Photo of Chelsea Sambells
  • University of Huddersfield Queensgate Huddersfield HD1 3DH

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


Dr Chelsea Sambells joined the University of Huddersfield for a temporary lectureship in Modern European history in September 2018. Chelsea began her career in Communication Studies, gaining two degrees at the University of Calgary before transitioning to the field of history. At the University of Edinburgh, Chelsea gained both a MSc and PhD in Second World War history. In October 2017, she gained a research affiliation with the University of Glasgow. At Huddersfield, Chelsea is currently the module leader for the first year module ‘The Modern World,’ the popular second-year module ‘Hitler's Germany: Life and Death in the Third Reich’ and the third year module ‘The Dark Years: Collaboration, Resistance and Memory in Wartime France.’ She also co-teaches research methodologies for second-year undergraduates. She also assesses an online distance learning undergraduate course for Professional and Technical Communication at the University of Calgary.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • The Second World War

  • Modern European history

  • Transnational and global history

  • Children and youth

  • Oral history

  • Communications and rhetoric in war

Most recently, Chelsea’s research investigates the evacuation of 60,000 French and Belgian children to Switzerland (1940-1945), to better understand how governments and humanitarian organizations have historically and culturally protected children in war. 

Chelsea has a number of research projects underway. In conjunction with finalising her monograph, A Brief Respite (target completion 2020 with MUP), Chelsea plans to apply for project funding (with Prof Christine Hallett as Principal Investigator) in September 2019 for a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants and/or the Wellcome Trust Small Grant to develop an interdisciplinary oral history project on childhood trauma and evacuation. If successful, this funding will allow Chelsea to interview survivors and include their oral histories within the monograph. Importantly, this approach will cast new light on unexplored areas of childhood memories, and how evolving conceptions of rights and international humanitarian norms were embodied and experienced by child recipients.

Chelsea also has an international collaborative project underway with translation expert Dr Elisabeth Möckli (Freiburg/Geneva). In 2018, Chelsea successfully gained funding from Huddersfield to explore the translations of an influential wartime speech by a notable Swiss politician to garner financial support for the Swiss-led child evacuations during the Second World War.  In April 2019, Chelsea and Dr Möckli discovered that Switzerland’s policies towards translation and interpreting within both the Swiss government and Swiss-led humanitarian projects are not historicised. As a result, and similar to other emerging parallel historical projects that have garnered significant British funding, such as the AHRC-funded Translating Asylumproject at the University of Manchester,  Chelsea and Dr Möckli will apply for funding through the Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (Spark) fund in 2019. This will allow for even further investigation into the strategic importance of translation and interpreting within Swiss humanitarian intervention, especially between governments and NGOs.

Chelsea is fascinated by how warring nations treat children (especially within large humanitarian operations that often fail to fully protect children due to the greater priorities of warfare) as well as children’s experiences of warfare and resettlement. For a list of ongoing projects please see: She has also contributed to the Weiner Library's weekly blogs; see her latest blog at here.  


  • Migration
  • Children and Youth
  • Transnationalism
  • History of Nazi Germany
  • Communication Studies
  • 20th century
  • Second World War
  • rhetoric
  • Oral History

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Research Output 2009 2018

Second World War

The Plight of Belgian Children: The Allied Interest in the Child Evacuation Scheme to Switzerland, 1942-1945

Sambells, C., Jan 2017, Children and War Past and Present II. Prontera, G., Aschauer, W., Buckley, J., Embachler, H., Lichtblau, A. & Steinert, J-D. (eds.). Helion & Co., p. 149-157

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Self-Motivated Humanitarianism? The Study of the Evacuation of Belgian and French Children to Switzerland, 1941-1945

Sambells, C., 2015, Droits des enfants au XXe siècle: Pour une histoire transnationale. Denéchère, Y. & Niget, D. (eds.). Presses Universitaires de Rennes, p. 21-29

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Memories, Identity and Mother Russia: A Study of the Russian-Chechen Conflict

Sambells, C., 10 Jun 2009, In : Stream: Inspiring Critical Thought. 2, 1, p. 53-59 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

collective identity

Press / Media