Staff profile

Dr Helen Brocklehurst

Senior Lecturer


Social Sciences


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Research centre

Better Society, Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre




One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus



Senior Lecturer in International Relations

Teaching responsibilities

Research interests

Work in progress:

The earlier phase of my research (2011-2013) investigated picture books on war and terrorism for children aged 5 to 11 years; stocked by school book sellers, held in over 50 public libraries in the UK and purchasable online. Although these books varied widely in terms of approach and even accuracy, narratives of fear, fatalism, and difference were common within them. Teachers and librarians found many of them to be insensitive or sensationalist but felt unable to circumvent their use. Proposed future impact/output research builds directly on this  research strand which formed part of a 2014 REF (interim) Impact case study Military literacy: children’s consumption of global politics in an age of terror. This research/activity drew attention to the need for stakeholders to work together and for publishers to benefit from a review process.

I have been given a grant from the UoD LHSS Research Fund to continue this work ‘From citizens to warriors: children’s consumption of terrorism within and beyond the classroom’ and I will engage with teachers and public bodies responsible for curriculum content and the production of education materials. My practical focus is on developing and fostering best practice between stakeholders – potentially culminating in a UK publisher’s code of conduct for sensitive topics and the piloting critical literacy toolkits. My longer term goal is to draw attention to the opportunities that political literacy affords within many school subject areas and beyond as young people navigate an increasingly insecure and challenging world.

I am also researching the regulation and ethical issues raised by the circulation of portrait photographs of children in conflict - and arguing for a norm of caretaking or ‘negotiated vulnerability’ to be fostered so that users of subsequent print and online images might be better informed about the rights of such children and the ongoing risks that particular images may pose. An article is on preparation - ‘Boy on the beach… and other stories: challenging norms of vulnerability, privacy and decency in a digital age’.


Recent publications