Helen Young

Helen YoungDetails

  Division: History & Politics

  Email: h.l.young@stir.ac.uk


Title of research topic

The small rural school and community relations in Scotland 1872-2000: an interdisciplinary history

Supervisors: Dr James Smyth (History) Professor Douglas Robertson (Social Science)


Having previously studied History at the University of York (1994-1997), I returned to my studies in 2010 to undertake an MRes in Historical Research at Stirling and on completion was fortunate enough to secure funding from the ESRC for a PhD in Economic and Social History. I am currently in the third year of my doctoral research.

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, utilising social theory and combining archival research with oral history interviewing, my aim is to provide a detailed historical account of rural education across Scotland as well as focusing down at community level to explore the role that small schools, and their teachers, have played in community life during this period. Encapsulating many research interests, the study considers: the evolution of educational policy and practice in nineteenth and twentieth- century Scotland; shifting trends in the socialisation of children and ideas of citizenship; rural sociology and the social/cultural impact of place, centre-periphery dynamics; as well as constructions of community and the associated notions of identity, belonging, space, place and social capital.

Prior to this, I worked as a policy officer for an international development agency, conducting policy research and analysis with a particular focus on child rights issues. I wrote and edited a number of reports during this time, the most recent of which was a follow-up review of progress towards the UN Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS in Africa (see selected publications below). Other projects undertaken include the coordination of an inter-agency campaign on child trafficking, aimed at closing a loop-hole in UK legislation, and a redesign of the policy section of the website.

Research Interests

  • Modern Scottish history
  • Social history
  • History of education
  • Education policy
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Oral history
  • Space and place
  • Identity/ies and belonging
  • Community engagement and participation
  • Rural sociology

Further information 

Current awards: 

ESRC Doctoral Award (Economic and Social History) 2012-2015

Previous awards:

John Robert Hamilton Memorial Scholarship, University of Stirling, 2010

Journal Articles:

'Contributing to the community debate:  understanding social change in rural Scotland during the twentieth century', The Local Historian, Vol 45 No 4, October 2015


Conference Papers:

Making sense of community in rural Scotland: Exploring the role of the small school through oral history research, ‘Face to face with the past', Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC) Postgraduate Conference, SOHC, University of Strathclyde, 9th May 2014

Contributing to the community debate: a micro-historical perspective on social change in rural Scotland during the 20th century, Economic and Social History Society of Scotland (ESHSS) Annual Conference Inverness, 20th September 2013

What’s a postcode between friends? A community perspective on regional administration in Scotland, 'Regionalism and Representation’ interdisciplinary symposium, University of Warwick, 26th April 2013

Cunning over convention? Exploring the investigative power of interdisciplinary history: a twentieth-century Scottish case study, International Graduate Historical Studies Conference (IGHSC), Central Michigan University, USA, 6th April 2013

Teaching and internships:

January – April 2014: Undertook a three-month ESRC internship as a social researcher with the Scottish Government, gaining experience of policy research within a civil service setting. Although not directly related to my studies, the work undertaken did raise pertinent questions which have informed my doctoral research.

September – December 2013: Worked as a Teaching Assistant on an undergraduate history module (HIS921) with responsibility for two first-year tutorial groups (teaching, marking and feedback). Alongside this I took the CAPP10 teaching course and completed all the required elements to gain the certificate.

Selected publications:

I played a key role in writing and editing the following reports:

What difference does a decade make? Action for orphans and vulnerable children in Africa (Milton Keynes, 2011)


Puppets or players? A review of child participation approaches in Africa (Milton Keynes, 2008)


More than words? Action for orphans and vulnerable children in Africa (Milton Keynes, 2005)


Small voices, big concerns: a child rights approach to HIV/AIDS (Brussels, 2004)


Web profiles:

Academia: www.stir.academia.edu/HelenYoung   

LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/helen-louise-young/6a/761/b52

Research Gate:   https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Helen_Young3

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon