Call for Papers

Saturday 30 April 2016, 9.30-18.00, Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leicester

This workshop brings together postgraduate and early career scholars from any discipline to consider new perspectives on British welfare provision before the birth of the ‘traditional’ welfare state. We will discuss a range of topics: the nature of welfare provision, the relationships between welfare providers and welfare recipients, the quality and scale of welfare provision, topics such as eligibility and stigmatism, and concepts such as collectivism and universalism. Papers might focus on a particular form of welfare, such as healthcare, housing, education, institutionalisation and early forms of social security, how welfare was experienced by particular groups, or how welfare was provided, for instance, within or by a parish, community, family, institution, mutual aid society, voluntary organisation or charity. The papers might have a new methodological insight to share, or an unseen or digitalised collection of records to showcase which enhance our knowledge of welfare in the nineteenth and early-twentieth century. We welcome paper submissions from postgraduate and early career academics from all disciplines. We hope that this is the start of fresh, interdisciplinary conversations on welfare provision in modern Britain.

Workshop format

This workshop will consist of 15 minute papers. An academic advisor will be assigned to each session to offer comment on the papers and there will be time for questions. The workshop will end with a roundtable discussion with the aim of drawing together the themes and issues which arise throughout the day. The roundtable will start with reflections on the papers by Professor Steven King, Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. We will be encouraging the use of Twitter at this event. Our hashtag is: #b4welfare

After the workshop

We would like to continue our conversations after the event and allow people unable to attend on the day to learn more about the workshop. As such, paper presenters and discussants will be asked to write a short blog piece about their research and any insights they gained during the workshop. These will be uploaded here on the conference blog.

Call for papers deadline

Please send an email to Dr Samantha Shave ( containing a short abstract (of up to 300 words) of your paper and a short CV by 8th January 2016. You will be notified soon after this date whether your paper has been selected for the workshop. If you are selected, we would like to receive your written paper by the 25th March 2016. Attendees are also welcome to come, but please email Samantha Shave by the 25th March 2016 to reserve a place.

Travel expenses

Postgraduates and early career academics are eligible to apply for travel expenses if they are presenting a paper. Please state whether you would like this assistance in your initial email with a rough estimate of the cost

The workshop is generously supported by the University of Leicester Centre for the Medical Humanities, the Economic History Society and History Workshop Journal.