School of Social and Political Science

Sarah Henning

Job Title


Research interests

Research interests

History of social work, social work education, women in academia, gender.


I initially studied History at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with an MA in 2004.  I then worked for a time supporting adults with learning difficulties in the community before returning to undertake a Masters in Social Work (MSW) at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2008.  I worked as a statutory social worker for the City of Edinburgh Council at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and then in the Mental Health (North) Team for a number of years before returning to undertake a PhD in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh.

PhD title:

Gender in early social work education: a collective biography of key women at the University of Edinburgh 1918-1968.

PhD research:

My PhD research examines gender in early social work education at the University of Edinburgh from 1918-1968.  I am exploring the career of three women who were Director or Acting Director of the School of Social Study and Training and later Department of Social Study at the University of Edinburgh during this time.  These three women are: Nora Milnes, Marjorie Brown and Megan Browne.  Each of these women had an important role to play in the development of social work education and their work also had wider implications for social work practice and policy.  I am using a collective biography approach to examine the careers of each woman individually and then examining overarching themes and narratives which emerge. 

My supervisors are Professor Viviene Cree (Social Work) and Professor Louise Jackson (History).


Henning, S. (2018) Psychiatric Social Work Training: Justifying a Profession.  Practice, 30 (4), pp239-256.



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