Dr Laura Mazzoli Smith
CELTA, BSc, MA, PhD, PGCert, FHEA
|Associate Professor in the School of Education||ED128||+44 (0) 191 33 40177|
|Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing||0191 334 0177|
I joined the School of Education at Durham University in 2018. Prior to this I was Senior Research Fellow in the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth at the University of Warwick, where I completed my PhD and Research Excellence Academy Fellow in the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University. I have worked on a range of projects funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, EIT Health, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and the Nuffield Foundation amongst others. I have carried out research consultancy for organisations including Nord Anglia Education Ltd, Erasumus University and the Bridge Group.
Drawing on my multi-disciplinary background (anthropology, literary studies, sociology) my work primarily focuses on educational identities and progression across the life course, with a focus on inclusion and wellbeing. My research is characterised by an anti-reductionist stance to educational questions, emphasising the importance of evaluative, relational, affective and contextual dimensions of education. I am concerned to foster dialogue and integrated theorising across domains and approaches, as one route to linking social, philosophical and policy concerns in education. I am motivated to develop real-world applications of research to foster inclusive learning opportunities across the lifecourse.
I have a particular interest in narrative and auto/biographical approaches to educational questions and digital storytelling for research and pedagogy. I created the NCL+ Advanced Award in Digital Storytelling at Newcastle University and I contribute to digital storytelling work at Durham through: Digital Storytelling Durham - Tell us your Story. I was part of the European EIT Health funded consortium that developed the Caring Stories narrative-based learning platform for healthcare practitioners: Caring Stories and part of the EPSRC-funded team that developed the educational quantum computation game, Quantum Odyssey: Quarks Interactive. I am currently involved in a consultancy project at Erasmum University, Connecting through Voices, drawing on both digital storytelling and narrative based pedagogy to support diversity and inclusion: Building New Blocks | Erasmus University Rotterdam (eur.nl).
A study on the character development and education of gifted pupils using a critical realist approach.
That’s me when I’m angry”: seeking the authentic voices of pupils and teachers from inside a Pupil Referral Unit through autoethnography.
Information for prospective doctoral students
I welcome enquiries from potential postgraduate research students interested in these areas: social inequalities/widening participation to university, epistemology of educational research, narrative-based pedagogy and inquiry, adult and lifelong learning.
- Higher education widening participation and inclusion
- Diversity and inclusion in learning
- Life history and auto/biographical methods
- Narrative based pedagogy and narrative inquiry
- Adult education
- A narrative approach to improve citizens' ageing and well-being (2018)
- EIT Health Project: A narrative approach to improve citizens' ageing and well-being (2019)
- First Encounters With Quantum Computing: Can Games Teach Quantum Reasoning?
- 2020: First encounters with quantum computing: can games teach quantum reasoning?(£10887.12 from BBSRC-ARC)
- 2019: EIT Health Project: A narrative approach to improve citizens' ageing and well-being (2019). £12,263 from EIT Health
- 2019: Gender, Young People And Schooling: Pathways For Challenging Gender Norms (NINE DTP Fellowship) (£101,151 from ESRC)
- 2018: A narrative approach to improve citizens' ageing and well-being (2018). £4250 from the European Commission
- 0000: Awards and nominations: BERA award-winning symposium, ;Community Led Educational Reform: looking at school engagement, out of school activities, co-defining a future and responding to poverty (2017); twice nominated for Research Supervisor of the Year (Newcastle University 2018).
- 0000: Invited presentations: 'Poverty Proofing the School Day', Leeds Beckett (2017); ‘Giftedness and the logic of neoliberalism: economic value as a determinant of expectations’, Institute for Research in Social Phenomena, University of Samara, Russia (2017); 'Research with young people - negotiating gatekeepers’, Youth Matters Conference, Newcastle University,(2016); ‘Narrative methods in educational Research: family practices and beliefs in relation to academic giftedness’, Teacher Education Advancement Network Conference, University of Cumbria(2013).
- 0000: Memberships and fellowships: European Society for Research on the Education of Adults Life History and Biography Network Scientific Committee; ;Emerald Open Research Education Advisory Board; Journal of Global Education and Research Advisory Board; Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
- 0000: Peer reviewer: Routledge, Emerald, Sage, Thinking Skills and Creativity, International Journal of Research and Method in Education, International Studies in the Sociology of Education, European Educational Research Journal, Gifted and Talented International, Journal of Medical Humanities.
