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Lecturer in Childhood Studies, University of Essex

I am a Lecturer in Childhood Studies at the University of Essex, based in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies. I joined Essex in 2023. I am an interdisciplinary researcher in childhood studies, literature, and psychoanalysis, and have worked extensively on trauma. I was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for my MA and PhD.

My monograph, Parents and Children in the Mid-Victorian Novel: Traumatic Encounters and the Formation of Family, was published in 2020. Here I create an original argument about the history of trauma. I study trauma in a dual time frame: the mid-Victorian period and the later development of psychoanalysis. I argue that the mid-Victorian novel anticipates psychoanalytic concepts of trauma, pushing beyond contemporary medical models. Mid-Victorian novels present their protagonists in a state of damage, provoked and defined by the conditions of the mid-century family. The cross-generational relationship is represented as formative and traumatising. I create new readings of Emily and Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot.

I have published articles and chapters on Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Charlotte Brontë, Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalysis, comparative literature, and gender theory. My book expands this, taking in the history of science, Romanticism, Victorian literature and culture, and trauma theory.

Between 2013-2016, I held lectureships in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Kings College London and Queen Mary University of London. Building on my perennial interest in the clinical and therapeutic, I trained to be a social worker in 2017. Before coming to the University of Essex, I was the Clinical Service Lead in a specialist therapeutic service supporting children in care and adopted children. I remain involved in social work training and learning events.

My current major research project is Childhood Vision, Testimony, and Bearing Witness. Here I mediate between my academic and clinical work, thinking about the way in which creativity can provoke, interrupt, or disrupt medico-legal constructions of childhood. I am interested in the positioning of children in legal and clinical spaces, and how this relates to the representation of children in literature, psychoanalysis, and other modes of cultural production.


  • 2023–present
    Lecturer in Childhood Studies, University of Essex
  • 2014–2016
    Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Queen Mary University of London
  • 2013–2014
    Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Kings College London


  • 2020 
    University of Bedfordshire, MSc Advanced Child Protection Social Work
  • 2009 
    University of Warwick, PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies
  • 2005 
    University of Warwick, MA in English and Comparative Literary Studies

Grants and Contracts

  • 2005
    PhD funding for Victorian Familial Enigmas: Inheritance and Influence
    Funding Source:
    Arts and Humanities Research Council