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Lecturer in Education, UCL

Karen Hanrahan is a principal lecturer, based in the School of Education where she is Route Leader for the PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages and joint Subject Lead for Education Studies. Prior to joining the University of Brighton in 2013, Karen worked in Initial Teacher Education at the Open University for five years.

Karen’s interdisciplinary approach is informed by her academic background. She graduated with a BComm (Hons)(International) from University College Dublin and was awarded an MA with distinction in French Literature from Queen’s University Belfast in 1998. After completing her PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages, Karen worked as a teacher of French, German and Italian for many years in a variety of school settings, holding a number of leadership roles. In 2004, Karen gained an Advanced Diploma in Professional Studies from the Institute of Education, University of London and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Social Sciences at the Open University in 2013. Karen was awarded an MRes by the University of Brighton in 2019; her research used narrative inquiry to explore trainee language teachers’ sense of professional becoming.

She has been awarded a Techne AHRC studentship for her PhD, which adopts a life history approach to explore the lives of former women teaching religious (nuns). Her work is located at the interface between a number of disciplines (life writing, sociology, narrative psychology and Irish Studies) and is concerned with representations of the past and how ethical memory can challenge the imposing ideologies of the present. Karen’s other research interests include professional identity formation, reflexivity and transformative learning in Higher Education and narrative methodology.


  • 2013–present
    Principal Lecturer in Education, University of Brighton, UK