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Dr Helen Manchester

Dr Helen Manchester

Dr Helen Manchester
M.Ed(Manch.), PhD(Manch.)

Reader in Digital Inequalities and Urban Futures

Area of research

Lecturer in Educational and Social Futures

Office 2.14
Helen Wodehouse Building,
35 Berkeley Square, Clifton BS8 1JA
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 4401


Urban Educational Futures, sociotechnical change and social justice: Changing educational and social landscapes bring about a need to understand education as lifelong and life-wide. For instance, ageing populations create new communities of learners (for example, in care homes) and the potential to access learning outside schools is resulting in new, experimental, online and offline educational ‘institutions’.

A significant part of my research involves working with others in the city to explore the co-design of cutting edge creative digital technologies with groups who might generally feel themselves to be excluded from the digital environment. I am also working with others in the city to explore the issues faced by the young and the old both now and in the future and to design research that increases their visibility and their chances to connect with each other in intergenerational work.

Methodological Innovation: I develop methodologically innovative approaches to research – working across disciplines to collaborate on research projects with artists, technologists, young and older people, community organisations and policy-makers. 




Helen specialises in conducting participatory, co-produced research with community and voluntary organisations and cultural institutions. She is interested in learning futures,urban learning and digital cultures.

She is currently working on a variety of projects around the theme of urban/civic learning and smart technologies, including the REPLICATE project, funded by Horizon 2020.

Helen has led a variety of research projects including 2 AHRC funded research projects. 'Teenage Kicks' which explored young people's take on cultural value as part of the AHRC Cultural Value programme and Tangible memories: Community in Care funded by the AHRC Digital Transformations and Connected Communities Capital fund. This was an interdisciplinary project (working with computer scientists, artists and historians) exploring older peoples' material memories, storytelling and technology co-design in care home settings.

Helen has previously worked as a teacher in schools across Greater Manchester (1993 – 1999) and as a university lecturer and researcher Previous research projects have included: 'Youth Voice in the work of Creative Partnerships' (2007-2009); 'Creativity, Creative Partnerships and school ethos' (2009- 2011), and 'Mapping learning lives', funded by the BBC, a project exploring the potential for people to act as curators of their own learning lives.




Helen is programme director of the MSc Education which incorporates nine separate pathways.  She is also pathway coordinator for the MSc Education (Learning, Technology and Society). She teaches on the units Learning, Technology and Society, Qualitative Methods in Education and Learning and the City.

She is particularly interested in supervising students in the following areas:

Older people and learning

Young people and culture

Intergenerational learning

Urban Futures, data and learning

Creative methods and methdologies and collaborative research

Digital media arts and digital cultures, media making and literacies

Making and informal learning: community arts, community media, DIY/maker culture and technologies




  • Educational Futures
  • Participatory research
  • Making
  • Digital cultures
  • Digital and media literacies

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Real Ideas Organisation
  • BBC
  • Room 13 Bristol
  • Arnolfini
  • Pervasive Media Studio
  • Radio Regen
  • Arts Council England
  • Community Media Association
  • Mellor Archaeological Trust
  • StardotStar
  • Creative Partnerships
  • The Institute of community reporters
  • Noise Festival


Dr Manchester currently teaches 2 courses:

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