- 0000: PhD examining: Universities of Cumbria, Canterbury Christ Church, Exeter, York St John.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. & Campbell, R. J. (2012). Families, Education and Giftedness: Case Studies in the Construction of High Achievement. Sense.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2022). Wellbeing and Schooling: Cross Cultural and Cross Disciplinary Perspectives. British Journal of Educational Studies 1.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2022). Narrative inquiry: Philosophical roots. International Journal of Research & Method in Education 45(4): 421.
Chapter in book
- Gascoine, L. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2023). Learning about research methods: A case study. In Understanding Education Studies: Critical Issues and New Directions. Pulsford, M., Morris, R. & Purves, R. London: Routledge.
- Ward, S., Mazzoli Smith, L. & Dragas, A. (2023). Discovering your philosophy of education through digital storytelling. In Understanding Education Studies: Critical Issues and New Directions. Pulsford, M., Morris, R. & Purves, R. Routledge.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2021). Beyond Truth: A Pragmatist Approach to Narrative Pedagogy in Professional Learning for Healthcare Practitioners. In Discourses, Dialogue and Diversity in Biographical Research: An Ecology of Life and Learning. Bainbridge, A., Formenti, L. & West, L. Brill. 10: 107-120.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2020). Diversifying Discourses of Progression to UK Higher Education Through Narrative Approaches. In Discourses We Live By: Narratives of Educational and Social Endeavour. Wright, H, R. & Høyen, M. Open Book Publishers Cambridge. 549-567.
- Laing, K., Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2018). Poverty and school processes: from equality of opportunity to relational justice. In Resisting Educational Inequality: reframing policy and practice in schools serving vulnerable communities. Gannon, S., Hattam, R. & Sawyer, W. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 131-139.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. & Laing, K. (2016). Creating a transformational space through narrative: Looked after young people tell their life stories. In Stories that make a difference. Exploring the collective, social and political potential of narratives in adult education research. Formenti, L. & West, L. Pensa MultiMedia.
- Laing, K., Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2016). Educating Urban Youth: Fair or Foul? In Justice and Fairness in the City. Davoudi, S. & Bell, D. Bristol: Policy Press. 231-248.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2014). Family Beliefs and Practices around Academic Ability and Social Mobility; narratives of contradiction, continuity, and resistance. In Constructing Narratives of Continuity and Change. Reid, H. & West, L. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 105-116.
- (2013). Innovative Narrative Life History Interviews: The construction of academic giftedness in family context. In SAGE Research Methods Cases. SAGE Publications Inc.
- Rose, J., Jay, T., Goodall, J., Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2022). Repositioning Out-of-School Learning: Methodological Challenges and Possibilities for Researching Learning Beyond School. Emerald Studies in Out-of-School Learning. Emerald.
- Dost, G. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2023). Understanding higher education students’ sense of belonging: a qualitative meta-ethnographic analysis. Journal of Further and Higher Education
- Mazzoli Smith, L., Villar, F. & Wendel, S. (2023). Narrative-based Learning for Person-centred Healthcare: the Caring Stories Learning Framework. Medical Humanities
- Nita, Laurentiu, Mazzoli Smith, Laura, Chancellor, Nicholas & Cramman, Helen (2023). The challenge and opportunities of quantum literacy for future education and transdisciplinary problem-solving. Research in Science & Technological Education 41(2): 564-580.
- Harding, S. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2022). Freedom through constraint: Young women's embodiment, space and wellbeing during lockdown. Wellbeing, Space and Society 3: 100101.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. D. (2021). The ability trap: reductionist theorising about academic ability and the ramifications for education policy and school-based practice. Cambridge Journal of Education 51(1): 85-103.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2020). Diversifying the discourse of progression to higher education: Digital storytelling methodology in widening participation practice. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning 22(1): 79-94.
- Woodley, Helen & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2020). Paradigmatic Shifts in Doctoral Research: Reflections Using Uncomfortable Reflexivity and Pragmatism. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 19: 160940692090753.
- Laing, K, Mazzoli Smith, L & Todd, L (2019). Using the concept of relational justice to apply fairness in schools. International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives 18(1): 128-142.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2019). Conceptualising poverty as a barrier to learning through ‘Poverty Proofing the School Day’ the genesis and impacts of stigmatisation. British Educational Research Journal 45(2): 356-371.
