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School of English and Drama

Charlie Pullen


Making Education New in the Age of Modernism



I grew up in Brighton, and first came to QMUL in 2012 to study for a BA and then an MA in English. After a year working with schools and colleges at UCL’s Access and Widening Participation Office, I returned to Queen Mary in 2017 to begin my PhD, which is supervised by Morag Shiach and Scott McCracken.

My thesis explores the relationship between literature and the rise of progressive education in Britain from the 1890s to the 1940s. Combining literary studies, cultural history, and philosophies of education, I’m interested in how literary writers and progressive teachers in this period conceive of education as a process of creative experimentation and active living. My work considers a range of writers, including William Morris, Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, May Sinclair, and Dorothy Richardson, all of whom have a deep interest in reimagining the possibilities of education and schooling. I then bring these writers and their texts into conversation with the theories and practices associated with a host of experimental educationalists and institutions: A.S. Neill and his libertarian boarding school Summerhill; Susan Isaacs’s psychoanalytic nursery at the Malting House; Bedales; John Dewey; and many more.   

I’m a Teaching Associate in English. In 2018-19, I taught on our first year critical theory course, and in 2019-20 I’m teaching on the second year Modernism option and the final year Dissertation module.

My background is in access and widening participation, and I remain committed to working with schools and colleges, having recently helped deliver the School of English and Drama's Show and Tell project, a series of public lectures that celebrate studying and working in the arts and humanities. I am a blogger and reviewer for Times Higher Education, and you can follow me @charliepullen_


  • ESH102 Reading, Theory and Interpretation: Approaches to the Study of English Literature



Morag Shiach; Scott McCracken