I am a Research Associate on the Newcastle University project ‘Conflict, Intimacy and Military Wives: A Lively Geopolitics’ at Newcastle University led by Dr Alice Cree. Through my research I am committed to uncovering women’s stories of conflict, whether as military partners or as combatants, in order to question gendered understandings of how we know war.
I am currently working with military partners through participatory theatre workshops to explore how conflict translates to domestic and intimate settings in order to destabilise masculinised narratives of war. I am also in the latter stages of my PhD entitled: ‘What did YOU do in the war, Mummy? British women’s experiences of the front-line, 1948-2014’. This study explores how the British Army has attempted to control women’s war labour and how women have negotiated their participation, through the lens of the British counterinsurgency campaigns of Malaya, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. I am fascinated by what a critical examination of the lived experiences of female combatants and military partners can tell us about institutional culture and gendered operational policies and how discursive constructions of women as combatants and partners are used to establish boundaries to frontline combat or the military community, determining who is permitted to legitimately narrate war stories.
Drawing on my background as a former servicewoman, I have employed creative methods, from music, video and photography to help me to reflect on my own military service and to navigate my – sometimes awkward – position in relation to feminism and military power. These reflections have led me to writing variously on the critical voice of the veteran researcher, critical thinking in the Armed Forces and the ethics of military research.
I am also the Co-Chair of the Defence Research Network (defenceresnet.org), a collection of interdisciplinary Masters, PhD and early career researchers, focused on a variety of defence, security and military related topics in relation to policy, strategy, history, culture and society.
I would love to hear from you so please get in touch if you would like to discuss my research or share experiences and ideas.
Check out this film for a 3 minute digest of my research: