Dr Frances Houghton

Simon Research Fellow

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  • MA (History), University of Edinburgh 2005-2009
  • MSc (Research) (Modern British History), University of Edinburgh 2009-2010
  • PhD (History), University of Edinburgh 2010-2015

I began my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Edinburgh in 2005, and enjoyed it so much that I completed my MSc (2009-2010) and PhD at the university. Funded by a Principal's Career Development Scholarship my doctoral research focused on British veterans' military memoirs of the Second World War.  I held two temporary posts as Teaching Fellow in British Social History at the University of Edinburgh in 2015 and 2016, and also worked as an instructor on the Lothians Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS) in 2013 and 2015. I joined the University of Manchester as a temporary Lecturer in Modern British History in 2016, teaching in this role for the next three years. In 2019, I was delighted to be awarded the three-year Simon Research Fellowship at the University of Manchester, for my project 'The Modern Mind at Sea: Medical Care and Masculine Culture in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.' In 2019, my doctoral research was published as The Veterans' Tale: British Military Memoirs of the Second World War (Cambridge University Press). 

As a cultural-military historian of war in the twentieth century, I specialise in the experience, representation, and memory of Britain's armed forces during the Second World War. My wider research interests lie in themes of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, memory, remembrance and commemoration, written auto/biographical narratives, oral history, prisoners of war, medical humanities, and military/naval experience. I am particularly interested in the experiences of medical personnel and patients at sea, and am currently researching medical care and masculine culture in the RN between 1939-45.

 My monograph, The Veterans' Tale, has received several prestigious prizes, including the Society for Army Historical Research's Templer First Book Prize (2019) and the University of Manchester's RSSG Excellence Award for 'Best Outstanding Output' (2020). It was also shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize (2020).

I have also worked as Historical Consultant for the BBC's Antiques Roadshow: VE Day Special (May 2020), and published in popular historical magazines including History Today and The Historian. I am particularly enthusiastic about using my research to connect with local communities/audiences, and am active in conducting Widening Participation work with local schools in Greater Manchester. I am also part of the Imperial War Museum's focus group creating digital engagement for a project on 'War and Conflict: Connecting, sharing, learning: sustaining relationships between collections and older communities during the COVID-19 pandemic' (2020-21).





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