Postgraduate Prize Winners 2021

The Social History Society has regular prizes for its postgraduate members. In pre-COVID times, these take the form of prizes for the best paper and poster presented at our annual conference. This year, we re-opened our Postgraduate Exchange Prize, inviting blog submissions relating to our conference plenary on ‘Women and Work’.

The entries were judged by the Executive Committee (Professor Naomi Tadmor, Dr Georgina Brewis, Dr Jennifer Evans and Dr Henry Irving).

The winner of the 2021 Social History Society Postgraduate Prize is:

Grace Whorrall-Campbell (University of Cambridge) for the blog ‘Breaking down from the ‘double load’: women workers’ mental health in 1940s England’.

This blog considers treatments for ‘industrial neurosis’ as depicted in the 1947 short film Rehabilitation at Roffey Park. The judges described the blog as ‘captivating’, noting that it added a new dimension to the idea of a double load. They praised the clear connection to the conference plenary and the reflective asides about research process.

Grace told us that she was thrilled to have been awarded the prize, saying:

It’s been another unusual year, without the same possibilities for sharing research, so I’m very grateful to the Social History Society for providing me with this opportunity! I’ve relished the chance to think about the longer history of work, gender and mental health.”

She also amplified the blog’s thoughtful link between past and present, telling us that:

The global pandemic has made me more sensitive to the emotional demands placed upon workers during World War Two. I hope my research demonstrates there was more to the emotional experience of war than the ‘Blitz spirit’ and a ’stiff upper lip’!”

The runner up is:

Urvi Khaitan (University of Oxford) for the blog ‘Unheard and Unseen: Mining Women in British India’.

This blog shows how legislative changes concerning mining women in British India by-passed the women concerned. The judges commended Urvi Khaitan’s desire to give voice to the mining women and called the blog ‘a fascinating account of an overlooked aspect of women’s work’.

Urvi said:

I am so pleased to have been awarded the runner up position in this prize. It’s been a strange year doing a PhD online and from home in India, so I was surprised and delighted to receive this. I am very grateful for the encouragement of my work.”