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Katherine Waugh

Katherine Waugh

Project title

The Industrial Past in the Deindustrialised Present: A Cross-Generational Oral History of County Durham Mining Towns.


  • Dr. Matt Perry (Newcastle University)

  • Dr. Vicky Long (Newcastle University)

  • Dr. Carol Stephenson (Northumbria University)

  • Dr Andrzej Olechnowicz (Durham University)

Katherine Waugh

Project description

My research investigates the cross-generational politics of deindustrialisation in County Durham mining towns. It seeks to understand the continuities and changes in the social structure of mining towns by examining cross-generational dynamics, to explore how the deindustrialisation of the mid-1980s continues to shape the village communities in the present. From the rise of the neo-liberal politics that drove deindustrialisation, to present day austerity politics, the North East of England has found itself vulnerable to the pressures of economic shock and marginalised within the global economy. More recently, former industrial areas have been under renewed scrutiny following the decision to exit the European Union, and the rise of far-right politics, and my research seeks to place such decisions within historical context.

In short, my research examines how industrial closure and the memory of the industrial past has shaped the politics and culture at the micro-scale of personal experience and everyday life.  To do so, I use oral history to gather personal testimony to understand, in the most fundamental terms, how deindustrialisation changed how individuals interacted with their town, region and state, through expressions of identity, politics and community involvement.


  • BA (Hons) History- University of Manchester, 2014-2017
  • MA Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, University of Manchester, 2017-2018.

Funding Awards

  • AHRC Northern Bridge Consortium, 2019 – 2023.
  • HCRI PGT Outstanding Achievement Award, 2018.
  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute MA scholarship, 2017-2018.

Other Roles

Postgraduate Forum Committee- Journal Editor, Social Media Editor.

Conference Papers

  • '"Coal mining's gone, the communities are still here": Cross-generational experiences of deindustrialisation in County Durham', Postgraduate Forum Seminar Series, November 2020.