Simon Sleight

Simon Sleight


  • Reader in Urban History, Historical Youth Cultures and Australian History, History
  • Phone87393
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Personal profile

Research interests

I teach and research at King's College London, where I am Reader in Urban History, Historical Youth Cultures and Australian History. I am also Co-Founding Director of the Children's History Society, an organisation for scholars who either study - or are! - young people. Linked to this enterprise, I also co-convene a seminar series on 'Life-Cycles' at the Institute of Historical Research in London and I administer an online Australian studies research community: 'MCAS Australian Studies Network'. 

My recent writing projects include a textbook on 'History, Memory and Public Life: The Past in the Present' (Routledge) and a cultural history of twentieth-century youth. A further co-edited collection, 'Children, Childhood and Youth in the British World' was recently published with Palgrave Macmillan. A co-edited book, 'A Cultural History of Youth in the Modern Age', is forthcoming with Bloomsbury.

My research explores the processes of 'making place', urban life in the past, the evolution of youth cultures and the Australian presence in Britain. My 2013 book, 'Young People and the Shaping of Public Space in Melbourne, 1870-1914' (Routledge) analyses the relationship between unfolding city spaces, young people's urban activities and a contemporary discourse positioning Australia as a youthful country. Ranging across topics including city play and autonomy, the hidden economies of the streets, consumerism, courtship, gang culture, the politics of urban display, the regulation of behaviour and national identity, the book adopts an interdisciplinary approach to address related issues within urban history and cultural geography. In July 2010 the research project on which the book is based was awarded the Australian Historical Association's biennial Serle Award for best doctoral thesis in Australian history submitted in 2008-09. 

Between 2004 and 2008, with the benefit of a Northcote Scholarship, I studied for my doctorate at Monash University in Melbourne and began the research outlined above. I also hold an undergraduate degree in History from Warwick University and a Master's in Modern History from University College London. Prior to my current appointment, I was the 2011 Rydon Fellow with the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at King's College London.  

Alongside my interest in historical youth cultures and urban history, I have also written on various aspects of the Australian community in Britain, including a short history of the Australian High Commission and a history of a nineteenth- and twentieth-century expatriate newspaper, the 'British Australasian'.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

History, Doctor of Philosophy, 'The Territories of Youth: Young People and Public Space in Melbourne, 1870-1901', Monash University

Award Date: 1 Jan 2008

Modern History, Master of Arts, UCL University College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2002

History, Bachelor of Arts, University of Warwick

Award Date: 1 Jan 1999


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