Adapting and Adopting the Finnish Baby Box


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For the past nine months Barry Doyle, Director of the Centre for Health Histories, has been involved in an exciting inter-disciplinary project with Dr Jim Reid (PI) from the School of Education, along with colleagues from the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield, academics at Sheffield Hallam, Bristol and Tampere (Finland) Universities, the University of Africa (Zambia) and University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University. The key aim of the project is to explore the opportunities to adapt the principle of the Finnish Maternity Package (The Baby Box) for use in two low and middle-income countries (Zambia and Vietnam). A related objective is to develop a historical research project exploring the cultural history of the baby box in Finland. This pilot project has been generously funded by the University of Huddersfield URF Global Challenges Research Fund Sandpit Events.

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The Maternity Package was launched in Finland 80 years ago this year as a key strategy in the nation’s attempts to reduce a stubbornly high infant mortality rate (IMR). Like many of the nations that gained independence in the wake of the First World War, Finland saw social welfare in general, and health policies in particular, as a means to build legitimacy and strengthen national identity. The original maternity package was targeted at the most vulnerable mothers but ten years later was turned into a universal benefit for all women irrespective of income or the number of children they had borne. The box – which is big enough for a baby to sleep in – contains a selection of items designed to provide the parents with the basics for their new baby, including clothing, nappies, feeding aids and other simple essentials. Over the years the contents have changed, from a selection of life saving products to more fashion conscious items that reflect the aspirations of parents. Similarly, the form of the box has been altered, from a functional government ‘archive box’ to a brightly decorated receptacle with a design that changes each year. Although a cash benefit is available, even today around 95% of parents choose the box – though we don’t know if all, or even most, of the contents is used.


The maternity package idea is increasingly used across the world. In the UK the Scottish Government commenced a universal baby box scheme on the Finnish model in 2017. It has also been piloted in a number of English localities while research currently underway in Tampere has found sixty countries deploying a version of the package – though often the benefit is not universal nor is it necessarily the work of the government. Indeed, in poorer countries it is likely to be charities and other NGOs involved in delivering the service.


Our project began with a desk review of current policy and services in Zambia and Vietnam conducted by an intern, Nuala Doyle. This showed that Zambia had one of the highest IMRs in the world, with particular problems in rural areas and among the poorest groups in the cities. Vietnam has made huge strides in reducing IMR but problems remain among ethnic minority groups and especially in the highland areas in the north west of the country. This provided the base information for an initial exploratory workshop in Huddersfield in June 2018 which brought together the core team members (Reid, Doyle, Vahtikari, Swann, Mushibwe and Dinh) with colleagues from Art and Design (Dr Omar Huerta Cardoso), Human and Health Sciences (Dr Serena Bartys) and the Business School (Dr Julia Meaton) to explore how to develop the project. This led to the firming up of three work packages.


In package one we will be working with Dr Tanja Vahtikari of the History Faculty of the University of Tampere to develop a project on the cultural and emotional history of the use and meaning of the Baby Box in the Finnish context since the 1940s. This will include background research on Finland’s IMR crisis in the 1930s which ultimately led to the maternity package policy. It will be placed in an international context, exploring other nations’ responses including child welfare centres, health visitors and ‘social nursing’, mother and child feeding policies and the provision of layettes. However, its primary focus will be how people used and have remembered the baby box in Finland. To pursue this we will be working with Kela (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) instituted in 1937 to pay pensions but now a cradle to grave organisation managing most of the state’s social welfare commitments, including the maternity package. We also aim to partner with the Finnish Literature Society, an organisation that, to a great extent, is the custodian of the nation’s cultural history and heritage. Through these two organisations we hope to uncover the material and emotional history of the boxes. We expect to submit applications for funding for this aspect of the project soon.


Zambian Baby Carrier

Our second work package is led by Professor David Swann and aims to adapt the maternity package for use in Zambia. Working with Professor Christine Mushibwe, Vice Chancellor of the University of Africa in Lusaka, we are exploring appropriate ways to deliver assistance to new parents, with a particular focus on very young mothers giving birth while living on the streets of Lusaka. Plans are still in their infancy, but David has been working with his Product Design students to develop prototype ideas that could be used in this context. Barry will be visiting Lusaka in November to discuss plans with Christine and to meet with NGOs, government and academics. More news to follow!

