Jerome Bruner turns 100

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Category: News

Portrait painting by Beth Marsden

Jerome Bruner, psychologist and educator, turns 100 on 1st October!

Bruner was closely associated with the Department  where he led the SSRC (now ESRC) Oxford Preschool Research Group from  1975 to 1980.   He had an office in No. 28 Norham Gardens where the research team met regularly, taking coffee in the small  Senior Common Room that overlooked the magnolia tree in No. 15.   Researchers on the project  studied children in preschool settings across Oxfordshire and London;  their findings are summarized  in Bruner’s book ‘Under Five in Britain’ (1980).    In this book  he argued passionately  for  ‘joint research and training that maintains a high intellectual standard on the research side yet ensures the provision of practical training for those in charge of the care of the young’.  An early member  of the editorial board of the Oxford Review of Education, he  invited philosophers, sociologists, historians and psychologists to join him, convinced that a deep (and practical) understanding of education requires insights from many disciplines.

After returning to the United States, Bruner continued to carry out research on ‘The Culture of Education ( 1996),  ‘Life as Narrative’ (1987) and ‘Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life’ (2003).

In 2007 Bruner returned to the Department to give a  lecture on ‘Cultivating the Possible’ at the official opening of the Jerome Bruner Building, formed by the linking of 28 and 30 Norham Gardens.  We wish him a very happy birthday –  those working in the Bruner Building will raise a toast of white burgundy, one of his favourites, to honour the event.