Dr Laura Bentley

Dr Laura Bentley

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Research Fellow in Social Policy

Dr Laura Bentley has been a Research Fellow in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology since submitting her PhD thesis for examination in 2019. Most recently, Laura started an ESRC funded Postdoctoral Fellowship, the project title of which is: ‘Still Jenny from the block? Working-class women, higher education & social mobility in the COVID-19 context’.

The project programme includes four elements: (i) Laura will conduct research which explores the social mobility of working-class women who graduated from university during the global pandemic. (ii) Next, she will write a monograph based on her PhD and further research which will be published by Bristol University Press. (iii) She will do quantitative training in statistical modelling to track the scarring effects of COVID-19 on the social mobility of young working-class people over time. (iv) Finally, a proposal for a larger project will be developed to explore these issues on a more substantial scale.

Laura’s work is interdisciplinary, spanning social policy, sociology and education. Her research interests focus on social inequalities in education and the employment market, youth transitions, social mobility, social class, poverty and welfare.

Laura created, organises and facilitates the ‘Working-class Women’s Writing Retreat’ through which she has established a network of 173 academics and students across the globe. In addition, she is a co-convenor of the British Sociological Association’s Social Class Study Group and is a member of the following: The Social Policy Association, British Educational Research Association, the British Sociological Association and the Poverty, Wealth and Inequality research group.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Sociology. Department of Education, University of the West of England. Title: Jackie Goes Home. Young working-class women: higher education, employment and social (re)alignment. Funded by The Leverhulme Trust. Completed 2020.
  • BA (Hons) English and Education, First class honours degree. Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University. Completed 2014.

Teaching

Laura has taught in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology on the following Social Policy and Sociology modules: Philosophies of Welfare; Social Problems & Social Policy; Social Research Methods; Access 2 Birmingham, Outreach.

Prior to this Laura taught on Social Policy and Sociology modules delivered at the University of Huddersfield and Sheffield Hallam University: Self, Society and Welfare; Research Methodologies; Major Studies (Dissertation); Research Methodologies; Literacy and Mathematics in Early Years and KS1.

Doctoral research

PhD title
Bentley, L. (2020) Jackie Goes Home. Young working-class women: Higher education, employment and social (re)alignment. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/2xzm4w2f. Examined by Professor Diane Reay and Dr Helen Bovill, supervised by Professor Harriet Bradley and Dr Richard Waller.

Research

ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham (2021 - 2022).                         
Project: Still Jenny from the Block? Working-class women, higher education and social mobility in the COVID context. Project Investigator. Funded by the ESRC. Weblink: https://tinyurl.com/2nyhhaxv

Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham (2019 – 2021).
Project: Revisiting the Needs of Sutton Coldfield. Change and Future Requirements. Funded by the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust. Weblink: https://tinyurl.com/4c8ccruf

Research Assistant at Sheffield Hallam University (2016).
Project: Understanding Feedback: Staff and student perspectives on the use of undergraduate feedback. Funded by the Learning Teaching and Assessment funding stream, Sheffield Institute of Education.

Research Assistant at the University of the West of England (2014 – 2017).
Project: Paired Peers: Moving on Up?. Funded by The Leverhulme Trust. Weblink: https://tinyurl.com/2nmekp49

Postgraduate Researcher at the University of the West of England (2014 – 2019).
Project: Jackie Goes Home. Working-class women: Higher education, employment and social (re)alignment. Funded by The Leverhulme Trust.

Other activities

  • Research Staff Representative for the School of Social Policy Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Co-convenor - British Sociological Association’s Social Class Study Group
  • Creator and facilitator of the ‘Working-class Women’s Writing Retreat’ which has amassed a network of 173 academics and students across the globe
  • Member - British Sociological Association
  • Member - Social Policy Association
  • Member - British Educational Research Association
  • Member - University of Birmingham, Poverty, Wealth and Inequality research group

Publications

Monograph:     

Bentley, L. (2023) Young working-class women, higher education and graduate life. To be published by Bristol University Press. (Contract signed, writing in progress)

Book:                 

Bradley, H., Bentley, L. and Waller, R. (2022) Selling our youth: Graduate stories of class, gender and work in challenging times. To be published by Emerald. (Contract signed, writing in progress)

Journal article:

Papafilippou, V. and Bentley, L. (2017) ‘Gendered transitions, career identities and possible selves: the case of engineering graduates’, Journal of Education and Work, 30(8), pp. 827-839.doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2017.1375088

Book chapters:

Bentley, L. (2022) ‘Diverse graduate trajectories in austere times: The case of young working-class women in the UK’, in: Gregory, L. and Iafrati, S. (eds.) Diversity and Welfare in 21st Century. To be published by Policy Press in 2022. (Submitted, awaiting comments)

Bentley, L. (2022) ‘Habitus war: Being a Working-class Woman in Academia’, in: Burnell, I. (ed.) ‘The Lives of Working Class Academics: getting ideas above your station’. To be published by Emerald in 2022. (Abstract accepted, writing in progress)

Bentley, L. and Papafilippou, V. (2022) ‘‘Engineering capital’, gender and graduate employment: the case of Jennifer and Marcus’, in: Ingram, N., Abrahams, J., Bathmaker, A.M., Bentley, L., Bradley, H., Hoare, A., Papafilippou, V. and Waller, R. (eds.) The Degree Generation: How Graduate Employment and Life-Course Transitions are Shaped by Social Background and Education. Bristol: Bristol University Press. (Submitted, awaiting publication)

Reports:             

Bradley, H., Abrahams, J., Bathmaker, A-M., Bentley, L., Hoare, T., Ingram, N., Papafilippou, V., and Waller, R. (2018) Paired Peers: Moving on Up? Year Three Project Report. Social Class and Graduate Trajectories. Bristol: The Leverhulme Trust.

Papafilippou, V. and Bentley, L. (2016) Exploring the ‘possible selves’ available to male and female engineering graduates. UWE, Bristol: Centre of Employment Studies Research Review. 

Interviews:        

Bentley, L. (2021) Social Policy Matters Magazine: Dr Laura Bentley wins ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. 20th July. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/2nyhhaxv

Bentley, L. (2020) The Sociology Show [Podcast]. 7th December. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/sf3584nt 

Blog posts:        

Bentley, L. (2018) ‘A Working-Class Feminist’s Perspective of Navigating the ‘Classed’ Higher Education System’, Bristol Inter-disciplinary Group for Education Research, 14th June. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/68ddxjxc

Bentley, L., (2017) ‘The (Habitus) War Is Over… If You Want It?’, The Sociological Review, 7th December. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/3mhn53v9

Thesis:                

Bentley, L. (2020) Jackie Goes Home. Young working-class women: Higher education, employment and social (re)alignment. PhD thesis. University of the West of England. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/f4e2388y

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