The Centre has directors based in our partner institutions:


Dr. Julia Laite (Birkbeck)

Julia Laite is a senior lecturer in modern history JuliaLaiteat the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology in Birkbeck, University of London.  Her research focuses on women, migration, and intimate labour in the British world.  She has a strong interest in public history and history and policy.   Julia is the author of Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens:  Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960, published in 2012.  Her articles have appeared in History Workshop Journal, the Journal of British Studies, the International Review of Social History, and Past & Present. She is the Principle Investigator on a three-year AHRC research project exploring ‘Trafficking, Smuggling, and Illicit Migration in Gendered and Historical Perspective’ (  Her next book will be a microhistory of one case of trafficking in the early twentieth century world.

Julia Laite is currently on research leave and is running the North Kensington Archive and Heritage Project.  Professor Matt Cook will be Acting Director during this time.

Dr. Nadia Valman (Queen Mary)

valmanNadia Valman is senior lecturer in the Department of English at Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture and the co-editor of seven books on Jews and literature including Nineteenth-Century Jewish Literature: A Reader, Amy Levy: Critical Essays, and The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures.

Professor Matt Cook (Birkbeck)

image_previewMatt Cook is a cultural historian specializing in the history of sexuality and the history of London in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has a background in literary and cultural theory and strong interests in cross-disciplinary work and public and community history.  He was Birkbeck Director of the RSHC from 2010-2017 and acts as interim director to cover periods of leave.  He is an editor of History Workshop Journal, and is currently Principal Investigator on a major AHRC-funded project, ‘Sexualities and Localities’.  Matt has advised on a number of community and oral history projects including for the Pink Singers and Stonewall, and the nightclub Duckie. He was an advisor on Heritage England’s Pride of Place project and is currently working with the National Trust on a new LGBTQ guidebook.  He appears regularly on radio, occasionally on TV, and has acted as a consultant on a number of series and documentaries.

Dr. Katy Pettit, Centre Administrator


Our Team

Many of our team members are PhD students, early career historians and historians who do not hold full time and/or permanent posts in universities.  These historians contribute immensely to our events and programs and to the spirit of the Centre. The Centre endeavours to recognize their contribution by providing them with resources to organize their own events, with academic advice and support, and with an intellectual home regardless of changes in career or university.