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Ian Miller is Senior Lecturer in Medical History at Ulster University, and Senior Fellow of HEA. Ian is author of seven medical history books on topics including the force-feeding of hunger strikers, how the Irish diet changed (mostly for the worse) after the Irish Famine and the surprisingly interesting history of the Victorian stomach. Ian has books forthcoming in 2023-2024 with Polity, Gill and Routledge.

Ian is PI on the AHRC/DfE-funded project, Epidemic Belfast, a podcast series and learning resource on Belfast's under-explored medical history


Ian regularly attracts major funding. He is currently involved in the following funded projects:  

  • (Co-PI) CHOICE: A Community Consortium To Tackle Health Disparities For People Living with Mental Illness (AHRC PI: Gerard Leavey, UU, School of Psychology).

  • (PI) Engaging Local Belfast Communities in Medical History and Heritage (AHRC Impact Acceleration).  

  • (PI) ‘Feeding Children? Food Poverty across Ireland: Historical, Current and Future Perspectives' (AHRC Impact Acceleration).

​Ian has held visiting fellowships at the Max Planck Centre for the History of Emotions (Berlin), INSERM (Paris), Institute for General Practice and Community Medicine (Oslo) and, most recently in 2022, at HEX (Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences), University of Tampere.

Ian's work has featured in Guardian, Independent, London Review of Books, New Yorker, Sunday Times, Sunday Post, Irish Times, Times Literary Supplement among many others. Ian has appeared and consulted on a number of BBC, RTÉ and Disney+ stations.

Ian is Book Review Editor for the journal Social History of Medicine, Secretary for Royal Irish Academy (Historical Studies), AHRC Peer Review College member and Irish Research Council Board member (postgraduate and postdoctoral).


29 April 2024

I have been nominated by Ulster University Student's Union as PhD Supervisor of the Year as part of the Learning and Teaching Awards.

01 February 2024

Today, I start, as Co-Pi, work on the £1.9 million CHOICE project working with people with severe mental health diagnoses across Northern Ireland. Read more here.

19 December 2023

The Epidemic Belfast team have launched a curated collection with Northern Ireland Screen (Digital Film Archive) which can be visited here.

11 December 2023

I have published a book review of Fredrik Albritton Jonsson and Carl Wennerlind's Scarcity: A History from the Origins of Capitalism to the Climate Crisis. 

23 October 2023

Recently, I've presented a keynote presentation at 'Feeding Ireland since the Famine: Sustainability, Production and the State. Dublin City University', and presented at 'How to Take Patients’ Histories: Doing Medical History from Below in Practice. Utrecht University.

09 July 2023

As part of the AHRC-funded CHOICE project, I helped design a Photovoice exhibition co-produced by people with severe mental health issues. This is installed throughout the month at Royal Avenue Building, Belfast.

17 June 2023

Recently, I've enjoyed giving presentations at 'Rethinking Gastro-Nationalism' (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès), 'Modernity and the Gut' (University of Glasgow) and HSTM Ireland Annual Conference (Dublin City University)

05 May 2023

I organised a symposium (with Rhianne Morgan and Conor Heffernan) entitled Food Poverty across Ireland: Past, Present and Future Perspectives. Podcast episodes of the talks can be found here

15 April 2023

Busy week as co-chair of the Health and Environment strand of the European Social Science History conference, Gothenburg, a huge event with 12,000 guests in total.

13 March 2023

Today, I spoke on the history of self-esteem at Collective Experiences in History conference at Tampere University, Finland.

02 February 2023

Today, I enjoyed speaking at the Armagh Banbridge, Craigavon (ABC) Council Famine lecture series on starvation and hunger problems in Ireland long after the Famine.


09 December 2022

This week, I talked at the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (HSTM) Network Ireland seminar series on hunger in modern Ireland on the history of hunger and starvation in modern Ireland. I also wrote on this theme for the Irish Humanities Alliance blog .

15 November 2022

This week, I presented a seminar at the Centre for Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX), University of Tampere (Finland). I also presented at the conference ‘From the Black Death to COVID-19: Airborne Diseases in History, Literature, and Culture’ conference, Universität Wien (University of Vienna) (Austria).

1 November 2022

Throughout November, I am Visiting Researcher at HEX (Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences), University of Tampere.

31 October 2022

Over Halloween weekend, the Epidemic Belfast team hosted a three day event at Ulster Folk Museum, engaging up to 20,000 visitors with Northern Ireland's medical heritage.

14 October 2022

This week, I received funding for the following projects:

  • (Co-PI) (253k) Challenging Health Outcomes/Integrating Care Environments: A Community Consortium To Tackle Health Disparities For People Living with Mental Illness (AHRC PI: Gerard Leavey, UU, School of Psychology).

  • (PI) (5k) Engaging Local Belfast Communities in Medical History and Heritage (Ulster University/AHRC Impact Acceleration).  

  • (PI) (5k) ‘Feeding Children? Food Poverty across Ireland: Historical, Current and Future Perspectives' (Ulster University/AHRC Impact Acceleration).

26 September 2022

Enjoyed presenting new research on self-esteem's history at University of York's Critical Mental Health seminar series.

