Personal profile


My research interests focus on learner identities in mathematics and their relationship with social class, gender, and ethnicity and family aspirational narratives. I am particularly interested in the use of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) to conceptualise identity and how it is mediated by pedagogic practice(s), the production of capital exchange (using Bourdieu) and the use and exchange value attached to mathematics.  

 Mathematical Identifications in Early Childhood

More recently, I have begun to research how young children (aged 5 to 6 years) express mathematical identifications and how such expressions are mediated by their class position and the nature of the home-school relationship. Here, I am interested in the contradictions and alignment between embedded ‘home’ mathematics and the formal school curriculum and how such relationships are manifest in young children’s emotional expressions about maths. I have received funding from the University of Manchester’s strategic fund to develop research projects in this area and we are currently working on publications. See this short animation

Research on mathematical identities in Post 16 and Higher Education

I have worked on two major ESRC funded ‘Transmaths’ projects which looked at young people’s developing identities in relation to mathematics and STEM subjects at post 16 and as they transition into university (see ). This work has primarily focused on narrative analysis of interviews with adolescents and has looked at how engagement with mathematics is linked to future aspirations (a leading identity). I was also involved in planning the ESRC seminar series on Mathematical Relationships: Identities and Participation, which led to the publication of an edited collection under the same title.

 Pedagogy as a site for the (re-production) of inequality in education

I have a long term interest in the role pedagogic practices play in the (re)production of educational inequalities. My doctoral research focused on classroom discourse as a site for inequality and I have published four papers/chapters on this topic. I have also recently co-authored a chapter which looks at how children are positioned through classroom discourse and how this mediates their access to capital in the primary mathematics classroom. 




My previous doctoral students have undertaken research on mathematics education focusing on issues of gender, class and ethnicity and also pedagogy in both primary classrooms and in higher education. Several have also taken a particular interest in working with disadvantaged communities to explore issues of access and participation in schooling/education. 

I am interested in supervising students in any of these areas, but in line with my research interests above, I welcome applicants who wish to look at home-school relationships in disadvantaged communities, particularly across the transition into formal schooling.


PhDs In Progress:

Kenna, Abate. Mathematics education and technology

Herbert, Jonathan. A narrative exploration of the impact of widespread internet access and ICT provision on educational attainment in white British boys from deprived areas of the UK.

Phillips, Rebecca. Literacy across domains: How children growing up in multilingual families engage with home, school and community literacy practices and the questions this raises for educators. 

Jahnagiri, Nooshin. An exploration of female studentschoice and experience of studying undergraduate mathematics and engineering programmes in Iran. 


PhD Completed:

Starkey, Rachel. PhD. Privileging entry to higher education: When capital counts. 


Radovic, Darinka. PhD. Gender and Mathematics Education in Chile

Choudry, Sophina. PhD. Mathematics capital in the classroom and wider educational field: intersections of ethnicity, gender, and social class

White, Danielle. PhD. How are the career related decisions of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds shaped during their transition towards the end of compulsory schooling? 

Rhamani Sangani, Hamid.   PhD. Developing Reflective Practice through Collaborative Dialogue in an Iranian Context, 

Chatranoth, Phnita. PhD. The Impact of Teacher Corrective Feedback on Students’ Grammatical Accuracy: A Case Study in Thailand,


Areas of expertise

  • LB1501 Primary Education
  • L Education (General)
  • LB2361 Curriculum


Dive into the research topics where Laura Black is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles