Angela Grainger BA MA

Research Degree Student at the Centre for History in Public Health


After a BA in History at King's College, Cambridge, I joined The Women's Library at London Metropolitan University, where I worked in fundraising, audience development and exhibition research. While employed there, I completed an MA by Research in Modern British Women's History under Clare Midgley, Katharina Rowold and Lucy Bland, was a founder member of the History of Feminism Network, and became interested in the history of cancer as a women's cause. I came to the School in 2010 to further this interest and study for a PhD under Dr Alex Mold at the Centre of History in Public Health. My thesis is entitled "Breast Cancer Activism in Britain, 1967-1997: Gender and Voluntarism in Health" and is supported by the Wellcome Trust.




My teaching experience ranges from seminar leadership on the School's MSc module "History and Health" to exhibition tour guiding for a general public audience. While employed at The Women's Library, I developed, researched and delivered various public programme events, including archive handling sessions on topics including Greenham Common and Millicent Garrett Fawcett, and researched and facilitated reading group sessions on books such as Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth. I have also presented to MA Arts and Heritage Management students on audience development in libraries and museums, supervised student placements and research projects in heritage settings, and appeared on BBC radio and television discussing the history of women's magazines. 


My PhD looks at the emergence of breast cancer as a charitable cause in Britain from 1967 to 1997, and through this the relationship between gender and voluntarism in health. As part of my thesis, I explore issues including the role of feminism in health campaigning, the place of the public in post-war voluntarism, and changing configurations of breast cancer risk. I retain a professional interest in gender in public history, and in the library, archive and museum sector, especially the future of voluntary sector archives. 

Research outputs and presentations:

"From self-examination to the #nomakeupselfie: breast cancer awareness in historical perspective"
Presentation to Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference, University of Exeter, 2014

"'Your life in your hands’: women’s cancer screening campaigns and the creation of 'risky subjects' in Britain, 1960s-1980s"
Presentation to European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Conference on Risk and Disaster in Medicine and Health, Lisbon, 2013

"'Your life in your hands': voluntary action on breast cancer screening and the creation of women at risk, 1960s-80s"
Presentation to Voluntary Action History Society's Fifth International Conference, University of Huddersfield, 2013

"'Calling all women': women’s organisations and the campaign for the cervical smear test in 1960s Britain"
Presentation to Gendering the History of Charity, University of Huddersfield, 2012

(With the History of Feminism Collective) "Rethinking the history of feminism"
Co-edited special issue of Women: A Cultural Review, 21:3 (2010), 266-278

"'Calling all women': women’s organisations and the campaign for the cervical smear test in 1960s Britain"
Presentation to Politics and Practices: The History of Post-War Women’s Health, University of Manchester, 2010

(With Gail Cameron) "Between the covers: women's magazines and their readers"
Exhibition at The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University, 2008

"Turning faces to the future: postmodernism and women's history"
Presentation to History of Feminism Network, London, 2009

"Why women's museums? Why The Women's Library?"
Presentation to Dea-föreningen för Kvinnomuseer (Dea Society for Women’s Museums) international conference, Stadsmuseet, Stockholm, 2007

"Campaigns and controls: prostitution in twentieth-century Britain"
Exhibition timeline for Gulbenkian-prize nominated exhibition, "Prostitution: What's Going On?, The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University, 2006 

Research areas

  • Gender
  • Public health history


  • History

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Cancer


  • United Kingdom

Other interests

  • Voluntarism in health
  • Women's health
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