Dr Laura Mair

Dr Laura Mair
Dr Laura Mair
Dr Laura Mair


203 Crombie Annexe
Old Aberdeen Campus
College Bounds
AB24 3TS

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I am a historian of modern Scotland in her broader context, with particular interests in children, disability, and religion. I undertook a Master's in History at Leiden University in 2012 and was awarded my doctorate by the University of Edinburgh in 2017. Focusing on the relationships formed within ragged schools across Britain, my PhD straddled both Divinity and History.   

Between 2016 and 2018 I was the Hope Trust Postdoctoral Fellow, based in Edinburgh University's School of Divinity. After completing this project, I acted as Research Assistant to Professor Louise Jackson in the early stages of Gender Equalities at Work. From 2018 to 2020 I wrote and edited Impact Case Studies in preparation for REF 2021.   




External Memberships

Conference Secretary to the Scottish Church History Society

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Prizes and Awards

Hope Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship. 2016-2018.  

Residential Scholarships – Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden. 2014; 2015; 2016; 2017. 

Travel Grants – School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. 2013; 2014; 2015; School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh. 2014. 

Scholarship from the Institut Catholique, Paris. 2013. 

Edinburgh University’s Principal’s Career Development Scholarship. 2012-2015. 

King’s College Nineteenth-Century Studies Scholarship. 2011. 


Research Overview

My research focuses primarily on Scotland and is underpinned by an interest in marginal and underrepresented voices. Youth, disability, and poverty sit at the heart of my research, though I am also interested in subjects such as emigration, religion, and welfare. 

Current Research

I am currently completing a short monograph, due to appear in Brill's Research Perspectives on Religion and Education, which explores how religious division shaped educational provision in Edinburgh. I am in the early stages of a project considering the nature and legacy of Protestant institutionss for poor children living with disabilities over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.    

Past Research

My research to date has focused on the British ragged school movement, which has proven a fruitful lens through which to explore questions of childhood, disability, gender, and poverty. My first book, Religion and Relationships in Ragged Schools: An Intimate History of Educating the Poor (Routledge, 2019), adopted a microhistory approach to consider the longitudinal impact of ragged schools. In recent scholarship I have explored the distinctiveness of the Scottish ragged schools, highlighting the complex evangelical and philanthropic networks that underpinned and connected these institutions across Britiain. 

Knowledge Exchange

Having acted as a consultant to a number of museums and archives, I am keen to engage with the heritage sector. Of particular note, I was research consultant to the Victoria and Albert Museum's Museum of Childhood in connection with their exhibition 'On Their Own: Britain's Child Migrants' (2015-2016).