Belinda Brown studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and then Sociology and Politics at the Central European University in Warsaw.
While living in Warsaw (1991- 1996) she carried out research on the development of the Underground movement in the 1980s. The latter became the subject of her Masters thesis “The Public Importance of the Private Sphere: the role of women in the Polish Underground movement”. This has since been published as “The Private Revolution: the role of women in the Polish Underground movement”.
On returning to England she worked as a researcher and project worker for Crisis becoming knowledgeable about homelessness policy and the day to day realities of the lives of homeless people.
She then went on to do research for Sir Peter Hall on the ESRC project “Economic Competitiveness Social Cohesion and the Policy Environment: the London Integrated City Study”. This involved looking at the links between central and local government policy, the business environment and how these affected the lives of people in specific geographical areas. She carried out detailed qualitative research in Battersea, Bermondsey and Peckham. The findings have since been reported in “Working Capital: Life and Labour in Contemporary London”. Another publication “London Voices: London Lives” by Sir Peter Hall will be published later this year. Following on from this research she became particularly interested in the relationship between social cohesion and race and equality policies.
While at the Institute Belinda has focussed on a number of areas. Her first major piece of research here was amongst Poles living in London. She has written some working papers and articles on this subject and is currently documenting her findings in a report. She then worked with Geoff Dench on a project funded by Sure Start which looked at the role of informal networks in the provision of childcare. The findings were published as “Valuing Informal Care: What the mothers of young children want”. She is currently working on an EPSRC project with University College London: “Childen’s Activities Perceptions and Behaviour in the Local Environment”. Her specific area of research within this explores the role of children’s social networks in encouraging a child’s independence, mobility and knowledge of their local area.
The general area of her research interests within the emerging programme of the Young Foundation lies in those issues linking extended families with the changing role of the state.