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Prof Georgina Brewis
UCL Institute of Education
University College London
20 Bedford Way
Prof Georgina Brewis profile picture
  • Professor of Social History
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education

I am Professor of Social History at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society. I am a social historian of higher education, voluntary action and humanitarianism in Britain and the wider world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My current research and teaching interests centre on the history of student life and student culture. I am Director of Generation UCL: 200 Years of Student Life in London, a  new research and engagement project in the run up to UCL's bicentenary in 2026 that builds on my earlier revision of UCL's official history, The World of UCL (UCL Press, 2018).  I am Programme Leader for UCL's interdisciplinary degree BA Education Studies and teach history modules across UCL.

Research Themes
Research Summary

My research interests explore two main topics. The first considers the history of higher education and student life. My first book argued that voluntary action was central to the emergence of a student movement in the UK and internationally, and positioned 1960s and 1970s student community action as an alternative form of protest - see A Social History of Student Volunteering: Britain and Beyond 1880-1980 (Palgrave, 2014). In 2018 I revised and updated UCL's official history and I am now Director of Generation UCL: 200 Years of Student Life in London in the run up to UCL's bicentenary. With Daniel Laqua (Northumbria University) I am a Co-Investigator on projects variously funded by the AHRC and the Society for Educational Studies exploring the impact of the First World War on universities and investigating student culture in the aftermath of the war. 

My contributions to the history of humanitarianism and voluntary action form a second, related strand of research. One completed project examines the history of humanitarianism through a moral economy lens and resulted in Humanitarianism in the Modern World: The Moral Economy of Famine Relief (Cambridge University Press, 2020, open access). My other recently completed book Transformational Moments in Social Welfare: What Role for Voluntary Action? (Policy Press, 2021) results from an ESRC funded project that explores debates about the role of voluntary action in social welfare provision in the 1940s and 2010s (ES/N018249/1, 2017-2020). I am Director of a long-running British Academy Research Project, 'Archiving the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Britain', a knowledge exchange project.

I joined IOE in 2011 as a researcher on a Leverhulme Trust-funded study of English teaching in post-war London secondary schools, which resulted in the book English Teachers in a Postwar Democracy (Palgrave, 2014), followed by a two-year career development John Adams Fellowship. 

Teaching Summary

I am the Co-Programme Leader for UCL's interdisciplinary BA Education Studies degree, where I lead a first year module called 'The Worlds of UCL: Critical Histories of Education, Nation and Empire' and the BA Education Studies Placement Module. I also work closely with UCL History where I've led a module called 'Voluntary Organisations, NGOs and the British Public, 1914-1985' and have developed a module for UCL's new MA in Public History

My teaching promotes student engagement with archives and material culture, as part of which I work closely with UCL Culture and UCL Special Collections. I am a member of the Object Based Learning Lab Advisory Group, the UCL Art Collections Advisory Group and the Inter-Departmental Steering Committee on Public History. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I supervise doctoral students on a range of late nineteenth and twentieth century social history topics, particularly the history of education, children, youth, students, higher education, voluntary action, charity and volunteering in Britain and the wider world. I currently co-supervise with colleagues across IOE, UCL and SOAS. 

Academic Background
2019   ATQ04 - Recognised by the HEA as a Senior Fellow University College London
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