Hmong carrier

A Hmong Baby Carrier

The third package brings together Omar Huerta Cardoso and Linh Dihn to examine potential product designs for use among the highland populations of western Vietnam, the area of the country with the most intractable IMR problems. Jim Reid will be visiting Vietnam in the next few months to discuss prototype designs with state agencies and NGOs along with a range of potential academic partners.

This is a very exciting departure for the Centre for Health Histories. We are really looking forward to developing an interdisciplinary project that could have a significant impact on the life chances of women and children around the world. It also opens up opportunities to extend the international focus of the historical research we undertake into the history of health and healthcare in Finland and, it is hoped, Zambia, both nations with very limited historical healthcare research in English.








Extended Deadline Funded PhD: Visual and Cultural Representations of the St John Ambulance Brigade in the Twentieth Century.

Visual and Cultural Representations of the St John Ambulance Brigade in the Twentieth Century.

AHRC Funded Collaborative Doctoral Award Studentship

University of Huddersfield, Museum of the Order of St John and the Heritage Consortium



The Heritage Consortium is offering a fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship with the Museum of the Order of St John and the University of Huddersfield. Supervised by Professor Barry Doyle (Huddersfield) and Dr Rosemary Wall of the University of Hull, the studentship will combine the support and training offered by the Heritage Consortium, the professional supervision of the curatorial staff of the Museum of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell, London and the academic culture of Huddersfield’s Centre for Health History.

Building on our AHRC funded project Crossing Boundaries: The History of First Aid in Britain and France, 1909-1989 the student will work with Museum staff to make their extensive collection of photographs accessible to a wider public nationally and internationally. In the process they will develop their own archiving, curating and digitization skills.

The academic study will be built around the Museum collections, the aims of the Crossing Boundaries project and the interests of the students. Particular themes that could be developed include:

• St John Ambulance Brigade and St John Ambulance Association in the Second World War,
• the development of the St John Ambulance Brigade ambulance service,
• industry and St John’s industrial heritage,
• and/or using photographs either in heritage organisations or in historical research.



Candidates should have a good degree and a Masters in relevant disciplines. Please apply using the Heritage Consortium application form available at the webpage below. Please outline any relevant experience and how you will develop a project around one of the themes listed above. Applicants should also submit references and proof of qualifications by the closing date of 24 September 2018 to

For further information on the Heritage Consortium and application process see

For more information on the Crossing Boundaries project:

For information on the museum

For more information on this opportunity email
This award is only available to UK students.


The History of Emergency Medicine Workshop

The History of Emergency Medicine Workshop
Crossing Boundaries: The History of First Aid in Britain and France, 1909-1989’ project
University of Huddersfield


Day One – 27 June 2018
Student Centre Boardroom


Welcome and Introductions, Introduction to ‘Crossing Boundaries: The History of First Aid in Britain and France, 1909-1989’ project, and Lunch


Pre-20th century

Lisa Smith, University of Essex
TBC (Early Modern First Aid advice in domestic handbooks)

Sally Frampton, University of Oxford
A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing: The First Aid Movement in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Jennifer Wallis, Queen Mary University of London
“Ha! Ha! I am a b(u)oy again.” Henry Silvester and the life-saving method of self-inflation


Voluntarism and First Aid in France and Britain

Charles-Antoine Wanecq, Sciences Po
Saving lives, training citizens : the French Red Cross, the State and the control of first aid practices (1940s-1970s)

Stefan Ramsden, University of Hull
St John Ambulance and working-class community

Day Two – 28 June

Oastler 6.09

Project Sessions


Rosemary Wall, University of Hull, and Barry Doyle, University of Huddersfield
First Aid on the Roads


Jonathan Reinarz, University of Birmingham, Rebecca Wynter, University of Birmingham, and Shane Ewen, Leeds Beckett University



Student Centre Boardroom

Interpreting First Aid Heritage collections at the Museum of the Order of St John and the British Red Cross Museum and Archive



Samiksha Sehrewat, University of Newcastle
Providing medical aid in an emergency: Charitable Organizations, the Mesopotamia Medical Breakdown and colonial governmentality

Susan Grayzel, Utah University
“Chemical Weapons Come Home: Devising Defences for Poison Gas in Interwar Britain and France”


Closing discussions and reflections on connections between the papers, publication, and the first aid history project and policy relevance over tea and coffee.



