Lauren Alex O' Hagan

Research Associate in the Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University

I am currently a research associate in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University. I am working on a one-year project funded by the ESRC entitled 'Reading, Writing and... Rebellion: Exploring Literacies and Class Conflict in the Edwardian Book Inscription'.

My research explores literacy and class conflict in Edwardian Britain (1901-14) through book inscriptions. I use an ethnohistorical approach to multimodality, which blends visual analysis with archival and historical research, in order to gain a better understanding of the ways in which identity performance, book ownership and readership varied according to social class in early twentieth-century Britain. An important aspect of my research is unlocking the 'hidden histories' of working-class and lower-middle-class individuals who have typically been left out of official records of the Edwardian era.

While book inscriptions are my main research interest, I have also explored class relations and social tensions in Edwardian Britain through other material artefacts, including writing implements, postcards, food packaging and advertising, and marching banners. Since January 2019, I have been a member of FoodKom – a European research group led by Örebro University in Sweden – which explores food communication from an interdisciplinary perspective. I have also carried out research on rock memorabilia, including tour t-shirts and battle jackets.

I am in the process of writing my first monograph - Social, Communicative and Performative Functions of Edwardian Book Inscriptions: Taking a Multimodal Ethnohistorical Approach - which will be published with Routledge in 2021. I recently finished editing Rebellious Writing: Marginalised Edwardians and the Struggle for Symbolic Power, a book which focuses on symbolic acts of resistance by marginalised groups in early 20th-century Britain. The book will be published later this year with Peter Lang.

Before entering the world of academia, I established and ran B_Abel Linguistic Services - a company that offered translation, proofreading and EFL tutoring. I hold an MA in Applied Linguistics, BA Hons in Modern Language Studies and various professional qualifications in Spanish, Italian, French, German, BSL and EFL.


  • 2019–present
    ESRC Research Associate, Cardiff University
  • 2019–2019
    Visiting Researcher, Örebro University
  • 2018–2018
    Research Assistant, Cardiff University
  • 2016–2017
    Postgraduate Tutor, Cardiff University