Dr Laura Harrison

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  • Qualifications:MA (Hons), University of Glasgow; MA, University of York; PhD, University of Leeds
  • Position:Senior Lecturer in Modern History
  • Department:Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries, and Education (ACE)
  • Telephone:+4411732 84521
  • Email:Laura2.Harrison@uwe.ac.uk

About me

I am a social and cultural historian of modern Britain, with a particular interest in the histories of youth and youth culture, and young people's experiences of urban and rural environments. I completed my PhD in History at the University of Leeds in 2015, and began teaching at UWE in 2016 following a Fulbright scholarship year at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, as the 2015-16 Fulbright-Robertson Visiting Professor in British History.



I have published on urban poverty and the attempts made by reformers to understand and 'map' the slums of the Victorian and Edwardian city, and institutional attempts to informally police young women's behaviour in public. My latest article for Rural History looks at memories of growing up in the countryside in the early twentieth century, as recalled in memoirs and oral history interviews.

Dangerous Amusements: Leisure, the young working class, and urban space in Britain, c.1870-1939 

My first book traces the beginnings of a distinct youth culture in streets and neighbourhoods across Britain, and will be published by Manchester University Press. In neighbourhoods and public spaces across Britain, young working people walked out together, congregated in the streets, and paraded up and down on the 'monkey parades'. Drawing on an extensive range of sources, from newspapers and institutional records to oral histories and autobiography, this book explores the relationship between the leisure lives of the young working class and urban space, offering a sensitive reappraisal of working-class youth.

Routledge History of the Working Class in the West

I am one of the editors of the Routledge History of the Working Class in the West, currently under contract. This edited collection addresses the core question: what are the possibilities of working-class history in the university classroom, the heritage world, and beyond?  

Area of expertise

  • Nineteenth and twentieth century British social and cultural history
  • Histories of young people and youth culture
  • History of women, sexuality and gender relations
  • Urban history and social geography
  • Working-class history in Britain
  • History of leisure 

Research supervision: I welcome enquiries from students interested in these areas. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas. 

Teaching and pedagogy

I teach across all three years of the History undergraduate degree, and as Associate Head of School, I am passionate about breaking down barriers to learning, and opening up access and opportunities across communities. Collaboration is central to my teaching and research practice, particularly in supporting students to work with partners and communities in exploring their own histories in ways relevant to their lives.

I am currently a contributing researcher on a multi-institutional project looking at assessment outcomes and cross-discipline awarding gaps for student cohorts during the pandemic, and a 2021 Advance HE assessment torchbearer.

Recent media appearances

You can hear me speaking to Jane Garvey on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour' about the history of the school summer holiday here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007k5n

I spoke to Doctor Who and Broadchurch actor Jodie Whittaker about her family history as part of the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? You can see further details about the episode here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nh4f


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