Richard Grayson joined Goldsmiths in 2004, and spent six years in the Politics department before moving to History in 2010. His main research interests are in Ireland and the First World War, with linked interests in the Irish revolution and the role of remembrance in contemporary society. He is the author of Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World War (2009), editor of At War with the 16th Irish Division: The Staniforth Letters, 1914-18 (2012), and co-editor of Remembering 1916: The Easter Rising, the Somme and the Politics of Memory in Ireland (2016). His latest book, Dublin’s Great Wars: The First World War, the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. He has engaged widely with community groups on First World War remembrance especially the 6th Connaught Rangers Research Project. An associate member of the First World War Centenary Committee in Northern Ireland, he contributed to BBC NI’s television series Ireland’s Great War, co-edits www.irelandww1.org and chaired the Academic Advisory Group for the Digital Projects run by the Imperial War Museums. He has been co-editor of the British Journal for Military History since 2019.
Prior to his current research, Richard Grayson published two books on British politics and foreign policy in the inter-war years, along with articles on a range of historical subjects across the twentieth century. He has also carried out research into a number of issues in public policy. These included a comparative study of secondary education systems in England, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands (co-authored with Nick Clegg and which led to the ‘pupil premium’ policy); a study of the fiscal systems OECD countries; and policies developed in Newark, New Jersey during Cory Booker’s tenure as Mayor.
Born and brought up in Hemel Hempstead, where he now lives, he has dual British and Irish citizenship, a subject which he has written about here. His First Class BA (Hons) in English and American History was from UEA in 1991 (where he was also sabbatical General Secretary of the Students' Union), and his doctorate in Modern History was from Oxford University in 1995. He became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018.
Prior to coming to Goldsmiths Grayson spent five years working in Westminster politics as Director of Policy of the Liberal Democrats, including two years as Charles Kennedy's principal speechwriter. Previous to that, he was Director of the Centre for Reform, a public policy think tank, and between 1994 and 1999, he taught history/politics at Oxford University, UEA, Buckingham and the Open University. He was the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hemel Hempstead in the 2005 and 2010 general elections, but is now a member of the Labour Party. The papers for his time involved in the Liberal Democrats are substantial and with an historian’s eye on preserving a broad collection relating to many different aspects of politics, Grayson has donated them to two historical archives. Those covering student politics at UEA are in the UEA Archive, with a listing available online. The main collection is at the London School of Economics.
Richard Grayson convenes and teaches the following:
In addition, he also gives lectures as part of the first year modules, Religion, Peace and Conflict and Concepts and Methods.
Areas of supervision
Richard Grayson is currently willing to supervise research on the First World War and the Irish revolution. Students he has supervised have successfully completed PhD theses on:
- Women's Representation and the Liberal Democrats (Elizabeth Evans)
- Feminism and the Challenge of War: Responses of the British Women’s Suffrage Movement to the Outbreak of the Great War (Marc Calvini-Lefebvre)
- 'Our Historic Mission': Party Political Pasts and Futures in Contemporary Britain (Emily Robinson)
- Social Enterprise Policy under New Labour, 2001-2006 (Alibeth Somers)
- ‘Miserable conflict and confusion’: Definitions and Understanding of the Irish Question in British Newspapers, 1917-21 (Erin Scheopner)
- The British Diaspora? Imperial Identity and Return Migration in Twentieth Century Britain (Níamh Dillon)
- ‘Improperly and Amorously Consorting’: Post-1945 Relationships between British Women and German Prisoners of War Held in the UK (Mary Ingham)
He is currently the main supervisor for the following postgraduate MPhil/PhD students:
- Andrew Whittaker, 'The effect of military participation in the First World War on British public day school alumni: a study of Colfe's School'
Richard Grayson was involved in a number of First World War centenary projects and continues to be involved in work around the centenary of the Irish Revolution. He chaired the Academic Advisory Group for the digital projects run by the Imperial War Museums, including Operation War Diary. He was an Associate Member of the First World War Centenary Committee in Northern Ireland. He contributed to the two-part Ireland's Great War made for the BBC by 360 Productions and broadcast in 2015. He co-edits IrelandWW1 and in 2014-2016 was a co-investigator of the AHRC-funded Living Legacies 1914-1918 First World War Engagement Centre. He was also a member of the Research Networks for two further Engagement Centres, Gateways and Everyday Lives in War. In 2015-16 he was principal investigator (working with Dr Charlotte Faucher) on the AHRC-funded project Francophones in London during the First World War.
Beyond the First World War, Richard Grayson is developing an interest in the history of cricket across the British Empire in the inter-war years and tweets on the subject as @InterWarCricket. Earlier in his career, his research was focused on inter-war British foreign policy and he published two monographs in that field, while he has also published on subjects ranging from the history of the Channel Tunnel and youth culture in the 1960s, to the history of British liberalism.