Personal profile


I have been lecturing at Huddersfield since 2006, after short stints at Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam. My research and teaching interests cover nineteenth and twentieth century history, in particular the history of modern war, humanitarian aid and empire. In 2005, I completed a PhD on the origins of British relief organisations and their interventions in conflicts from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 onwards. This involved research into the early years of organisations such as the British Red Cross Society and Save the Children and some of the protocols, practices and technologies they developed. It has been fascinating to consider the differing motivations of individual relief workers, and their wider political and religious affiliations. Some of these early findings were published as ‘“The Rational Administration of Compassion”: The Origins of British Relief in War’, La Revue Le Mouvement Social, Vol. 217 (April – June 2009) and appear in full in Calculating Compassion: British Relief in War, 1870-1814 (Manchester University Press, 2013).

I am currently working on an AHRC-funded project to recover Emily Hobhouse's contribution to international peace, relief and reconstruction in South Africa and Europe through her letters and artefacts with Helen Dampier at Leeds Beckett and Cornelis Muller at Sol Plaatje University.


  • Humanitarianism, refugees, relief work

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Projects 2016 2019

The Emily Hobhouse Letters: South Africa in International Context, 1899-1926

Gill, R., Dampier, H., Law, K. & Muller, C.


Project: ResearchResearch Council

Research Output 2004 2018

The limits of agency: Emily Hobhouse's international activism and the politics of suffering

Gill, R. & Muller, C. 19 Jan 2018 In : Safundi. 19, 1, p. 16-35 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

welfare worker
political decision making
political actor

Belgian refugees in World War One: local archives and histories

Gill, R. 2016 Local History News, 119, p. 6-7 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Open Access
Open Access
local politics
1 Citations

Moral minefields: Save the Children Fund and the moral economies of nursery schooling in the South Wales coalfield in the 1930s

Gill, R. & Leeworthy, D. 4 May 2015 In : Journal of Global Ethics. 11, 2, p. 218-232 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citations
Open Access
Franco-Prussian War