CFP: Travel and the Hospital: from pilgrimage to medical tourism, Barcelona, April 2019

International Network for the History of Hospitals and Institute for Research on Medieval Cultures (IRCVM) of the University of Barcelona

12th Conference of the INHH and VIII Abrils de l’Hospital
24-26 April 2019 University of Barcelona

Ferrer Bassa (c. 1285 – 1348) Catalan painter and miniaturist.

Medical tourism is an increasingly popular feature of health care today. Yet it is not always recognised that, throughout their history, hospitals have attracted patients from afar seeking cures, both spiritual and physical, not available at home. While much work has previously focused on the institution as a fixed place, often closely associated with a specific locality, the hospital’s role as a focus for a wider network of health needs and health consumers has been largely overlooked. This neglected topic will be the focus of our twelfth conference.

From its inception the hospital provided care and cure for pilgrims, either en route to, or on their arrival at, shrines, as well as for patients from beyond the urban centre, some from local areas and others travelling great distances to access treatment. These institutions were also distinguished by their architectural and artistic heritage, being decorated with paintings and sculptures, some of which still survive today and depict pilgrims, the poor and the sick. Although many buildings have disappeared or been transformed over time, others remain that reflect their original size and beauty and are important destinations for tourism.

Over the centuries major man-made crises such as war have prompted the introduction of many forms of mobile hospital. Among them were the first ambulances, the medical units that travelled with troops on campaign, and the sophisticated network of treatment stations developed by the combatants of the First World War, including hospital trains with more patients than a London teaching institution. Hospitals have also featured at the heart of migration stories – with staff moving around empires and across borders to acquire medical training and to assist a growing body of patients, whose access to hospital medicine has been limited by poverty, race, lack of citizenship, or the unavailability of specialist services locally. In many parts of the world, and especially in areas with limited healthcare infrastructure or widely dispersed population, hospitals came to the patients, with a variety of mobile institutions being developed to serve the sick in Africa, Russia, Central Europe and across Asia. These many activities reflect the variety of topics that can be included in our theme of Travel and the Hospital.

We seek abstracts of 300 words in ENGLISH [or Spanish or Catalan with and English translation] pertinent to the conference theme. Papers on any historical period, region or country might focus on, but are not restricted to:

Pilgrimage and the hospital
Migration and hospitals – patients and staff
Perceptions of’ diverse staff and patient populations.
Sites for medical testing (remedies or techniques which are imported)
Global connections, including missionary and transnational organisations
War and campaign medicine
Itinerant healing and healers in rural areas.
Mobile hospitals
Centres of excellence, learning and medical education.
Hospitals as historic monuments; their importance to cities both today and in the past.

The conference languages will be English, Catalan and Spanish. We hope to be able to offer some bursaries for doctoral and early career researchers.

Conference organisers Antoni Conejo (Barcelona), John Henderson (Birkbeck, London, UK) and Barry Doyle (Huddersfield, UK)
Abstracts should be emailed to OR by the closing date of Monday 2 July 2018.


My UHG Initiation: Reflections on the Annual Conference, 2018.

In a guest blog, Leeds Beckett and Heritage Consortium student, Mark Butterfield, relates his experience of his first visit to the Urban History Group conference themed around Healthy or Unhealthy Cities.

I began my PhD with the Heritage Consortium at Leeds Beckett University in October 2017 and over the last few months I have been attending academic conferences relevant to my research topic. My research topic is the legacy of war-related traumas during the interwar years in the West Riding of Yorkshire. I’m researching both the physical and psychological casualties of war, including non-combatants, and the impact which the war, their trauma and their subsequent aftercare had upon their lives. My local study will investigate the numerous care and rehabilitative institutions which arose or adapted to accommodate the huge influx of returning soldiers, and the impact which this had upon local communities.

I was delighted to hear that the theme for the 2018 Urban History Group’s prestigious annual conference was ‘Healthy or Unhealthy Cities?’ and registered my attendance. The conference opened with a keynote lecture from Sally Sheard (Liverpool), who focused on the history of urban health policies with Liverpool as a case study. Sheard utilised the biographies of less public-facing individuals, such as Borough Surveyors and Medical Officers for Health, who proved to be instrumental in the evolution of urban health. Her subsequent call to give voice to the marginalised in future urban histories certainly resonated with my own work.

Following the keynote, we had three parallel sessions to choose between. I decided to swap between sessions in the first instance as I wanted to hear my second PhD supervisor, Barry Doyle (Huddersfield), speak, as well as a paper on the First World War in a different panel. Unfortunately, that meant I missed the Q&A for Barry’s paper, and missed out on another undoubtedly excellent talk by Nick Hayes (Nottingham Trent). The drawback of having such rich panels!



