Staff profile

Dr Cath Feely


Senior Lecturer in History

Cath Feely




College of Arts, Humanities and Education



Research centre

Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Senior Lecturer in History, with research interests in nineteenth and twentieth-century British Cultural and Social History. 

Teaching responsibilities

I typically teach across the History programmes, from Foundation to PhD level.

At undergraduate level, these often include:

At postgraduate level, I teach on both the MA History and MA Public History and Heritage. I also supervise research projects, independent studies, public history consultancies and MA dissertations. I am currently supervising PhD projects on nineteenth- and twentieth- British social and cultural history.

In 2017, I led the development of an MA Public History and Heritage, delivered in partnership with heritage organisations, with a view to equipping students with both the research and practical skills to enrich the local historical culture; graduates are now working as researchers, curators, audience specialists, archivists, textile conservators and freelance consultants, all across the region. In 2017, I was awarded Lecturer of the Year by the University of Derby in recognition of my excellence and innovation in involving partners with the design of this degree.

Professional interests

I am strongly committed to exploring how history and heritage can promote civic participation. The use and communication of history is a thread running through my research, teaching and public engagement and in 2020 I coordinated the Derby ‘hub’ of Being Human, the national festival of the humanities. This involved producing a series of podcasts and virtual events with Derby Museums, Derbyshire Record Office, Derby Local Studies Library and the National Trust. 

You can access our 'Global Derbyshire in 10 Objects' short podcasts on Spotify

We produced three live-streamed events that are still freely available to watch online, all in partnership with regional heritage organisations and our Lights, Sound and Live Events students: The Museum of Me, A Whole New World: Maps of the Derwent Valley Mills and Parts Unknown: The Extraordinary Maps of Hermann Moll.

I am a core member of the University's CivicLAB research group and help to deliver the University's Civic University Agreement in the city of Derby and the county of Derbyshire. I enjoy consulting for archives, museums, heritage organisations, artists and anyone interested in participatory research and engagement with history and heritage. I have particularly worked with the Derbyshire Record Office and Derby Theatre in widening access to their collections and am an academic advisor of several archive projects. I am also currently a trustee of the Arkwright Society at Cromford Mills (2021-).

Research interests

My research interests lie at the intersection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British social, cultural and intellectual history. Put simply, I am interested in how ideas are consumed, adapted and used in modern Britain. In the past, this has largely led to published work on the history of publishing, bookselling, the popular press, reading and writing.

My teaching in public history has led to the role of historical storytelling and heritage in civic life and promotion in the interwar period. I am currently developing a research project on the role of provincial towns and cities and the marketing of Empire, which will cultimate in a co-produced display at Derby's Museum of Making on Derby's involvement in the British Empire Exhibition of 1924, scheduled for 2024. 

I also conduct pedagogic research with a particular focus on civic engagement and creativity in learning and teaching.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

Selected pedagogic presentations

Selected conference and seminar research papers

Additional interests and activities

I particularly enjoy collaborating with artists to explore historical topics and to make the 'stuff' of history accessible in a playful way. 

Examples include:

In my 'spare' time, I am an amateur printmaker, and this has had an impact on how I approach experimentation and creativity in historical research too.

In the media

I have appeared regularly on both local and national radio, talking about topics as diverse as 1950s housewives, the 1966 World Cup and the history of mobile libraries. These have included both live and prerecorded interviews.

Examples include:

Recent publications