Our People

Olwen Purdue


Dr Olwen Purdue is Professor of Modern Social History at Queen's University Belfast.

She specialises in the social and economic history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Ireland. Her research focuses on uban poverty, welfare and public health, and on Irish landed estates. She also has a strong interest in Public History, working closely with the cultural and heritage sectors across Northern Ireland in research, teaching and public engagement. She was specialist historical advisor for Titanic Belfast and a member of the advisory group for the Ulster Museum's Irish history exhibition and convenes the MA in Public History at Queen's.

She is a member of the Royal Historical Society's Public History Prize panel and judge for the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland's Medical Humanities Award. She is international editor for the Public Historian journal and series editor of Liverpool University Press's Nineteenth-Century Ireland series. Olwen is a committee member of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland, Hon. Secretary of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth Century Ireland, a Governor of the Linen Hall Library and sits on the Project Board for the redevelopment of the Ulster Museum. In 2022, she was elected to Council of the Royal Historical Society (UK).

Dr Olwen Purdue joined the board of directors of the Irish Museums Association in September 2018.