Meet Our PhD Students: Jane Mackelworth

Credit: Joanne O’Brien

Jane Mackelworth is a PhD student in the Centre for the History of the Emotions and the Centre for Studies of Home

Jane Mackelworth is in the final stages of writing up her PhD thesis: ‘Sapphic Love and Desire in Britain, 1900-1950.’ Her PhD is funded by the Centre for the History of the Emotions and the Centre for Studies of Home. Her research looks at how a small number of British women wrote about Sapphic love and desire in diaries, confessional memoirs and letters in the first half of the twentieth century. Her research suggests that we must look beyond the language and conceptual framework of sexology when seeking to understand how women represented and understood their same-sex love affairs in the first half of the twentieth century. Prior to her PhD Jane obtained an MA in Historical Research at Birkbeck, University of London. She did her MA dissertation on the subjectivity of suffragette and actress Vera ‘Jack’ Holme (1881-1969) who also features in her current research.

Jane is also an assistant editor at NOTCHES; the peer-reviewed, collaborative and international history of sexuality blog. She is also a co-convenor of the London based IHR History of Sexuality seminar series. In February 2016 she co-edited a special edition of the Women’s History Review: ‘Love, Desire and Melancholy: Inspired by Constance Maynard’ and co-wrote the introduction to the special issue: ‘Inspired by Constance Maynard: exploring women’s sexual, emotional and religious lives through their writing.’ The special issue will shortly be published in book form by Routledge. Jane is also interested in public engagement. She developed and set up the award winning ‘Love in Objects’ project and exhibition in collaboration with artists at the Bromley by Bow Centre in east London. In 2015 she worked in partnership with Dr Sally Holloway to set up the Reading Emotions community book group in east London. The group read popular and forgotten novels by women on the subject of love over the last three hundred years.

Prior to starting her PhD Jane worked in the charity sector, and has many years’ experience in developing projects and securing funding from statutory sources, individuals, companies and, charitable trusts. She worked most recently as Development Director at the Bromley by Bow Centrein east London.

Her research interests more widely are the history of gender and sexuality; the history of the emotions; the history of magic and magical beliefs; the significance of material culture in historical research; and the history of beliefs.