based in the Faculty's Graduate School in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

They organise their own seminars, travel widely to events and conferences elsewhere, and add to their employability through internships with organisations such as the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, NHS Health Scotland, and the Academic Health Science Partnership in Tayside.

Below the line-up of current and recent students, feel free to get in touch with them to find out more about their work and life at our centre.

  • My experience of working in India and China while completing a PhD was behind the success of my application to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office where I now work in the Historians' Unit.

    Dr Luke Gibbon

Stuart Bradwel on Funding

Securing funding can be one of the most daunting challenges for those hoping to begin doctoral study. While this can never be entirely stress-free, the CSHHH is well equipped to ensure that applicants have the best possible chance of success. With the excellent support provided by my supervisor, Professor Matt Smith, I was able to refine my ideas into a full research proposal. After a somewhat nervous wait, I was thrilled to find out in May 2016 that the Wellcome Trust had selected my project for support in what was a highly competitive scheme. Throughout the whole process, I was impressed by how smoothly the CSHHH managed everything, and how committed everyone within it was to making my application a success.     

Thora Hands on Internships

The CSHHH is affiliated to the Scottish Graduate School in the Social Sciences, a collaboration between the key universities in Scotland.  This meant that while I was completing my PhD, I was able to access training opportunities and networking events organised by the SGSSS.  When the chance to apply for an internship at NHS Health Scotland came up, I jumped at the chance.  My Wellcome Trust funded doctorate had the title 'Re-framing Drink and the Victorians.  The consumption of Alcohol in Britain, 1869-1914' and I found myself constantly making links between the nineteenth-century habits and twenty-first century patterns.  My experience on the internship taught me new skills as complex research papers and data had to be quickly condensed into briefing notes and policy documents.  It also opened up a range of interesting career options that I'll be exploring now the doctorate has been awarded.

Our PhD students

Ian Baker

Ian is a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde under the Wellcome Trust funded project ‘The Asian Cocaine Crisis: Pharmaceuticals, consumers and control in South and East Asia, c.1900-1945’. He previously studied towards an M.Phil in Medical Anthropology at University College London, researching the use of mercury among practitioners of alchemy in modern Burma.

His additional research interests include the cultural history of longevity practices and yoga within Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and their contemporary applications across cultures. He has published several articles and books on related subjects and he curated the 2015 – 2016 Wellcome Collection exhibition ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple’ that profiled Tantric Buddhist conceptions of body, mind, and meditation through art and visual culture.

His current research focuses on the heterodox and esoteric use of toxins and intoxicants during the British colonial period in South and East Asia.

David Black

David is based in Glasgow Caledonian University and builds on work carried out for his MSc with the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare. His research “ The development of NHS health improvement services and their relationship to health inequalities in Scotland 1974-1998” will support an analysis of the development of Health Education/Promotion in the NHS over the time period 1974 - 1998 giving a new perspective on the changing models of health that helped shape services at this time.

Health education was a new discipline within the NHS and its development was shaped by the interactions of a new workforce with differing approaches to the tasks, the increasing influence of new national and international philosophies and social movements and politics. The approaches to health improvement work that were developed map the changing understanding of the of the factors that shape health.

Stuart Bradwel

Stuart joined the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare in October 2016 after securing Wellcome Trust funding for his PhD project ‘Doctors Orders – Type 1 Diabetes and the Consultative Relationship, 1970-present’, which is supervised by Professor Matthew Smith.

Prior to this, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of St Andrews before moving on to a masters degree at the University of Glasgow. His main research interests are disease history and bioethics.

He is particularly interested in the way individuals construct personal values about their health and the implications of this for treatment, particularly in the management of chronic medical conditions.

Chris Cavin

Chris began his PhD at the University of Strathclyde in October 2014 on the ESRC funded project: ‘Intoxication and the Indian Colonial Military: Drug Consumption and Control, 1858-1919’. Before joining the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare he completed an MSc at Strathclyde with a research focus on military history.

His research interests include the history of narcotics in South-East Asia, the Indian Army and alcoholism and addiction within armed forces. His project operates under the supervision of Prof James Mills and Dr Emma Newlands.

Jennifer Farquharson

Jennifer is a PhD candidate at Glasgow Caledonian University. She began her PhD in October 2016 on a studentship project exploring mental health in twentieth century Scotland. Her research compares the experiences of soldiers and civilians co-residing in Scottish district asylums, 1914-1934. She previously completed an MSc in Historical Studies with an emphasis on health histories at the University of Strathclyde.

Her research interests include medicine, mental health and healthcare, gender and class in health histories, institutional economies and military history. Jennifer is currently an intern for the Conservation Directorate within Historic Environment Scotland.

Iain Ferguson

Iain is a PhD candidate at the University of Strathclyde. He is currently researching/writing the first medical history of acne and the controversial treatment, Accutane. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, his project is entitled : 'A Face to Die For: Acne, Accutane and the Quest for Perfect Skin 1950s-Present'. He is interested in speaking to and recording the memories of people who lived through and actually suffered from acne and/or were prescribe the drug as treatment during this period.

