I’m a first year PhD student studying at Warwick University, living in Leamington. My research explores ‘sunbed addictions’ in Britain (notice the quotation marks — the physiological addiction caused by the UVA/UVB rays has long been debated by medical researchers and remains under-researched!).
My plan is to first evaluate the geographic, economic, socio-cultural and policy-related factors that led to the prevailing popularity of sunbeds since the late 1970s. And, why they became most prevalent in Liverpool, Newcastle and Blackpool compared to other regions. I’m aiming to use three exciting different approaches. The first will explore the commercial/marketing history (tanning parlours – especially the big ones – can be easily situated alongside Starbucks and Macdonalds because of their impressive franchising strategies!). The second explores the visual culture of sunbed use – over time they shifted from being a ‘method to improve health’, to then ‘addictive’, and eventually ‘life-threating’. And finally, I hope to find many willing to give interviews about sunbeds in the 1970s/80s/90s – either users, medical researchers or sunbed shop owners!
Generally, I’m also fascinated by late twentieth and early twenty-first century British history of:
- addiction, the body and consumption;
- culture-bound syndromes (‘illnesses’ and conditions that are caused by contradictory values in cultures and the environments, for instance, hysteria, chlorosis, eating disorders…);
- the socio-cultural framing of ‘diseases’ and ‘disorders’;
- gender inequities in mental health and illness (anorexia and bulimia in men);
- skin care, health and medicine (including BIG PHARMA!);
- Visual Culture of commercial adverts, addiction and public health campaigns;
- oral history (interviews).
So this blog is likely to discuss those matters above (hence my first blog post).
More about me …
- Originally from Nottingham, I’ve also lived in Liverpool (undergraduate studies) and Melbourne, Australia (study abroad scheme – 2013).
- I studied History and Music (Flute performance, Classical, Opera and Philosophy!) at the University of Liverpool (2011-2014). After this I became a Classroom Learning Assistant at Toot Hill Secondary School and College – basically a cover teacher and mentor (2014-2015). More recently, I completed an MA in the History of Medicine (2015-2016).
- I’ve done various forms of volunteer work. From helping Belvoir Castle (Nottingham) as a tour guide and flautist for their Christmas Fantasia (December, 2010). To a fortnight at Boots Archive in Nottingham for Sophie Clapp (Summer, 2015).
- Most gratefully and very kindly, the Wellcome Trust have funded my MA and PhD studies.
Please feel free to contact me: either through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or this website’s contact page.
And here is my more formal ‘academic profile‘ linked to uni.