For the past seven years I have been researching the growth of the public relations industry in Britain (and beyond) during the twentieth century. This work has led me to think and write about the role of artists and intellectuals in national life, the growth of Britain’s culture industries, the peculiar path of liberalism, changing ideas of organisational and macroeconomic management, the application and popular understandings of science and technology, and how the conception of (and experience of) democracy altered over the twentieth century.
I am currently a Research Associate on the European Research Council Project (2012–2016), 'Economics in the Public Sphere: USA, UK, France, Poland and Brazil since 1945'. Present projects include research on the history of financial journalism and the efforts of organisations such as Aims of Industry and the Economic Information Unit to develop popular forms of economic education. I recently completed a project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which focused on the work of the market research pioneer Mark Abrams.
I am co-convenor of the Public and Popular History seminar (get sporadic updates on Twitter here). I have recently become a co-convenor of the IHR Public History.
I offer supervisions on two undergraduate papers on modern British political, economic, social and cultural history (6 & 11)
Other Professional Activities
For the last six years I have worked extensively with the British Film Institute on a series of highly-successful screenings, curatorial projects, and book and DVD releases including Land of Promise, Shadows of Progress and . We Live in Two Worlds, volume two of the BFI’s GPO Film Unit collection, won ‘DVD boxset of the year’ at the 2009 Il Cinema Ritrovato awards at the Bologna Film Festival, while The GPO Film Unit, an interactive educational documentary starring Sir Derek Jacobi (Dir. M. Bercy, 2008) was an Honoree at the 2009 Webby awards. I also co-authored the successful application to add the Unit's work to UNESCO's 'Memory of the World' register in 2011. You can see me talk about this strand of my research on the BBC News here.
- Public Relations and the making of modern Britain (2012)
- British Aviation Posters: Art, Design and Flight (with Oliver Green) (2012)
- The Projection of Britain: a history of the GPO Film Unit (co-edited with James Mansell) (2011)
- Night Mail (2007)
‘Governing for happiness: Mark Abrams, subjective social indicators and the post-war explosion of “middle-opinion”’ in D. Leggett and C. Sleigh (Eds.) Scientific Governance in Britain, 1914-1979 (MUP, 2014) Forthcoming
'The Documentary Movement and the spaces of British Identity’ a special issue of Twentieth Century British History (co-edited with James Mansell) (OUP, 2012)
'The Future’s in the Air: Imperial Airways and the British Documentary Film Movement' in Journal of British Film and Television, Vol. 8, No.3 (EUP, 2011)
‘Imperialism and internationalism: The British documentary movement and the legacy of the Empire Marketing Board’ in C. MacCabe and L. Grieveson (Eds.) Empire and Film (British Film Institute, 2011)
- ‘Ambition and anxiety: The Science Museum 1950-1983’ P. J. T. Morris (Ed.) Science for the Nation: Perspectives on the history of the Science Museum (Palgrave, London, 2010)
- Public Trust in the News: A Constructivist Study of the Social Life of the News (Reuters Institute, Oxford, 2009) (with Professor Stephen Coleman and Professor David E Morrison)