Dr Helen Brocklehurst

Position: Senior Lecturer

College: College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Department: Law, Criminology and Social Sciences

Subject area: Social Science

Research Centre: Identity, Conflict and Representation

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Senior Lecturer in International Relations

Teaching responsibilities

  • 4IR500 Introduction to International Relations and Diplomacy
  • 5IR500 International Institutions and Diplomacy
  • 6IR501 International Economic Relations
  • 6IR503 Global Watch: International Events & the Media
  • 6SL503 Globalisation and Social Change
  • Extended Essays
  • PhD Supervision.

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’.


  • Doctorate in International Relations  ‘Children as Political Bodies: Concepts, Cases and Theories’, Department of International Politics, University of Wales Aberystwyth.
  • BSc Econ International Relations Department of International Politics, University of Wales Aberystwyth.

Recent publications

  • With Krijn Peters, ‘Constructing and deconstructing child soldier narratives’ in Geographies of Children and Young People. Conflict, Violence, and Peace, edited by Tracey Skelton, Christopher Harker and Kathrin Horschelmann. Springer 2016.
  • Brocklehurst, H., 'The state of play: securities of childhood – insecurities of children', Critical Studies on Security,  Vol. 3, Issue. 1, January 2015, pp. 29-46 
  • Brocklehurst, H, ‘Educating Britain? Political literacy and the construction of national history’, Journal of Common Market Studies, November 2014. Special Issue titled ‘Interpreting British European Policy’ (Guest Editors: Mark Bevir, Oliver Daddow and Pauline Schnapper) DOI: 10.1111/jcms.12211.
  • Brocklehurst, H., ‘Child Soldiers’ in Alan Collins, (ed), Contemporary Security Studies, 3rd edition (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Brocklehurst, H., ‘Education and the war on terror: the early years’, In M. Beier, ed. The Militarization of Childhood: Beyond the Global South, (Palgrave: New York, 2011) ISBN: 978-0-230-11576-7
  • Brocklehurst, H.,  ‘Violence as a gendered experience’ in Violent Life-Worlds –Vicious Circles and Exit Options for Youths (Gewaltsame Lebenswelten – Teufelskreise und Auswege für Jugendliche in Entwicklungs-ländern)  Sabine Kurtenbach, Rüdiger Blumör and Sebastian Huhn eds. ONE World, Development and Peace Foundation (Stiftung Entwicklung und Frieden).Volume 24, 2010.
  • Brocklehurst, H., ‘Childhood in Conflict: will the real child soldier please stand up?’ In Gunning Jennifer, Holm, Soren and Kenway Ian, (eds.) Ethics Law and Society, Volume 4  (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2009).
  • Brocklehurst, H., Who’s afraid of children? Children, conflict and International Relations, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006) ISBN: 0754641716
  • Brocklehurst, H., ‘Just Children? Just War?’ in Just War Theory: A Reappraisal, Mark Evans. ed. (Edinburgh University Press, 2005).
  • Brocklehurst, H, and Phillips R (eds). History, Nationhood and the Question of Britain (with a foreword by Norman Davies) (Palgrave, January 2004). Primary (sole) co-editor and co-author of two chapters.

Recent conferences

  • 2015, with Sung-Hee Lee and Franc Jegede, 'Who’s the Daddy? Global Terrorism & Gender Violence: A Critical Analysis of Extremist Groups’ Use of Women & Children as Weapons of War'  Inequalities in a Global Age Conference, Cambridge University, September.
  • 2013, November 24, ‘State of play: securities of childhood - insecurities of children’, Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University.
  • 2013, November 8 ‘Educating Britain? Political literacy and the construction of national history’, British European Policy: Traditions and Dilemmas workshop, UCL Berkeley.
  • 2009, October 28-30, funded participant and presenter in expert workshop ‘Violent Life-Worlds – Vicious Circles and Exit Options for Youths’, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg.

Additional interests and activities

Painting (oil and pastel, very part-time) including for galleries in USA, Ireland and the UK.

Experience in industry


 Since January 2010 I have been working with an international team developing the Global Politics Diploma for the International Baccalaureate Organisation. I am now an External Examiner and paper setter for this course. This has been a unique opportunity to shape a dynamic, inclusive and exciting curriculum which is available 140 countries.

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