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Agnes Arnold-Forster

Research Fellow, History of Medicine and Healthcare, University of Bristol

I am a writer and historian of healthcare, medicine, work, and emotions. My research spans Europe and North America from the eighteenth century to the present day, but my main area of expertise is modern and contemporary British healthcare.

I received my PhD in Modern History from King's College London in 2017. My doctoral thesis has since been turned into a book, The Cancer Problem: Malignancy in Nineteenth-Century Britain, which is due to be published by Oxford University Press in January 2021. Since finishing my PhD, I worked as a research and engagement fellow on the Wellcome Trust funded project, 'Surgery & Emotion'. My second book, Cold, Hard Steel: The Surgical Stereotype Past & Present, is under contract with Manchester University Press. In September 2020, I started a new role as a research fellow at the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research at the University of Bristol. I am now running my own project called 'Working and Feeling in the Modern British Hospital'.

I am a core collaborator on two Wellcome Trust Small Grants: Healthy Scepticism (Dr Caitjan Gainty, KCL) and Senses and Modern Health/care Environments (Dr Victoria Bates, Bristol). Healthy Scepticism hopes to shed new light on the position of medicine in a sceptical world and offer a critical perspective on scepticism as a form of critical engagement. Senses and Modern Health/care Environments is exploring opportunities for collaborative research in the sensory history of hospitals and other clinical settings.


  • 2020–2021
    Early Career Research Fellow, University of Bristol
  • 2017–2020
    Research and Engagement Fellow, University of Roehampton