- Mazzoli Smith, L., Todd, L. & Laing, K. (2018). Students’ views on fairness in education: the importance of relational justice and stakes fairness. Research Papers in Education 33(3): 336-353.
- Laing, K. Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2018). The impact agenda and critical social research in education: hitting the target but missing the spot? Policy Futures in Education 16(2): 169-184.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. & Campbell, R. J. (2016). So-called giftedness and teacher education: issues of equity and inclusion. Teachers and Teaching 22(2): 255.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. & Chernoivanenko, Y. (2016). The Progressive Paradigm of Giftedness and the Logic of Neoliberalism (translated into Russian). Social Phenomena 3(6): 6-16.
- Campbell, R. J. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2015). Young, Gifted and Working-Class: Issues arising from Case Studies of Families with Gifted Children. International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity 3(1): 131-144.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2014). Extending sociological theorising on high ability: the significance of values and lived experience. International Studies in Sociology of Education 24(4): 354-371.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. (2013). Giftedness and Globalisation: the challenge of cultural diversity for gifted education programmes in a neoliberal educational marketplace. Gifted Education International 30(3): 197-211.
- Campbell, R. J. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2013). De-mystifying Giftedness: an overdue perspective. Response to Freeman. Gifted and Talented International 27(2): 27-31.
- Dolan, P., Leat, D., Mazzoli Smith, L., Mitra, S. & Todd, L. (2013). Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) in an English School: an example of transformative pedagogy? Online Educational Research Journal 3(11): 1-19.
- Campbell, R. J. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2012). The Recognition of Cultural Bias in Researching those Labelled Gifted: an overdue perspective. Gifted and Talented International 27(2): 55-62.
- Campbell, R.J., Robinson, W., Neelands, J., Hewston, R. & Mazzoli, L. (2007). Personalised Learning: Ambiguities in Theory and Practice. British Journal of Educational Studies 55(2): 135.
- Mazzoli Smith, L, Tiplady, L, Todd, L & Wysocki, L (2020). Fighting against poverty: Case studies of school action. Poverty Proofing the School Day evaluation update 2019/20. Newcastle University.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2016). Poverty Proofing the School Day: Evaluation and Development Report. Newcastle upon Tyne, Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, Newcastle University.
- Laing, K. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2015). Supporting the Progression of Looked After Young People to University: Evaluation of the Choices Together Programme. Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle University.
- Laing, K., Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2015). Evaluation of Gateshead MASH: Final report. Newcastle University.
- Laing, K., Mazzoli Smith, L. & Todd, L. (2014). Fair or Foul? Towards practice and policy in fairness in education: short report. Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle University.
- Mazzoli Smith, L. & Eyre, D. (2011). Survey of Overseas Gifted Education Centres (Identification and Programmes). Nord Anglia Education Ltd.
- Muijs, R. D., Mazzoli Smith, L., Hewston, R. & Campbell, R. J. (2007). The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY): Second Annual Post-18 Survey of Students. Occasional Paper No. 20. University of Warwick.
- Mazzoli Smith, L., Campbell, R. J., Eyre, D., Muijs, R. D., Neelands, J. & Robinson, W. (2006). The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth: Pilot Survey of Members’ Parents, Occasional Paper No. 9. University of Warwick.
- Campbell, R. J., Muijs, R. D., Mazzoli Smith, L., Hewston, R., Neelands, J., Robinson, W. & Eyre, D. (2006). Engagement with School, Identity and Self-esteem: Some Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Students in England. Occasional Paper No. 11. University of Warwick.
- Mazzoli Smith, L., Campbell, R. J. & Hewston, R. (2006). The Second Annual Survey of the Workloads and Support Needs of Gifted and Talented Coordinators in Secondary Schools in England. Occasional Paper No. 15. University of Warwick.
- Mazzoli Smith, L., Campbell R. J. & Muijs, R. D. (2006). What’s so Different about Gifted and Talented Students? Gifted and Talented Students and Psychosocial Adjustment. University of Warwick.
- Robinson, W., Campbell, R. J. & Mazzoli Smith, L. (2006). Developing Expertise: School-based Case Studies. Occasional Paper No. 12. University of Warwick.
- Mazzoli Smith, L., Campbell, R. J., Eyre, D., Muijs, R. D., Neelands, J. & Robinson, W. (2005). The First Annual Survey of NAGTY Students, Occasional Paper No. 7. University of Warwick.