Alison Wood

Academic Director, Homerton Changemakers
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Year Joined Homerton: 

Alison directs Homerton Changemakers, a pioneering new programme equipping students to become more effective agents of change in the world. Research-led and practical, the programme offers students opportunities to develop purpose-led leadership, deeper knowledge of themselves, and the skills to turn great ideas into sustainable realities. Drawing on the expertise of the University and beyond Changemakers will launch in Spring 2019.

Before joining Homerton Alison was the Mellon/Newton Interdisciplinary Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at CRASSH (Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Cambridge (2013-2018); and a Research Associate in the Faculties of English and Divinity, also at Cambridge (2011-2013). She read English and History at the University of Adelaide and worked as a musician for several years before undertaking graduate work in English at King's College London (KCL).

Alison has extensive experience facilitating cross-sector, interdisciplinary research initiatives – in medicine, cultural history, and english. She's also co-directed a British Academy funded project ‘Negotiating Religion in the Contemporary University' (Cambridge & UCL, 2012-13) and currently leads a British Academy Research Network on 'Critical University Studies'.

At Cambridge she’s served as a member of the University's Researcher Development Committee, the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s Working Group on Post-Doctoral Affairs, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Research Careers and Training Advisory Group; co-convened the CRASSH Post-doctoral Forum (2014-17); established and led the CRASSH ‘Becoming a Research Leader’ Programme (2014-2018); and taught in Divinity and English. She also works regularly with the University's School of Arts and Humanities, the Careers Service, and the Researcher Development Programme.

Research Interests: 

Alison's work focuses on a single complex question: what are Universities really *for*?

How and under what conditions are the purposes of Universities re-imagined and re-articulated? How is that work done most persuasively and effectively?

Current projects include:

  • 'University Keywords', investigating the language of and about universities using concept histories and keywords analysis
  • a history of scholarly labour C19th onwards, taking in scholarly habits, networks, the formation of disciplines, and related university governance
  • drawing on ideas of academic citizenship - in its fullest sense - as a foundation for academic and research leadership in UK Universities

Alison has also written on genre, authorial collaboration, C19th natural history, classification practices, life-writing, secularism, pleasures and anxieties in scholarly work, and the history of academic disciplines; all with a view to better understanding the structures, cultures and many purposes of Universities and intellectual labour. She currently leads a British Academy Early Career Network on Critical University Studies (supported by a Rising Stars Engagement Award) {LINK 1} and with colleagues at CRASSH recently co-convened a symposium on Academic Citizenship. [Link 2].