Olwen Purdue is Professor of Modern Social History and Director of the Centre for Public History at Queen’s University Belfast. Her work focuses on poverty, welfare and social class and on public history in divided societies. Publications include The Big House in the North of Ireland: Land, Power and Social Elites 1878-1960 (2007), Belfast: the Emerging City 1850-1914 (2012) and Urban Spaces in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (2018). Two forthcoming books are Workhouse Child: Family, Poverty and the Poor Law in Industrial Belfast with Liverpool University Press and Dealing with Difficult Pasts: Public History in Ireland with Routledge.
Professor Purdue is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was elected to the Royal Historical Society Council in 2022. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Irish Museums Association, the Board of Governors of the Linen Hall Library and the project board of a major redevelopment of the Ulster Museum’s permanent galleries. She was international editor for The Public Historian from 2017-2021 and convenes the MA in Public History at Queen’s University Belfast.