• Room 01.004 - 17 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of:
- Urban culture from the late 19th to mid-20th century in Britain, the USA, and Ireland
- The nature of citizenship and belonging
- The place of the past, and especially of historical re-enactment
- Sexuality and queerness


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

I am currently working on a book about Belfast's queer men c. 1890 to 1960, and their experiences of things like cruising the city centre for sex, forging friendships with other queer men, and how they were either rejected or accepted by their families and communities. I have written a short article about some of this research for Gay Times (Jan, 2019 - if you would like a digital copy, please do get in contact via email), given a public talk on Belfast between the 1890s and 1910s that is available online, and I wrote an article on Belfast during the First World War in Irish Historical Studies (2021). I often tweet about my research on @tomhulme87.

This work I am doing in LGBT history is funded by the AHRC (2022-2025) as part of the project Queer Northern Ireland: Sexuality before Liberation, which I run with Dr Leanne McCormick (Ulster University). Dr Maurice Casey (QUB) and Dr Charlie Lynch (Ulster University) are working on the project too, and we are partnered with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the LGBT organisation Cara Friend. We are at an early stage, but for more information you can listen to this BBC Podcast or watch this short video. For media/collaboration please do get in touch!

I took a slightly circuitous route into queer Irish history. I was trained as an urban historian at the Centre for Urban History at the University of Leicester, and most of my previous work has been about modern cities in Britain and the USA. In my first book, After the Shock City: Urban Culture and the Making of Modern Citizenship (Boydell, 2019), I used the former 'shock cities' of Manchester and Chicago to understand both the theory and reality of civic belonging. I covered the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, and ranged broadly across philosophy, festivals, re-enactments, youth culture, and welfare. It has been widely reviewed: Urban HistoryJournal of British StudiesJournal of Contemporary HistoryEnglish Historical ReviewJournal of American HistoryEducational Science Review [German]Cultural & Social History, and History: the Journal of the Historical Association. I expanded my interest in how cities are governed by co-editing a volume with Professor Simon Gunn: New Approaches to Governance and Rule in Urban Europe since 1500 (Routledge, 2020).

Part of my earliest work on cities included a focus on historical re-enactment, something which I then looked at in depth when I was a postdoc on an AHRC-funded collaborative project about 'historical pageants' (run by Professor Paul Readman at King's College London). With Dr Martha Vandrei (Exeter) I developed my interest in 'the place of the past' in modern British culture into Voyaging through History: The Mayflower and Britain, 1620-2020 (funded by the AHRC, 2018-2021). For more information on the project as a whole - including our activities and publications - you can visit our website.


*I am on sabbatical Autumn 2023*

My student meeting hours are 12-1pm on Wednesday (during term time) - we can meet on Teams or in my office on campus (the best thing to do is drop me an email to arrange).

I am keen to supervise PhD theses on modern/contemporary history (c. 1880s-1970s), especially on urban belonging and community, civic festivals and celebrations, historical re-enactment and pageantry, education and citizenship, local government and governance, and masculinity and homosexuality. I am happy to take topics on Britain, the USA, and Ireland, but also to explore geographically comparative work more broadly.

Current PhD students

Michael Lawrence, 'Quare fellows abroad: homosexuality and the Irish diaspora, 1880-1960' (Primary supervisor, AHRC Northern Bridge 2021-)

Jamie Nugent, '"Making Ulster the tourists Mecca": tourism, identity and modernization in the north of Ireland, 1901-1971' (Primary supervisor, AHRC Northern Bridge 2020-)

Tom Ward, 'Queer citizenship in contemporary Britain, 1967-2005' (Secondary supervisor, Department of Education 2020-)

Former PhD Students

Rhianne Morgan, 'Belfast baths: Exploring and interpreting the historic spaces of the Victorian industrial city' (Secondary supervisor, AHRC Northern Bridge 2017-2022)


I was awarded my PhD in Urban History from the University of Leicester in 2013 (where I was also an undergraduate and postgraduate student, 2005-2009). Before taking up my current post, I was an Early Career Lecturer at the Institute of Historical Research (2015-2016), and a Research Associate at King's College London (2013-2015). 

I'm an openly gay man and an active supporter of LGBT+ equality. I sit on the committee of the LGBT+ Staff Network, have written a short piece about teaching queer history in Northern Ireland, and given many public talks on the same theme (and always happy to give more!).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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