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Dr Chelsea Sambells is a Research Fellow in the History Subject Area and Head of Research at the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association (including the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre) in Huddersfield. Dr Sambells 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, she gained both a MSc and PhD in modern history. In October 2017, she gained a research affiliation with the University of Glasgow. Having initially joined the University of Huddersfield for a temporary lectureship in September 2018, she lectures on the first-year module ‘The Modern World,’ and the popular second-year module ‘Hitler's Germany: Life and Death in the Third Reich’. She also co-teaches research methodologies for first and second-year undergraduates, while contributing her own original research to the history curricula and wider university community.   

Research Expertise and Interests

Dr Sambells has a number of research projects underway. In 2020, Dr Elisabeth Möckli (Freiburg/Geneva) and Dr Sambells were awarded the SPARK fund (75,000CHF) from the Swiss National Science Foundation for an international, collaborative project at the University of Geneva's Faculty of Translation and Interpreting, entitled ‘Humanitarian Action and Translation: Exploring Switzerland’s Language Practices and Policies in the Red Cross Child Evacuations during the Second World War’. This 24-month project will investigate the strategic importance of translation and interpreting within Swiss humanitarian intervention, especially between governments and NGOs. By analysing the international campaign of Switzerland’s Red Cross child evacuations in WWII as a case study, this project will closely examine the history of Swiss translation policies and their impact upon relief practises. Given Switzerland’s reputation as a global leader in humanitarian action and advocacy, this project seeks to critically assess and reposition the valuable connection between language and humanitarian action.

Dr Sambells’ 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. Her first monograph on this transnational topic, the Exceptional Evacuation, will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2022/3. Dr Sambells also plans to apply for project funding with Dr Elisabeth Moeckli for a SNSF Sinergia or AHRC Standard Grant to explore how Swiss humantiarian workers and Holocaust survivors used their multilingualism during and after the Second World War as a form of power and empowerment, particularly during the persecution of Nazis by military tribunals who used translators and interpreters in post-war Europe.


Dr Sambells is interested in the interplay between language and power in war and genocide, and 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: https://chelseasambells.com

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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Migration
  • Children and Youth
  • Transnationalism
  • History of Nazi Germany
  • Communication Studies
  • 20th century
  • Second World War
  • rhetoric
  • Oral History
  • Holocaust
  • Modern European history
  • History of humanitarianism
  • Transnational and global history
  • Children and youth
  • The Holocaust and genocides
  • Oral history
  • Communications and rhetoric in war


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