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Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests are in health, activism, policy, age, and childhood in contemporary Britain and the world.  I take a participatory, engaged approach to explore these areas, and have published analytical work about creative and collaborative research methods.  I am working on several projects at the moment, described below, and am keen to hear from prospective PhD students with similar interests:

A Service for Everyone? Who 'Loves' the NHS and Why

I am interested in interrogating a cultural vision of the NHS as a 'universal' health space designed for 'everyone', and in looking at what formations of publics these ideas encompass and reject.

I started this research in 2016 as a Public Engagement Research Fellow on the 'People's History of the NHS' project, at the University of Warwick.  I have since written academic articles in Endeavour, Social History of Medicine, and Contemporary British History about this work, and co-edited a book in this area on Posters, protests and prescriptions.

I also look to explore the policy implications of these questions, and have written for the British Medical Journal and IPPR, as well as organising over 30 events with museums and policy groups across the UK.  These questions are very broad, most recently I analysed them in relation to case studies of local and national NHS campaigning networks, the experiences of ancillary staff groups in the NHS, and the built environments which structure childbirth.


Gifted Children and Networks in Britain and the World

From 2019-2022 I held a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship to explore the networks of voluntary organisations which looked to identify intellectually 'gifted' children and to mobilise them for disparate aims in the late twentieth century: to revive flailing national economies, export 'liberal democratic' values towards the end of the Cold War, and to aid 'development' programmes in the global South.

The writings of involved children themselves are central to my research, and I use theoretical literatures around 'agency' and 'experience' to try and interpret how young people accepted, resisted, or renegoitated ideas of giftedness, intelligence, measurement, and education and psychology.

I am preparing a book manuscript from this project at present, entitled Future Leaders? Gifted Children in Britain and the World.  I have also published about this work in Contemporary European History and the Historical Journal.  This work builds also on my PhD research into child protection policies and politics in Britain, which resulted in two published articles and my first book.


Contextualising Greta Thunberg: Young People and Responses to Climate Change

For my next project I would like to think about how young people have responded to climate change over time and space.  The activism of Greta Thunberg, which became visible in 2018, inspired school strikes across the world.  Have young people always cared about climate change, and this hasn't been visible, or have their concerns increased in line with the growing urgency of the climate emergency over time?  Who are the other young climate activists who have mobilised across the world, and how do they disseminate their messages?  Has the activism of the young been 'effective', and does youth as a category empower or hinder campaigning?


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