About Us

The Centre for Hidden Histories is one of five World War One Engagement Centres, established by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to engage with and support communities as they seek to commemorate and reflect upon the century-long legacy of the First World War.

Staffed by a consortium of academics from the universities of Nottingham, Derby, Nottingham Trent, Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan, and Goldsmith’s, the Centre for Hidden Histories has a particular interest in the themes of migration and displacement, the experience of ‘others’ from countries and regions within Europe, Asia and the Commonwealth, the impact and subsequent legacies of the war on diverse communities within Britain, remembrance and commemoration, and identity and faith.



John Beckett (Principal Investigator)

John Beckett is Professor of English Regional History at the University of Nottingham. He has vast experience of working with community groups, particularly in the area of local history, and was recently PI on a Connected Communities project relating to Nottingham’s Green Spaces. He has a long standing interest in the First World War, is supporting groups that are interested in researching their community through the war years, and is researching and writing a book on the use of propaganda during the First World War years. His article ‘Patriotism in Nottinghamshire: challenging the unconvinced, 1914-17’ was published in Midland History in 2014.

Natalie Braber (Co-Investigator)

Dr Braber is a senior lecturer in Linguistics at Nottingham Trent University. Her research focuses on language variation in the East Midlands and how speakers use language. She is also interested in how people talk about their memories, for example, collective memory, and how emotion can influence language use. She has worked on combining oral history archives and linguistic research to examine language change in a region. She is interested in ‘pit talk’ (the language of miners) in the East Midlands. Not all her work is focused on English as she has carried out research on German and Dutch.


Catherine Danks (Co-Investigator)

Dr Danks is a political historian in the Department of History at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of soviet history and contemporary Russian politics. She has recently completed a study of Russian Soldiers’ Mothers Committees and is currently working on ‘Politics-Russia’ for Pearson. She is also a founder member and treasurer of the Global Studies Association.

Paul Elliott (Co-Investigator)

Professor Elliott is a cultural geographer and historian who has worked extensively on the history of gardens, arboretums, cemeteries, crematoria and other green spaces and is particularly interested in exploring the diverse cultural meanings of the First World War and its legacies in relation to landscape history and community memorialisation.

Mike Heffernan (Co-Investigator)

Professor Heffernan is a historical geographer whose work has explored the themes of landscape, war and memory in 20th century Europe, notably through a recent volume on Cultural Memories (2011). He has worked on several public engagement projects with museums, galleries and libraries, locally in the East Midlands and nationally, notably through an ongoing AHRC Network on ‘Re-Enacting the Silk Road’ that has involved exhibitions, dance and theatre in Nottingham and London.

Nigel Hunt (Co-Investigator)

Dr Hunt is a psychologist specialising in traumatic stress, particularly war trauma. He has been involved in research projects relating to British veterans from World War II to Afghanistan, and veterans and civilians from other countries, such as Iraq, Bosnia, Finland, China, South Sudan and Chile. His concern is the barriers to traumatic memories being resolved through the development of narrative. Treating traumatic stress is about helping people make sense of their experiences, to develop narratives.

Claudia Sternberg (Co-Investigator)

Dr Sternberg is a cultural historian in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. She also leads the strand for culture and the arts at Legacies of War, Leeds University’s WWI centenary hub, and is a member of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and the Leeds Migration Research Network. Her teaching and research focus on migration and diasporas in Europe and the memory culture of the First World War.

David Killingray (Consultant)

Professor Killingray’s research interests concern 19th-20th century Africa and Caribbean, the black diaspora English local history, modern church and mission history. He continues to actively research on Africa, the Caribbean, imperialism – and its aftermath, Christian missionary activity, the Black diaspora, and English local history. He is also a Senior Research Fellow, in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, within the School of Advanced Study, London, and an Honorary Professor of History at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (2010-13).

Michael Noble (Community Liaison)

Prior to working for the Centre for Hidden Histories, Michael Noble spent many years in the adult education and skills sector, working in partnerships and community liaison roles. He has a BA in History and Politics from De Montfort University and an MA in Victorian Studies from the University of Leicester.

Larissa Allwork (Impact Fellow)

Dr Allwork is the Centre for Hidden Histories Impact Fellow for 2016.  Larissa received her BA History and MSt History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of Oxford and completed her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London as a Thomas Holloway Scholar in Modern History in 2011. She is the author of, Holocaust Remembrance between the National and the Transnational (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).  Larissa has lectured in History at the Universities of Leicester and Northampton and has acted as a Research Coordinator on the EU Marie Curie Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging Initial Training Network (2012-2015).  She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.


For more information on the other four Engagement Centres, please see the links below.

Voices of War and Peace

Gateways to the First World War

Living Legacies 1914-18

Everyday Lives in War