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Dr Victoria L BatesBA (Nott.), MA (Exon.), PhD (Exon.)

Senior Lecturer in Modern History

Victoria Bates

Dr Victoria L BatesBA (Nott.), MA (Exon.), PhD (Exon.)

Senior Lecturer in Modern History

Member of

Research interests

Job Title: Senior Lecturer in Modern History

Office: 3.03, 34 Tyndall's Park Rd.

Phone: +44 (0)117 331 1030


Consultation Hours: Two hours per week: students can click this link to book appointments. If you cannot find a suitable time, or all appointments are taken, please email.


I have particular research interests in the social history of medicine in modern British and Anglo-American contexts. My research interests fall into two broad categories: medico-legal history and the arts in medicine/healthcare. I have broad research interests in the interdisciplinary field of 'medical humanities'. I was selected for the New Generations Programme in Medical Humanities in 2014/15. I also run the Regional Medical Humanities network and newsletter for the South West and Wales (please contact me for further details or to join)


Medico-Legal History

I have conducted extensive research on changes in the age of sexual consent in the late nineteenth century and on medical evidence in cases of sexual crime, with particular attention to medico-legal relationships and the value of using age as a category of analysis. This research forms the basis of a number of journal articles (see publications) and my monograph: Sexual Forensics in Victorian and Edwardian England (2016). Alongside this research I worked on the medico-legal relations of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP) and cultural representations of MSbP in the late twentieth century.


Arts and the 'Human' Aspects of Medical Care

Between 2010-13 I collaborated on an AHRC Beyond Text Student Led Initiative called '"From the Cradle to the Grave": Reciprocity and Exchange in the Making of Medicine and the Modern Arts', and on a seminar series and associated edited collection entitled Medicine, Health and the Arts in Post-War Britain


In 2014-16, with the support of the EBI / Wellcome Trust, I worked on a project entitled ‘The Art of Medicine: The "Humanisation" of Healthcare and Medical Education, 1910-1993’. This project explored historic concerns about the 'dehumanisation' of modern healthcare and different attempts to '(re)humanise' healthcare and medical education in the twentieth century. It resulted in publications on the histories of narrative medicine, medical communication and multidisciplinary medical education.


Most recently, my research has focused on 'humanistic' healthcare environments and sensory 'design for health' in theory/practice since 1945. In 2017/18 the University of Bristol Strategic Research Fund funded the development of this sensory history, entitled 'Better by Design: Towards a Sensory History of the Modern Hospital’. In 2019-21 a Wellcome Trust small grant is supporting the expansion of a nascent UK-based network in the history of hospital senses, to be more international and more collaborative (Senses and Modern Health/care Environments: Exploring interdisciplinary and international opportunities). This project links to my collaborative and public-facing work on the senses and health, including:




My teaching is research driven. My units utilise primary source material from archives that I have visited and engage with cultural sources as part of my interest in the medical humanities. Examples of units that I currently teach or have taught in recent years include:

  • Special Topic - Madness: A Modern History
  • Lecture Response Unit, Year 2 - 'Savages' or 'Innocents'? Childhood and the State, 1780-1914
  • Special Field - A Body of Evidence: Forensic Medicine in Britain, 1800-1939
  • Special Subject - Repressed or Risqué? Victorian Sex and Sexuality.
  • Lecture Response Unit, Year 3: Death, Doctors and Disease

I also teach on the 'Approaches to History' and 'Public Role of the Humanities' courses, as well as the Foundation Year. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Research supervision

I would be interested in supervising projects that relate to the modern history of medicine, forensics, sexuality, childhood and the medical humanities.


Public Engagement

I have written for the Independent and for History & Policy, and I have been interviewed for Woman's Hour and Inside Out West. Since 2013 I have worked with the Watershed Cinema to organise academic speakers, including on history & film, for 'Conversations about Cinema'. Since 2015 I have led a number of medical history walks and given public talks on the history of hospital arts. Please email if you would like to organise a relevant event, talk or interview on the above research.


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Health Science and Technology

View research connections

Postal address:
13-15 Woodland Road
United Kingdom