School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Alison Atkinson-Phillips

Oral History Research Associate


I joined the Oral History Unit and Collective at Newcastle University in January 2018, having moved from Perth, Western Australia. Before coming to Newcastle, I worked as a casual tutor and lecturer in Community Development and Professional Writing at the Faculty of Arts at Murdoch University, and in History and at the University of Western Australia.

I completed my BA(Hons) undergraduate degree in Communication & Cultural Studies at Curtin University in the 1990s, before spending a decade working as a communications professional. I re-entered academic life to complete a graduate diploma in Community Development at Murdoch University, Perth and then followed this up with a PhD at the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology, Sydney supervised by Professor Paula Hamilton. My PhD, titled 'Reasons to Remember: Public Memorials to Lived Experiences of Loss in Australia, 1985-2015', was completed in 2017.  

I am a social and cultural historian, although I prefer to work across disciplinary boundaries. My research interested include 'marginalised' histories, how difficult pasts are dealt with in the present, public art and place-based memory work. My current research project is called 'Work and After' and focusses on histories of deindustrialisation in the North East of England.

Outside of academia, I have had a long involvement in social justice advocacy at a community level, including being involved in campaigns on prison justice and responses to asylum seekers in Australia. I spend my spare time hiking and knitting (not at the same time) while hanging out with my family and our two dwarf rabbits, Dusk and Aslan.  

You can read more about the work of the Oral History Unit and Collective on The Lug blog.

Area of Expertise

Oral history, memory studies, memorialisation

Google Scholar


My current research project is called 'Work and After' and is about exploring histories of deindustrialisation in the North East, with an initial focus on shipbuilding and the life experiences of people involved in that industry.

My research practice uses oral history along with visual and other sources, and in this project I am exploring how video sources can be used.

The project will establish an archive of oral histories of industry, deindustrialisation and life after deindustrialisation.

My previous research used oral history to understand the cultural 'work' of memorials to lived experience in Australia. I continue to be interested in public art and commemorative practices in public spaces.