Rachel Collett

Rachel Collett

Twitter: @racheljcollett
Email: rachel.collett@liverpool.ac.uk

Thesis Title

The Merseyside Women’s Movement, c.1969-1990s


University of Liverpool


Dr Samantha Caslin
Dr Myriam Wilks-Heeg

Research Summary

My PhD uses archival research, original oral history interviews, and regional and national print cultures to explore the Merseyside Women’s Liberation Movement from the late 1960s to the 1990s. The project seeks to investigate the complex dynamic between the local and national within the British WLM, recovering the neglected experiences and identities of Merseyside feminists who have remained invisible in previous historical accounts. I demonstrate the importance of local context in shaping feminist priorities and regional solidarities, highlighting a longer, more complex, and diverse narrative of women’s activism in the regions, inclusive of topics such as class, race, religion, print and artistic cultures, and activist ‘afterlives’. The project promises to make a significant contribution to histories of feminism and socialism in Liverpool and Britain in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, particularly adding to understandings of broader networks of solidarity, and the relationship between feminism and women’s wider community and cultural activism at this time.

Research Interests

Previously I studied a BA (Hons) in History (First Class) and an MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture (Distinction), both at the University of Oxford. Here I was the recipient of the Gladstone Prize for Best Undergraduate Thesis in Modern British History, the Caroline Kellett Prize in History, and Wadham College Scholarships.

Conference papers and publications

– Review of Left Feminisms: Conversations on the Personal and Political by Jo Littler, in Women’s History Review, (forthcoming 2024).
– ‘Ruling the dancefloor, organising at the bookshop: News from Nowhere and the fun of 70s feminism’, Liverpool Post, (2023)
– Review of Red Valkyries: Feminist Lessons from Five Revolutionary Women by Kristen Ghodsee, in Red Pepper, (2022)
– ‘News from Nowhere’, Left Cultures, (2022)
– ‘Sheila Rowbotham’s Dream Deferred’, Review of Daring to Hope: My Life in the 1970s by Sheila Rowbotham, in Tribune, (2021)
– ‘Chris Killip: Photographer of the Working Class’, Tribune, (2020)
– ‘Writing living history’, University of Oxford History Faculty blog, (2020).
– ‘The Creative Marriage of British Artists Ben and Winifred Nicholson’, Sotheby’s blog, (2019)

Conference papers:
– ‘Rediscovering Regional Feminism(s): The Merseyside WLM, c.1969-1990s’, at Visibility and Invisibility: Annual History Department PGR Conference, University of Liverpool, 17 May 2023.
– Beyond the Fragments: 45 Years On, forthcoming in mid-2024.- Visibility and Invisibility: Annual History Department PGRConference, University of Liverpool, 17-18 May 2023.


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