Doyle’s talk evaluated the role of hospitals in four European Nations (Britain, France, Hungary and Czechoslovakia), arguing that during the interwar period their role began to shift from preventing death to prolonging and improving the quality of life for their patients. The following paper, by Aaron Graham (UCL), focused on how colonialism and urban improvements in Jamaica were intertwined. The international scope of both these papers was encouraging to see. Doyle’s comparative approach particularly stood out, and although there are many difficulties with finding comparable datasets between disparate nations, his findings were convincing in this wider international context.

I ducked out of the ‘Urban Health’ panel and joined the ‘Interventions in Housing’ panel to hear Calum White (Oxford) speak on ‘Medical Officers of Health and Housing during the First World War in Britain.’ White used Glasgow and Liverpool as comparative case studies to examine the significance of the 1919 Addison Act. The First World War had seen a downturn in the construction of new homes, and the Addison Act was intended to combat the housing crisis after the Armistice. Wartime construction restrictions impacted upon public health and medical officers from Glasgow and Liverpool responded to these issues in different ways. In the Q&A session, White highlighted how national and local government priorities may be disconnected, and that the imposition of laws can be adapted by individual actors with their own agendas.

For the third session entitled ‘New Researchers’ and First Year PhD Workshops,’ I attended the latter, to see how my own progress compared with those presenting their work. Jacqueline Radford (Swansea) presented on ‘The Municipal Middle Classes in Aberavon, 1830-1915,’ Rory Booth (Leicester) spoke about his project ‘Bohemianism, Gentleman’s Clubs and Masculinity in the Late Victorian City,’ and Georgina Jayne Lockton (Leicester/Science Museum), presented on ‘Science, Technology and Road Safety in the Motor Age.’ This was an excellent panel, with a supportive audience. The panellists received a great deal of constructive feedback, and responded to questioning with thoughtful, considered responses, which bodes well for their return to future conferences.

The following morning, I attended the ‘Spatializing Disease and Health in Urban Space’ panel, led by the hilariously titled ‘Darling Buds of Malaise: Rural Filth and Urban Spaces’ by Elizabeth Jones (Leicester). A reminder that a good pun for a title, particularly in this digital information age, will stand out from the crowd and perhaps lead to greater circulation. Tim Livsey (Oxford) followed with a paper on British-controlled West Africa and the ‘reservations’ implemented there, a rare opportunity to hear the experiences of the ‘other,’ the occupied local population under British rule. I was most excited to hear the final paper by Oliver Betts (National Railway Museum), ‘Sites of Contagion: Unhealthy Railway Stations in the Victorian City’, having written my Master’s thesis on First World War ambulance trains as sites of trauma. Train stations were an important nexus for troops leaving for and returning from the war, and were even used as makeshift mortuaries, but I had never considered them as ‘unhealthy’ spaces in their own right, and this paper broadened my contextual understanding of railways, urban space, and health.

The final panel I attended was ‘Challenging Expertise on Urban Health,’ the first paper being jointly given by my lead PhD supervisor, Shane Ewen (Leeds Beckett) and the two other members of the ‘Burns Project,’ Jonathan Reinarz and Rebecca Wynter (Birmingham). Splitting a twenty-minute paper between three speakers was no mean feat, but was perfectly executed. The team spoke on child burn fatalities in the domestic sphere using two case studies from Birmingham to illustrate their findings. A sobering and poignant paper, and in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, horrifyingly relevant. The following paper by Peter Collinge (Keele) was more upbeat, and an unexpected gem given the paper’s focus on the adulteration and contamination of food and drink. Suffice to say that I’ll be checking my food packaging with much greater scrutiny in future. The final paper of the conference was given by Harold Bérubé (Sherbrooke), and again, was informative and entertaining, providing yet another global perspective, this time from Québec. Urban history truly encourages global, interdisciplinary approaches and the conference as a whole was a reflection of all the excellent work being done to push boundaries further and bring to light the hidden histories of urban spaces worldwide.

The final plenary session was a roundtable discussion in which it was noted that despite the breadth of papers focusing on health, there had been little mention of emotional or mental health, a point which I had been on the verge of raising myself. Given that much good work has been published on the history of mental health provision, especially during the wartime period, its omission from the conference was a surprise. However, I’ll certainly be submitting for a place in the New Researchers’ Forum for the next conference in Belfast, where I hope to share my own research into this area with the UHG audience.

