Newcastle University Academic Track Fellowships NUAcT

Laura Tisdall

Dr Laura Tisdall

Dr Laura Tisdall

I am a historian of childhood, adolescence, age and ageing in twentieth and twenty-first century Britain. My monograph A Progressive Education? How Childhood Changed in Mid-Twentieth-Century English and Welsh Schools (Manchester University Press, 2019) argues that there was a significant shift in concepts of both childhood and adolescence in 1950s Britain. More ‘child-centred’ approaches to schooling actually shaped more restrictive and pessimistic ideas about young people’s capabilities, despite their claims to offer greater freedom. My current research project looks at how British teenagers reacted to this shift in ideas about age and ageing from c.1950 to the present day. 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, flawed parent or teacher. What kind of adult did teenagers think they would grow up to be? I have also worked on ‘evil children’ in science fiction and horror films, and have recently been presenting this research to public audiences at the British Science Festival, Oxford IF and the Cosmic Shambles Network’s Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People. The interdisciplinary nature of my research makes the NUAcT fellowship a perfect fit for me.




Twitter: @TisdallLaura