Sam Grinsell, Chair


I am a second year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, studying British Imperial Architecture of the Nile Valley. I studied Ancient History and History at the University of Leicester as an undergraduate before spending a few years in the wilderness of low-end employment. I returned to Leicester for an MA in Urban History and discovered a fascination with the role of the built environment in the construction of power. I am also interested in the role of digital technologies in education, and have worked for IT Services at the University of Leicester and Technology Enhanced Learning at St Mary’s University. I enjoy exploring the pubs, hills, architecture and coastline of Edinburgh.


Krysten Blackstone, Deputy Chair


I am a second year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, where my research is focused on the relationship between morale and identity during the American Revolution. While I completed both my Masters and Undergraduate degrees in Edinburgh as well, I hail from Maine, USA – five hours north of the nearest lighthouse, but where potato fields are ubiquitous.   My favourite pastime is explaining to people why, as an American, I chose to study American History, in Scotland.  When not doing that, I love baking copious amounts of pumpkin-based sweets to compliment my frequent coffee breaks, which I use as opportunities to discuss my enduring love for Thomas Paine.

Maurice Casey, Contributions Editor


I am a first year DPhil historian at Oxford University. I am originally from the small town of Cahir in Tipperary, Ireland. My research explores the international connections of interwar Irish radicalism. Essentially, I am interested in the non-political history of politics and exploring the everyday experience of radical activists. When I am not reading the (frequently awful) poetry of far left activists from the 1930s or attempting to learn Russian, I enjoy hill-walking, video games and photoshopping myself into historical scenarios.


Julie Leiper, Contributions Editor

I am a first year PhD student studying Mental Health part time by distance learning at Lancaster University. I am interested in Mental Capacity and the positive risk-taking behaviours of patients with severe and enduring mental health problems.  My research is at an embryonic stage which, I imagine seems strange for a PhD student. This is due to the mode of delivery of my course (…and my indecision).  The other side of life for me is parenting a couple of smalls, which is pretty time consuming. I do enjoy reading cheery dystopian novels, experimenting with strange food combinations and wistfully looking at the grass, which always seems to be greener…


Vanessa Tautter, Contributions Editor

I have always been fascinated by the impact of the past on contemporary society and this is why I have just begun my PhD research on right-wing memory at the University of Graz, Austria. Previously to that, I worked as a History and English teacher and studied English and History in Graz, with stints abroad – I love travelling! – at Queen’s University Belfast, at Maynooth University and at West Virginia University. I also enjoy hiking, frequently spend time proof-reading all my friends’ papers and am currently organizing the legendary international and interdisciplinary student conference “Transcending Borders – Redrawing Perspectives” – apply!

Laura Harrison, Publicity Editor


I am a third year PhD student primarily interested in cultural memory and the commemoration of the medieval past. I am a native of Peterborough, Canada, where I learned to compulsively apologise and value maple syrup above all else. After completing my BA (Hons) and BEd at Brock University, I came to the University of Edinburgh for my MSc.  I stayed at Edinburgh for my PhD, where I am researching 19th and 20th century commemorations of the Scottish Wars of Independence.  Outside of my research, I am a co-founder of the Scottish History Network, one of the organisers for the ‘War Through Other Stuff’ conference, and attempting to keep some semblance of work/life balance. Find me on twitter.

Ian MacNeil, Publicity Editor

Hi! I am a second year PhD student at The University of Glasgow. My research explores how sport and sporting settings might be used to support the resettlement and desistance of young people after they are released from prison. I completed my undergraduate degree in Community Education at The University of Edinburgh, and have a Masters of Social Research from University College London’s Institute of Education. At various times in my life, I have worked as a wine merchant, a youth worker, and spent several years living in China. I also once had a job sticking price stickers onto CDs. When not fretting about my thesis, I am kept busy by my young son, lifting heavy objects in the gym, and obsessing about various sports involving balls (#GoBills). You can find me on Twitter under @IanAlexanderMac

Richard Parfitt, Topical Editor


I am a third year DPhil historian at Linacre College, Oxford. My thesis looks at the relationship between musical culture and Irish Nationalist Politics between 1848 and 1998, and I spend my weekends pretending to work while watching football, cricket, rugby and F1. I also waste a lot of time on twitter. You can read more about my academic work on my academia profile.

Drew Thomas, Technology Editor


Drew Thomas is a PhD student at the University of St Andrews. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Philosophy from Saint Louis University and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University. His PhD is a study of the rise of the Wittenberg print industry during Martin Luther’s Reformation. He is currently the Communications Manager for the Universal Short Title Catalogue and the Digital Developer for the Caroline Minuscule Mapping Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @DrewBThomas or on