- First Name
- Last Name
- United Kingdom
- Queen Mary University of London
- Website URL
- childhood, adolescence, ageing, medicine, psychology, psychoanalysis, oral history, modern British history, education, schools, schooling, gender, sexuality
- Media Contact
- Additional Contact Information
- About Me
I am an historian of twentieth-century Britain, and am particularly interested in age, education, self-narratives and oral history, memory and selfhood. My AHRC-funded PhD, completed in 2014 at the University of Cambridge, focused on teachers’ changing concepts of childhood and youth in primary and secondary modern schools in England and Wales from the 1930s to the 1970s. I am currently adapting this project into a monograph, A Progressive Education? How Childhood Changed in Mid-Twentieth-Century English and Welsh Schools, which is under contract with Manchester University Press.
My postdoctoral research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, focuses on how children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of adulthood in Britain have changed from c.1950 to the present day. This project considers adulthood, as well as childhood, as a constructed category, and contends that we can only understand the two in relation to each other. It will explore the tension between the ‘ideal adult’ – the psychologically mature independent actor who can, for example, give informed consent to medical procedures – and the real adult who often doesn’t live up to these ideals. What kind of adult did teenagers think they would grow up to be?
In 2012-13, I received an AHRC student-led Collaborative Skills Development Grant for my project, Talking History, to collaborate with Rambling Heart delivering oral history and storytelling training to graduate students and early career researchers in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge. In May and June 2017, I received funding from the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund to run follow-up workshops with children and adolescents in Bath. I want to explore how traditional storytelling can help us as oral historians; can exploring story structures with our interviewees help them to tell the stories that they want to tell better?
I taught at Cambridge, Oxford and Durham before coming to Queen Mary in May 2018.
- Recent Publications
- Tisdall, Laura (2019). A Progressive Education? How Childhood Changed in Mid-Twentieth-Century English and Welsh Schools. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Tisdall, Laura (2017). Education, parenting and concepts of childhood in England, c. 1945 to c. 1979. Contemporary British History 31(1): 24-46.
- Tisdall, Laura (2016). The psychologist, the psychoanalyst and the ‘extraordinary child’ in postwar British science fiction. Medical Humanities 42(4): e4-e9.
- Tisdall, Laura (2015). Inside the ‘blackboard jungle’: male teachers and male pupils at English secondary modern schools in fact and fiction, 1950 to 1959. Cultural and Social History 12(4): 489-507.
- Tisdall, Laura (2013). ‘That was what life in Bridgeburn had made her’ reading the autobiographies of children in institutional care in England, 1918–46. Twentieth-Century British History 24(3): 351-375.
- Media Coverage
- I have written about my research for History and Policy and the Guardian.
- Country Focus
- Expertise by Geography
- Expertise by Chronology
- Modern, 20th century, 21st century
- Expertise by Topic
- Children & Youth, Family, Gender, Medicine, Pedagogy, Sexuality, Women