Dr Yinka Olusoga


School of Education

Programme Director of the BA Education, Culture and Childhood

EDU - Yinka Olusoga
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+44 114 222 8183

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Dr Yinka Olusoga
School of Education
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Dr Yinka Olusoga is a Lecturer in Education and Course Director of the BA in Education, Culture and  Childhood. Her research interests focus on the social construction of children and childhood in the educational policy, political debate, art and popular culture, in the present and in the past. Her doctoral study, ‘Moral Training’ and ‘The Formation of Character’: Constructions of the Working-Class Schoolchild, 1861 and 1905, drew on historical, textual data from the 19th and early 20th centuries to undertake a critical discourse analysis of the role of personal, social and citizenship education in the social construction of the working-class schoolchild in England. 

Research interests

Yinka’s current research interests focus on discourses and histories of childhood, play and education and on the co-construction of environments for children’s play and creative engagement. She is interested in children’s creative and digital literacies and the inter-generational co-construction of play and storytelling.

Current Research Projects

Yinka is Director of 'Childhoods and Play: The Iona and Peter Opie Archive', funded by the British Academy, 2021-2026 (PI Dr Yinka Olusoga, Co-Is Dr Julia Bishop and Professor John Potter). This is a long-term project which exists to surface the Iona and Peter Opie archival collection and make the research materials contained in it freely accessible for research and public engagement. Established in 2012, the project is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, University College London, the Bodleian Libraries, the Folklore Society and the British Library. It has the status of a British Academy Research Project.

Recent Research Projects

Yinka was a Co-Investigator, leading the University of Sheffield team on the ESRC funded UKRI COVID Rapid Response project 'A National Observatory of Children’s Play Experiences During COVID-19', known as the 'Play Observatory' 2020-2022. This project brought together researchers from UCL Institute of Education, the School of Education at the University of Sheffield, and The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. The project was partnered by the British Library, the V&A Museum of Childhood, and Great Ormond Street Hospital. 

Yinka was a Co-Investigator on the projects ‘XR StoryBox: Multimedia storytelling using mixed reality technology, in a box’ and ‘Storyland’, both funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2020. 

Public Engagement/Knowledge Exchange Activity 

Corona Pirates and COVE-IT! Capturing Children’s Play in the Pandemic. ESRC Festival of Social Sciences (1-7 November, 2021). Role in project: Lead applicant. 

Adventures in Wonderland: A Makerspace for Under 5s. With the Victoria and Albert Museum ‘Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser’ Exhibition, September 2020 - February 2021. Role in project: Co-I. Funded by Knowledge Exchange Support Fund, the University of Sheffield. 

MakerFutures: Adventures in Sustainable Play. Festival of the Mind, the University of Sheffield. 17th - 27th September, 2020. Role in project: Project Lead. Funded by the Festival of the Mind, the University of Sheffield. Role in project: Lead applicant. 



Edited books

Journal articles


Teaching activities

Yinka is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has extensive experience teaching and leading undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in childhood studies, education studies and initial teacher education. She currently teaches across the BA, MA and EdD programmes.. She is a Co-Director of the BA Education, Culture and Childhood. She is Module Lead for the undergraduate module EDU110 The Digital University and for the Masters module EDU6201 Contemporary Issues for Early Childhood Education. Yinka supervises undergraduate, Masters, EdD and PhD students in the following areas:

  • Social Constructions of Children and Childhood 
  • Histories of Early Childhood Care and Education and of Primary Education 
  • Children’s Play 
  • Children’s Cultural Worlds
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Education
  • Citizenship Education 
  • Children’s Creative and Digital Literacies 
Professional activities and memberships

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Children’s Officer of the Children’s History Society

Member of the British Education Research Association (BERA)

Member of TACTYC (The Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators)

Member of the Royal Historical Society 

Yinka is a regular reviewer for the British Journal of Educational Studies, Education Sciences, the Journal of Early Childhood Research, and Literacy.