School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Dr Wendy Ugolini awarded an AHRC Research Grant

Dr Wendy Ugolini has been awarded a major Research Grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The School is delighted to announce that Dr Wendy Ugolini has been awarded a large AHRC Research Grant, as Principal Investigator, for the three-year project, ‘Beyond Borders: The Second World War, National Identities and Empire in the UK’. The project will be undertaken with Co-Investigators, Professor Martin Johnes of Swansea University and Nadine Wright of the Imperial War Museum.

The project is the first comparative study to integrate England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales and their wartime relationships to Britishness and the British Empire into a single frame.  It seeks to recover how the peoples of the UK conceptualised their national identity in wartime, whether as imperial, multinational or singular, and the extent to which this shifted as they moved across the Empire at war. Adopting a four-nation approach, it examines military and civilian migration within the UK, then moves in concentric circles outwards to address imperial encounters, amongst service personnel and civilian workforces, in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It then traces the return flow of peoples, incorporating the post-war migratory movement of colonial and Commonwealth veterans into the UK. At the same time, it takes into account the ethnic and racial diversity of the UK’s wartime population as well as within the British Empire. A major part of the project is to examine how, in the ways in which post-war colonial and Commonwealth migrants who settled in the UK memorialised their war and how the war has been remembered within the four constituent nations of the UK, particularly following and in relation to political devolution and campaigns for national sovereignty and independence.

HCA Dr Wendy Ugolini

Dr Ugolini said, "In the UK, the topic of the Second World War paradoxically feels familiar whilst remaining largely unknown. Many of the tensions facing the UK today, particularly over its national and racial pluralities, were present during the war itself. By exploring how those tensions and identities were understood and navigated by ordinary people, through tracing global wartime mobility, the project seeks to further historicize understandings of the UK’s diversity. My colleagues and I are delighted to have received this significant award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and very much appreciate their support."

The project will create a UK directory of Second World War oral history datasets across the UK relating to the Second World War and, in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, will produce new resources for schools addressing the Second World War histories of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the British Empire.


Dr Ugolini's staff profile