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Helen Kingstone

Dr Helen Kingstone

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Phone: +44 (0)113 283 7100 ext.521

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Education / Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Leeds

    Victorian Negotiations with the Recent Past: History, Fiction, Utopia

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford

    BA History and English

  • Master of Arts, University of York


Helen Kingstone is a graduate of Oxford, York and Leeds universities, and is currently Postdoctoral Research Associate at Leeds Trinity, where she is also Co-Deputy Director of the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies. Her research examines the relationship between memory and history. Her first book, Victorian Narratives of the Recent Past: memory, history, fiction (Palgrave, 2017) focuses on nineteenth-century approaches to narrating the recent past. It examines what makes narrating the period within living memory so problematic, and showcases the divergent responses of historians and novelists.


Her postdoctoral research takes her interest in how people perceive the relationship between ‘contemporary history’ and ‘everyday life’ in new directions. She has developed a specialism in oral history, working on a cross-departmental project to interview the founders, former staff and alumni of Leeds Trinity University as it moves towards its 50th anniversary. Audio clips from this project can be found here. She is currently working with Trev Broughton (University of York) on a collaborative project to examine perceptions of contemporaneity among the unusually eminent generation born, like Queen Victoria, in 1819. Also in development is a project with colleagues at Durham’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies and in the Northern Nineteenth-Century Networkon nineteenth-century interdisciplinary practice. 

Her next long-term research project will bring together textual and oral history methodologies to consider how societies in different periods perceive and write their contemporary history. Comparing British experiences at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through three comparative case-studies (examining collective biography, history textbooks, and how ordinary people see their place in history), the project asks: how do we conceive and articulate historical narratives of the world we live in?


She and colleagues including Sam Durrant (University of Leeds) have established several literature reading groups for refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds, in collaboration with charities and municipal libraries, and have recently been awarded Wellcome Trust funding to expand the scheme.


She has been organiser of several conferences on Victorian Studies. In April 2015, she was co-organiser of Paraphernalia! Victorian Objects, which acted to launch the Northern Nineteenth-Century Network. In August 2015, she was co-convenor, with Rosemary Mitchell, of the British Association for Victorian Studies annual conference, Victorian Age(s). She is also currently local liaison for the Oral History Society conference 2017, which takes place at Leeds Trinity University.


Research interests

My interdisciplinary research engages with questions about how we conceive of and write history. My current work considers the issues involved in writing contemporary history, and examines their distinctive manifestation in the Victorian period. On the way, I examine both fiction and non-fiction, and engage with questions of gender and genre.

Teaching and Administration

I teach across both History and English subject areas.

Level 4: History in Contemporary Society (HIS4822); Turbulence and Transformation: the French Revolution (HIS4772); Roots of Genre (ENG4882)
Level 6: Presenting the Past (HIS6822); Victorian Literature (ENG6522); dissertation supervision
MA in Victorian Studies: The Victorians; (VIC7003) Victorian Identities - Gender (VIC7045/7083)