Although a small number of scholars have analysed the historical relevance of skin problems, typically focusing on earlier periods and systems connected to overarching medical conditions such as leprosy, syphilis and smallpox, very few historians have investigated acne.

In particular, no one has examined the post war period when the escalating cultural and economic significance of adolescence made spotty skin a marketing opportunity for pharmaceutical companies, a professional opportunity for dermatologists and an issue that spurred popular debate about the causes of and treatments for acne.

Andrew Glen

Andrew is a third year PhD student at the University of Stratclyde. His research project is entitled 'Britain, Empire & Opium: Reassessing Official British Attitudes towards Asian Opium Consumption in the Late Nineteenth Cenry'.

His current research interests are focused on the history of drugs and politics. He is especially interested in the internal opium trade of South Asia under the British Raj, and its relation to political and societal change. The thesis has been framed by the competing influence of empires and impact of British colonisation in the mid to late 19th century.

Dr Thora Hands

Thora recently completed her PhD titled 'Re-framing Drink and the Victorians: The Consumption of Alcohol in Britain 1869-1914'. The thesis explored the different drinking cultures that existed in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain and how these were shaped by wider social, commercial political and medical factors. Her research interests are in medical history, social history and in the history of alcohol and drugs.

Rachel Hewitt

Rachel is a social historian researching the history of epilepsy. She received her Honours degree in Economic and Social History from the University of Glasgow in 2013. Following this, she was granted an MSc studentship from the Wellcome Trust to study Heath History and joined the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare.

She is currently undertaking a Wellcome Trust funded PhD on the social history of epilepsy. In particular, she is examining the employment, education and treatment of people with epilepsy in the early twentieth century. In 2014 she was awarded the Larry J Hackman Research Residency award from the New York State Archives. She is the founder and curator of Beyond Epilepsy collaborative project, which exhibited at the CCA, Glasgow, in June 2016.

She is interested in social and public policy, disability and education history and the development of early social enterprises.

Yun Huang

Yun joined the University of Strathclyde in October 2016 on the Wellcome Trust funded project: ‘The Asian Cocaine Crisis: Pharmaceuticals, consumers and control in South and East Asia, c.1900-1945’. Prior to becoming a member of the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare, Yun completed his Masters degree in History at the David F. Musto Centre for Drugs and National Security Studies of Shanghai University under the supervision of Prof Zhang Yong-an.

His research interests include the history of narcotics in China and the participation of China in systems of international drug control. Under the supervision of Prof James Mills and Dr Patricia Barton Yun is currently examining the history of cocaine in early twentieth century Asia.

Erin Lux

Erin is a PhD candidate at the University of Strathclyde. Her project, 'Mad, Bad or Dangerous? Juvenile Justice & Mental Health since 1945' examines the interplay between developments in children's mental health and juvenile justice systems. Before joining the Centre, she completed her MA at the University of Ottawa with a research focus on US justice systems.

Her research interests include the intersections of mental health and justice systems with childhood, gender and class. In addition to her research, Erin has completed an internship with the Scottish Prison Service and is a research assistant on the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

Rachel Meach

Rachel is a second year Wellcome Trust PhD student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow supervised by Prof Matthew Smith. Her PhD thesis is entitled 'A Spoonful of Sugar: Dietary Advice and Diabetes in Britain and the US, 1946-2015' which uses oral history to trace the history of Type 2 diabetes, focusing in particular on patients' experiences and the dietary advice they have received throughout this period.

This research follows on from her Masters dissertation which concentrated on the history of dietary advice pertaining to sugar in the United States in the 20th century. Her main interests include the history of food and nutrition, in particular the ways in which diet has been perceived in health and disease throughout the 20th century.

Rachel has trained with the Scottish Oral History Centre and is now conducting oral history interviews across Scotland and the United States.

Maaike de Vries

Maaike completed a bachelor’s degree in Japan Studies and Korean Studies and a master’s degree in Korean Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Currently, she is enrolled as a dual degree PhD student at the University of Strathclyde (History) and Leiden University (Korean Studies). Her main research interests are Korean contemporary and modern history, art and visual culture, and gender.

As part of Professor James Mills Wellcome Trust Award Investigation ‘The Asian Cocaine Crisis: Pharmaceuticals, Consumers and Control in South & East Asia c1900-1945’, her individual research focuses on the consumption of intoxicants in colonial Korea (1910-1945).

In particular, she is exploring the relation between gender, class, modernity, independence, global and local identity and the consumption of cocaine. For her research, she uses a combination of archival research and an analysis of visual and literary sources.

Simon Walker

Simon is a third year PhD candidate at the University of Strathclyde. He has a Masters of Science in Health History and is currently undertaking research in First World War medical military history for a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

This current research utilises a bottom up approach to investigate how British solders' bodies and identities were created, conditioned and controlled over the course of the First World War.

He has also written on the role of Army Chaplains within a medical role in the war, presents a public engagement web series on soldiers' food on YouTube called Feedingunderfireand has studied at length and presented on the history of inoculation. More widely his particular research interests include medicine, masculinity, military history, food, religion, variety performances (magic, comedy and theatre), social construction, power and oral history.

Read about Simon's reasons for taking on a postgraduate degree here.