Mark Butterfield
Leeds Beckett University
2017 Heritage Consortium PhD Researcher

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 2018: Supported Applications

Marie curie

The School of Music, Humanities and Media at the University of Huddersfield invites proposals from researchers seeking to apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 2018 based at the University. Fellowships are of 12-36 months duration depending on the scheme. Deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest to the University is Monday 23rd April.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships aim to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, wishing to diversify their individual competence through advanced training, international mobility and intersectoral mobility. Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to acquire and transfer new knowledge and to work on research and innovation in a European context or outside Europe. They develop the careers of individual researchers who show great potential and include a specific opportunity for those returning to the profession. The proposal is built around a concrete plan of training-through-research at the host organisation. In addition to research objectives, this plan comprises the researcher’s training and career needs, including training on transferable skills, planning for publications, and participation in conferences. The scheme offers a highly competitive salary, family allowance, and travel allowance, as well as research and training expenses.


The School will support up to 10 outstanding applications for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships for research projects in any field within any area of the School including:



Creative writing



Journalism and Media


Modern languages

Music (including popular music, performance, musicology, analysis)

Music technology

Colleagues in the Centre for Health Histories are particularly keen to here from qualified scholars with an interest in health history broadly defined. In the first instance please contact Professor Barry Doyle, Professor of Health History, for advice on putting together an Expression of Interest.

For information on staff research interests in History see


Two schemes are available under this call:


The European Fellowships – held in EU Member States or Associated Countries and open to researchers either coming to Europe from any country in the world or moving within Europe. Applicants cannot have resided or carried out the main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the host country for more than 12 months in the last 36 months before the call deadline. Fellowships last for a duration of 12-24 months. An optional secondment period of up to 3 or 6 months in another organisation in Europe is eligible where this would boost the impact of the fellowship.

A Career Restart option and Reintegration to Europe option is available within the European Fellowships scheme. The fellowship structure is the same, though eligibility requirements for these routes differ. Please see the below link for more information on these routes.



The Global Fellowships – composed of an outgoing phase during which the researcher first undertakes mobility to a partner organisation in a Third Country (not an EU Member State or Associated Country) for an uninterrupted period of between 12 and 24 months, followed by a mandatory 12-month return period to the single beneficiary located in a Member State or Associated Country, in this case the University of Huddersfield. Applicants must be a national or long-term resident of a Member State or Associated Country (i.e. undertaken a period of full-time research activity in a MS/AC of at least 5 consecutive years). The applicants must not have resided or carried out the main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Third Country where the initial outgoing phase takes place for more than 12 months in the last 36 months immediately before the call deadline. An optional secondment period of up to 3 or 6 months in another organisation in Europe is eligible where this would boost the impact of the fellowship.



For both the European and Global Fellowships the below salary and expenses details apply:

Salary                                                                              €6,822.24 a month

Family Allowance (where applicable)                  €500 a month

Mobility Allowance                                                    €600 a month

Research, training and networking activities    €800 a month



The funder’s deadline for the full application is 12 September 2018. In order to allow time for mentoring and development of full applications, expressions of interest should be sent to Professor Monty Adkins ( by 5pm on Monday 23rd April, consisting of two PDF documents:


1)      a two-page CV including education, publications, any awards, exhibitions;

2)      a two-page draft statement of the research project to be undertaken and intended training/networking requirements.


A selection process internal to the School of Music, Humanities and Media will determine which proposals will go forward to a full application. A programme of mentoring and development will be offered to applicants deemed successful in this internal process.


For further information on the scheme, including eligibility, see the European Commission Research and Innovation website:


separate spheresThe University of Huddersfield Postgraduate Conference 2018


8 June 2018, University of Huddersfield, Heritage Quay

We are pleased to announce the call for papers for the University of Huddersfield’s Postgraduate conference 2018. The conference focuses on providing a space for interdisciplinary research across all fields, from early career researchers and post-graduate students, to share their work. We welcome submissions in a variety of formats, including but not exclusive to 15-20 minute papers, 10-minute poster presentations, video submissions, performance, media contributions and other public history outputs.

Proposals are invited from all time periods, all topics and all regions relating to gender perspectives.

Offers of papers should include a 250-word abstract and for other submission forms a 250-word description along with a short biography.

Deadline date: May 8th 2018

Please send submissions to:

There will be no registration fee and we hope to offer travel bursaries for speakers