Dr Sarah Kenny FHEA

Dr Sarah Kenny

Department of History
Lecturer in Modern History and Distance Learning

Contact details

Department of History
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a social and cultural historian of modern Britain, with particular focus on histories of youth, gender, leisure, and urban redevelopment in post-war period.


  • PhD in History, University of Sheffield, 2017
  • MA in Modern History, University of Sheffield, 2014
  • BA (Hons) in History, University of Sheffield, 2012


I joined the University of Birmingham following the submission of my PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2017. Since joining the History Department I have taught and supervised on a range of topics, with a particular focus on social histories of contemporary Britain.


I teach on a range of undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes at the University of Birmingham. Courses I have taught include:

  • The Young Ones: Youth, Popular Culture and Social Change in Modern Britain
  • Feminisms and the Women's Movement in Modern Britain: From Suffragists to Ladettes
  • Sites and Sources in Modern British Studies
  • A Holiday from Reality: A History of Drugs and Drug Use in Modern Britain
  • Research Methods
  • Practicing History (Approaches to History)
  • Public History
  • Dissertation Supervision


My research considers the intersection between youth, consumerism, regulation, and the built environment. I explore these themes in my first monograph Growing Up and Going Out: Youth Culture, Commerce, and Leisure Space in Post-War Britain. The book, forthcoming with Manchester University Press, demonstrates the extent to which young people reshaped the post-war built environment in Britain, and argues that spatial movement is key to understanding the lived everyday. I have published on leisure and urban redevelopment in post-war Britain, and on youth culture and oral histories. My work also considers consumption and popular culture, and I have work forthcoming on teenage magazines, adolescent sexuality, and the new morality of 1960s Britain. 

Increasingly, I am interested in the relationship between youth and intoxication. My second project, tentatively titled ‘From Teenybop to Alcopop? Youth, Alcohol, and Leisure in Contemporary Britain’, reframes youth drinking beyond the boundaries of policy and public health. It offers a timely reassessment of leisure that illuminates questions about sociability, legal and illicit consumption, and the state’s role in defining these categories.I am also developing articles on the history of alcohol regulation in post-war England and adolescent girls’ drinking in 1970s Scotland.



  • Growing Up and Going Out: Youth Culture, Commerce, and Leisure Space in Post-War Britain (forthcoming with Manchester University Press)



Selected Reviews

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