1 September 2022

I presented my research on the history of self-esteem at the European Society for the History of Human Sciences annual conference at the unique location of the former Tempelhof Airport, Berlin 


18 August 2022

I was recently interviewed by the excellent Gastropod podcast on the history of the relationship between our guts and brains. Listen here

09 August 2022

We showcased our Epidemic Belfast project at Féile an Phobail Festival, St. Mary's University College, Falls Road, Belfast.

26 July 2022

I really enjoyed reading Gut Feeling and Digestive Health in Nineteenth-Century Literature, History and Culture by (eds) Manon Mathias and Alison M. Moore, and my review for Literature and History journal can be read here

15 July 2022

I spoke at the Victorian Popular Fiction Association Annual Conference: 'Purity and Contamination in Victorian Popular Fiction and Culture' at Loughborough University on the history of meningitis in Edwardian Britain,

06 July 2022

My short piece has been published on RTÉ Brainstorm entitled 'How Ireland suffered from a cost of living crisis 100 years ago'.

06 July 2022

My short article, 'Tea Mania' has been published in History Ireland magazine. This is the first of a semi-regular series of articles drawn from the Epidemic Belfast website.

25 May 2022

Sat on the Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Competition committee today. I was really impressed by the high quality of entries.

5 May 2022

My review of Nayan Shah's Refusal to Eat: A Century of Prison Hunger Strikes has been published in Journal of Social History. It can be found here.

4 May 2022

Today, I was appointed to the Historical Studies multidisciplinary committee of the Royal Irish Academy (2022-26). Really looking forward to working with RIA over the next four years, especially in areas such as public engagement and outreach.

5 March 2022

The Epidemic Belfast team were delighted to feature in a 2-page spread in the weekend edition of Belfast Telegraph (5 February 2022). A link to the article can be found here.

15 February 2022

I have been awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of my success in leading at teaching, course design, internationalisation, employability and diversity & accessibility.

15 February 2022

I've been appointed as Co-Chair for the Health and Environment Network for the European Social Science Conference, working with the International Institute of Social History.  I look forward to helping organise the 2023 conference at Gothenburg, Sweden, and attending planning meetings in Amsterdam.

10 February 2022

Recently, I applied for a Visiting Fellowship at HEX (Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences), University of Tampere. I'm delighted to have been accepted and look forward to visiting later this year.

09 December 2021

My review has been published in Journal of Modern History of Nadja Durbach's Many Mouths: The Politics of Food in Britain from the Workhouse to the Welfare State and can be read here

07 December 2021

Delighted to have been appointed to Manchester University Press' Social Histories of Medicine book series editorial board.

09 November 2021

Today, I spoke on divorce, emotions and the post-war British family at the Families and Health: Historical Perspectives workshop, University of Wolverhampton.

05 November 2021

As part of the ESRC Festival Northern Ireland, the Epidemic Belfast team organised a launch event at Sunflower Public House, Belfast. We showcased research our top 10 most interesting findings from the podcast, hosted a quiz and ended with a medical history walking tour. 

04 November 2021

The Epidemic Belfast project has launched. Check out our podcast series and articles here.

27 October 2021

I published a new article, entitled ‘Silence, Distance and Neutrality: The Politics of Emotional Distress during the Northern Irish Troubles’, in the latest edition of Social History.

19 October 2021

Northern Ireland's popular Slugger O'Toole website published an overview of the forthcoming Epidemic Belfast project. Read this here.

11 September 2021

This week, I chaired panels at the bi-annual European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Conference in Leuven, Belgium, and was delighted to serve on the judging panel for the Pieter Van Foreest Student Presentation Prize.

02 June 2021

Busy week speaking at Canadian Association for the History of Medicine annual conference, while also chairing medical history sessions at American Conference for Irish Studies 2021 hosted at Magee campus, Ulster University.

04 May 2021

I shared my research in Australasia for the first time as part of the Weapons, Wounds and Warfare Seminar Series at University of Auckland. It was really great to re-visit my open-access book on the history of force feeding (2016).

21 April 2021

​I presented new research ideas at the Medical Humanities (In)Visibility event, organised by the Northern Network for Medical Humanities. This innovative online event was hosted by the Durham University Institute for Medical Humanities.

13 March 2021

This week, I enjoyed being at Emory University, Georgia (virtually) speaking for the first time at the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science (SAHMS conference)

14 February 2021

Twentieth-Century British History journal published my new article entitled 'Ending the 'Cult of the Broken Home': Divorce, Children and the Changing Emotional Dynamics of the Separating British Families, c.1945-90'. This article re-evaluates changing divorce patterns from a emotions history perspective, focusing uniquely on the impact of divorce on children, an aspect of divorce history often forgotten about. Read my article here

14 January 2021

​I was honoured to talk to pupils at Harrow School about my research into science during the Irish Famine and dietary change in the 50 years following the Famine. This was the very first joint talk of the school's Hibernian Society and Science Society. An overview of my paper can be found in The Harrovian here

5 January 2021

​My book review was published of Liat Ben-Moshe's Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalisation and Prison Abolition which can be read here.

15 December 2020 

​I felt overwhelmed to receive  the Faculty Distinguished Research Fellowship award at Ulster University, recognising research contribution. More information can be found here.

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