School of Health in Social Science

Jan Bradford

Born and bred in a Scottish mining town, I was a first-generation student when I left school to take up my place to study English Literature and Language at the University of Edinburgh. 

After my graduation in 1993 I took up a post as a technology project manager within a retail banking department and I continued to work in the finance sector until motherhood convinced me to take a career break.  When the time came for me to think about what I might want to do when I returned to the world of paid employment, I surprised myself (as well as family and friends!) when I enrolled on a Counselling and Psychotherapy Master’s programme.  Although I loved my field of study, I realised that I did not feel drawn to train to practice as a counsellor because I had caught the research bug, and I applied to study for a PhD immediately after graduating with my MSc in Counselling Studies.

Fast-forward a few years and I am now in the final year of my part-time doctoral research programme.  Focusing on family secrets and drawing on Helene Cixous’ call for ‘l’ecriture feminine, my research uses writing as a method of inquiry and draws on psychoanalytic, sociological and folklore literatures around transgenerational trauma to explore how and why working-class women have been silenced across generations and the impact this has on those living in the aftermath.


Family secrets

‘Writing the wrongs of the lingering past’: Four generations in a long line of strong Scottish women. My research focuses on unresolved and unacknowledged matrilineal grief that has been passed down across several generations of working-class women in a Scottish community.