I am a historian of twentieth-century Britain, and am particularly interested in age, education, self-narratives and oral history, memory and selfhood. My book, A Progressive Education? How Childhood Changed in Mid-Twentieth-Century English and Welsh Schools (Manchester University Press, 2020) focuses on teachers’ changing concepts of childhood and youth in primary and secondary modern schools in England and Wales from 1918 to 1979.
My postdoctoral research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, focuses on how children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of adulthood in Britain have changed from c.1950 to the present day. This project considers adulthood, as well as childhood, as a constructed category, and contends that we can only understand the two in relation to each other. It will explore the tension between the ‘ideal adult’ – the psychologically mature independent actor who can, for example, give informed consent to medical procedures – and the real adult who often doesn’t live up to these ideals. What kind of adult did teenagers think they would grow up to be?
In 2012-13, I received an AHRC student-led Collaborative Skills Development Grant for my project, Talking History, to collaborate with Rambling Heart delivering oral history and storytelling training to graduate students and early career researchers in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge. In May and June 2017, I received funding from Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund to run follow-up workshops with children and adolescents in Bath [pictured above].
I have published journal articles in Twentieth Century British History, Cultural and Social History, Contemporary British History, Medical Humanities, History of the Human Sciences and Gender and History, and have also written for History and Policy and the Guardian. My institutional profile is here. You can find a full list of my academic publications here.