PhD Student Profile


Jane CoomberSewell

PhD Student

School: Creative Arts and Industries

Campus: Canterbury

Biographical note

Jane is a full time PhD student, combining her research interests with running a business with her wife and a busy family life. She is funded through the sweat of her own brow. Before her current incarnation, Jane had a successful Civil Service and Local Authority career, including reading her Masters Degree in Public Services Management at University of York.

PhD Research Topic

A re-evaluation of Joyce Grenfell as socio-political commentator

Research outline

Joyce Grenfell was, of her generation, one of Britain’s foremost female entertainers. She was the niece of Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman MP in Britain to take her seat, and undertook three tours of PAIForce (Persia and Iraq Force) during and after the Second World War. She was also a Christian Scientist. Therefore, my research questions are:

  1. Can Joyce Grenfell’s published works be considered a useful resource in a contextual approach to feminist history of the time and as socio-political commentary?
  2. Can Joyce Grenfell be seen as having lived a feminist life, within a period hitherto considered dormant?In making these researches, it is important to examine the role of some of her contemporaries, both within and without the entertainment industry.

This work is important and relevant, as if we are to a consider a lack of writing as evidence of the death of feminism however later resurrected, we are not giving credit to an army of practical feminists who were too busy doing feminism to write about it.

Supervisory Team

  • Dr Andrew Butler (First supervisor)
  • Dr Stefania Ciocia (Second Supervisor)

Research Outputs


2018 - ‘Book Review: The Emerald Circus’ Foundation 47(130) pp. 106-108.

2017 – ‘Book Review: Daughter of Eden’ Foundation 46(127) pp.112-114. Conference Papers

June 2019 ‘Joyce Grenfell: Not Just a Gallumpher’ Reclaiming the Screen – Overlooked Women in Film and Television. CATHI, De Montfort University.

May 2019 ‘Borrowing Triangulation from the Social Sciences as a discourse analysis tool’ PGRA Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University.

September 2018  ‘The Time of My Life: How World War II is Represented in the Work and Private Writings of Joyce Grenfell’ War, Literature and the Arts Conference, USAF Colorado Springs.

May 2018 ‘Space and Place: Grenfell’s Explorations of Belonging and Class’ Crossing Boundaries Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University.

June 2017 ‘Grenfell’s Working Women Warriors’ Theorising the Popular, Liverpool Hope University.

May 2017 ‘Grenfell’s Working Women Warriors’ PGRA Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University

Teaching Experience

Summer 2018, 2019 English Language Tutor at Kingsdown House

2018 - ongoing NMH Provider for DSA – Specialist Study Skills Tutor, working with all levels from Foundation Degree to Doctoral Candidates.


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Last edited: 24/07/2020 10:08:00