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Dr Rachel Wilde
20 Bedford Way
Institute of Education
Tel: 020 7612 6811
Dr Rachel Wilde profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education

I studied Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, focusing during my doctorate on the modern phenomena of Gap Years. The main question I was exploring was what sort of person does a gap year produce, and how is this achieved? I spent a year doing ethnographic participant observation with a gap year organisation, learning about the organisational processes and procedures, both behind the scenes and in their work with young people and adults.

After completing my doctorate, I took up a position at LLAKES (Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge, Economies and Societies) as a research officer, working on numerous projects as a qualitative ethnographer and interviewer.

In 2016, I began a new post as Lecturer in Education on the Education Studies BA at UCL IOE, and in 2018 took up the role of Programme Leader for the Education Studies BA. I was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020.

Research Summary

My main research interests are concerned with the world of work and the relationship between work and education (informal and formal). I'm fascinated by organisations, and the role they play in our lives, how they shape us, as we shape them back. I've conducted research in international NGOs, British charities, British private, state and free schools, and in businesses in engineering, retail and professional services sectors.

My recent book, co-authored with Professor Pauline Leonard at the University of Southampton explores how young people access the labour market and become employable persons.

My work with Professor David Guile is about the learning and work process for project teams made up of different professions. We're currently working with a case study organisation in the engineering sector and exploring how different forms of value are articulated and negotiated by interdisiplinary project teams.

I've also worked on the qualitative element of the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Survey, interviewing young people about their aspirations and opportunities. 

I've conducted interviews with head teachers in private schools about how they understand 'public benefit' and charitable obligations, and with head teachers of free schools about their school missions and objectives.

Teaching Summary

I am accepting PhD students who are interested in;

Work, labour and employment
Workplace learning
Transitions to work and career development
Young people
Personhood, individualism and governmentality
Organisational Anthropology
Ethnography and qualitative methods

I am also available for Anthropology PhD students for Co-Supervision with UCL Anthropology.

Module Leader:

Qualitative Social Science Research Methods
Year 2 Undergraduates

Educating for Employment? Understanding Learning in Labour Markets in the 21st Century Economy
Year 3 Undergraduates

Doing and Writing Ethnography
Doctoral Students

Introduction to Ethnography
Doctoral Students

Contributing Lecturer:
Understanding Education Research
Professionalism and Expertise
Masters students

Academic Background
2016   ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow  
2007   Bachelor of Social Science University of Manchester
    Doctor of Philosophy University of Manchester
2019   ATQ04 - Recognised by the HEA as a Senior Fellow University College London
2008   Master University of Manchester
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