Kate Spencer-Bennett

Doctoral Researcher



Current Status

First Year

Research Topic

Libraries in Women’s Lives

Research Summary  

In the context of questions about the future of libraries, my PhD project investigates the value of libraries for women through narrative and ethnographic techniques. Inspired by my previous research on girls’ reading practices (MA) and women’s reflections on Birmingham’s public libraries (MEd), this project sees libraries as educational spaces implicated in practices of identification and self understanding.

Research Interests 

  • Women and Libraries
  • Reading practices
  • English and Education

Research projects

Assistant Researcher on Transcultural Reading Project lead by Dr Danielle Fuller (American and Canadian Studies, The University of Birmingham)

Associate Researcher on research project investigating School Leadership lead by Kay Fuller (School of Education, The University of Birmingham) 

Research Supervisors

Professor Ian Grosvenor and Dr Kevin Myers


My PhD research is ESRC funded.

Membership of Research and Professional Organisations

British Educational Research Association

British Sociological Association 

Forthcoming Conferences 

ECER 2016 Dublin Libraries in the Lives of Women; using narrative to capture women’s reflections on libraries 

BERA 2016 Leeds Libraries in the Lives of Women 


School of Education’s 14th Annual Research Conference, University of Birmingham Young Women, Value and the Public Library; Narrative Accounts of Birmingham’s Libraries 

National Association for Teachers of English (NATE) conference, British Library Reading practices at a Birmingham Secondary School 

School of Education’s 10th Annual Research Conference, University of Birmingham An exploration of Year 8 girls’ out-of school reading habits 

Additional Information 

I teach on modules within the School of Education and within The Department of English Language and Applied LInguistics. I also lead workshops on the Secondary English PG Dip Ed. 

I am a postgraduate representative on the Doctoral Research Consultancy Group and a member of the Committee for School of Education Doctoral Research.  I am also a member of the Friends of the Library of Birmingham. 


  • The University of Birmingham School of Education’s Sue Leach prize Prize for M Ed dissertation 

  • National Association for Teachers of English Terry Furlong Award for conference paper