Amanda Wilkinson is passionate about history and had always wanted to teach
and conduct research. She came to Essex as a mature student to pursue her dream, and now passes
on her knowledge to the next generation.
Amanda graduated with a First in History and Sociology, followed by a Distinction in
her MA Cultural and Social History. She set her sights on a PhD but with a family to support,
self-funding wasn't an option.
The generosity of one man changed Amanda's life when she was awarded a full
Silberrad Scholarship. Essex
barrister John Silberrad left us more than £2 million in his will for PhD scholarships.
"Being awarded the Silberrad Scholarship quite literally changed my life.
It was a case of no funding, no PhD, so hearing that I had been awarded it was like being told I'd
won the lottery."
Amanda's research interest is working women in Victorian Britain. She used the 1851-1901 censuses
from England and Wales to create a new history of women's economic contribution to society and the
changing patterns in occupations available to working class women.
Amanda graduated with her PhD in 2012. She is now a research fellow in our Department
of History and has published papers on working women
in the 19th century and other subjects. She presents
at conferences, and is Deputy Director of our Centre for
Local and Regional History.
Amanda also engages the public in her work, writing a piece for The Guardian about our
of women at work or in the home, upending the idea that working women are a new phenomenon. She also
blogs and tweets
about her research.
One scholarship helped Amanda achieve the career she wanted and she is now passing on her knowledge to new
generations of students here, changing lives herself.