Love across cultural boundaries

Posted by ap507 at Jun 25, 2018 11:55 AM |
Project to explore experiences of women in mixed romantic relationships in Leicester between 1948 - 1985

Issued by University of Leicester on 25 June 2018

Sue Bishop, a local mature student studying at the University of Leicester, is keen to hear from women around Leicester willing to share memories of their long-term mixed romantic relationships.

Sue has recently started the next stage of her studies with the University of Leicester’s School of History, Politics and International Relations. She has been awarded a three-year History PhD studentship by the Midlands Three Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Sue would like to hear from any woman who had a long-term romantic relationship in Leicester, at any time between 1948 and 1985, with a man whose nationality or ethnicity differed from her own and who is willing to help with the research. Sue is particularly keen to explore the religious and/or cultural diversity that she was immersed in as a result.

The findings of her previous study carried out last year reinforced Sue’s commitment to the study of romantic love across cultural boundaries.

The scope of Sue’s project has been extended to incorporate the collection of up to 30 life histories of women who dared to cross national, ethnic and religious boundaries in pursuit of romantic love.

Topics that will be discussed include life at home, school and education, personal relationships, the work environment, social activities and contemporary current affairs.

The study will uncover the variability of their experiences and look to identify the factors that affected them. It will show how the women’s commitment to make a success of their romantic choices and to embrace cultural diversity impacted on barriers to the acceptance and celebration of religious, national and ethnic difference.

The study will also provide new insights into the continuity of, and change to, social and gendered prejudice and discrimination encountered in post-war Britain.

Sue said: “The research I carried out on this topic last year only skimmed the surface of what there is to know about mixed romantic relationships.

“This is a timely area of discussion, particularly in light of the recent high-profile royal wedding between Harry and Meghan.

“Studying this very sensitive and intimate topic creates a new perspective on how attitudes towards religious, national and ethnic difference developed during the period. The study is likely to challenge any existing perceptions that these relationships were universally accepted by families, communities and wider society.”

She added: “The women who formed and sustained these relationships did not always immediately appreciate the possible consequences of their choices. As they met cultural difference, exchange and conflict head on, they were confronted by a myriad of experiences and emotions. A cocktail of pleasure, surprise, excitement and apprehension. Their ongoing choices demonstrated a willingness to challenge the norms of twentieth century British life. This reflects an assertiveness and independence of thought not often remembered or documented. By finding such women and capturing their stories we will preserve an aspect of Leicester’s social and cultural history that has so far been omitted from the documented record.”

Dr Sally Horrocks, Lecturer in Twentieth Century History, from the University of Leicester, added: “I am very excited by Sue's research and its potential to improve our understanding of how women have contributed to the changes in Leicester's recent past in ways that have not previously been acknowledged or understood.”

The research project is to be completed by the end of summer 2020.


Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Sue Bishop on

The Midlands Three Cities Doctoral Training Partnership is a consortium of the six universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham:

University of Birmingham

Birmingham City University

De Montfort University

University of Leicester

Nottingham Trent University

University of Nottingham

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. It invests in research at universities across the UK as well as in the country’s world-leading museums, galleries and libraries.  For more information, please visit Follow the AHRC on Twitter at @ahrcpress or Facebook at



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