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Dr Georgina Brewis
UCL Institute of Education
University College London
20 Bedford Way
  • Associate Professor
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education

I am Associate Professor in the History of Education at UCL Institute of Education where I am a member of the International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE). I am a historian of education, voluntary action, youth and students in Britain and the wider world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

I am currently completing a co-authored book Humanitarianism in the Modern World: The Moral Economy of Famine Relief  (Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press). My revised and updated version of UCL's official history (The World of UCL) was published by UCL Press in 2018. I am currently working on an ESRC-funded project examining discourses of voluntary action in the 1940s and 2010s, as well as undertaking research into the impact of the First World War on students and universities. 

My first book A Social History of Student Volunteering: Britain and Beyond 1880-1980 (Palgrave, 2014) takes a long view of the student experience in Britain and tells the story of how ordinary students engaged with social and political questions through volunteering, social service and social action. 

I joined UCL Institute of Education 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 postdoctoral fellowship. I studied History and Politics at Pembroke College, University of Oxford and my PhD thesis, completed in 2009 at the University of East London, explored how the imperial experience shaped patterns of charitable giving and voluntary service in Britain and India before 1914, with a focus on young people's social service and education. I also previously worked as a researcher in the voluntary sector.  

Research Themes
Research Summary

My research explores the interlinked histories of voluntary action, education and youth in Britain and the wider world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am currently completing a co-authored book about humanitarian relief during famines across two centuries (the result of a project funded by the Swedish Research Council, 2013-2017). 

I am Director of a five year British Academy Research Project, 'Digitising the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Britain' (2014-2019). This knowledge exchange project builds on a longstanding interest in the particular problems facing voluntary organisations and charities, for more information see the project website

I am a Co-Investigator on an ESRC funded project called Discourses of Voluntary Action at two “Transformational Moments” of the Welfare State, the 1940s and 2010s (ESRC grant ES/N018249/1, 2017-2019). With Daniel Laqua (Northumbria University) I am a Co-Investigator on an AHRC project British Ex-Service Students and the Rebuilding of Europe, 1919-1926 working with the National Union of Students (NUS) and the North East branch of the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA). 

Teaching Summary

I teach on a range of history courses across UCL. I am module leader for two undergraduate courses 'Youth and Youth Movements in the Modern World' (BA Education Studies) and 'Voluntary Organisations, NGOs and the British Public, 1914-1985' (UCL History Department). 

I supervise students in twentieth century social history, particularly the history of education, youth, voluntary action and volunteering - co-supervising with colleagues in UCL History and UC Geography.

In 2016 I won a UCL 'Liberating the Curriculum' small teaching grant to develop new teaching and learning resources for my courses, including the development of a object-based learning collection.

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