Dr Sam Grinsell, FRGS

Image of white male face iwth dark hair and beard blended with ferns
A historian in the wild, copyright Virginia Calabria

I am a historian of the built environment, passionate about humanities outreach and teaching. My research explores how humans make the places in which we live through relationships with other forms of life, energy and matter.

I am a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (started September 2022). I’m working on a three-year project titled ‘Making North Sea coasts in England, Flanders and the Netherlands, c.1800-1950’. This contributes to the developing fields of environmental architectural history (see Current Collective, for example) and coastal history (see this online reading list curated by members of the Coastal History Network).

I work to improve public discourse around climate change, environmental history, and cities as key sites in the making of environmental futures. I have published on cities with Aeon online magazine and am an active member of Historians for Future. I have also appeared on ABC Radio’s Counterpoint.

My current project grew out of a two-year postdoc funded by the Leverhulme Trust, on the nineteenth century history of the ports of Antwerp, London and Rotterdam. I worked on this from 2020-22 at The Centre for Urban History, University of Antwerp, where I remain a Visiting Researcher.

From 2016-20 I studied for a PhD in Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh, under the supervision of Alex Bremner. This was on the urban history of the colonial Nile valley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The thesis is available Open Access here, and I am working on adapting it into a monograph. Parts of this work have been published or are forthcoming, see Publications page for details. While at Edinburgh I also taught undergraduates on modules covering modern urban, the global history of architecture from prehistory to the present, and study skills for architectural history.

Before starting my PhD I worked in Technology Enhanced Learning for St Mary’s University, Twickenham, on a project to improve the digital capabilities of both staff and students. This involved researching and developing innovative and critical approaches to the use of technology in teaching and learning. I have an MA in Urban History and a BA in Ancient History and History.

This site provides an overview of my current work and experience. If you wish to know more about anything mentioned here please email s.grinsell@ucl.ac.uk

More details about my background and experience can be found here.