English Literature, Language and Creative Practice
The group takes an innovative approach to research, combined with an engagement with communities beyond academia. We explore hybrid and inter-disciplinary ways of working and in our examination of marginal, experimental and emergent practices. We are concerned with looking at the overlooked and teasing out readings of neglected and/or transgressive authors and cultural practices. From looking at writing conflict in Northern Ireland to Victorian Sensation fiction, from discontented minds in Early Modern Drama to the representation of serial killers in film and fiction, from African modernism to experimental poetry, from the hidden meanings of place names to discourse analysis – our work is searching, critically-engaged and culturally relevant.
We also recognise the importance of linking our research with cultural life outside of the university as demonstrated by our Writing Lives projects and other links to local literature initiatives and institutions, such as experimental poetry reading series The Other Room.
English staff were returned to the last Research Excellence Framework (RAE 2014) with the University’s English Language and Literature submission (UoA 29). The results showed that nearly 50% of the work of researchers in the Centre was deemed to be internationally recognised or world leading, with 13% being graded at the highest possible level of 4*.
Literature research covers major periods and genres including Mediaeval, Renaissance, Shakespeare, 18th-century Literature, Gothic, and 20th and 21st-century poetry and fiction. English Language and Linguistics research is concerned with Pragmatics, Cognitive linguistics, Computer assisted language learning (for ESOL), Sociolinguistics and the study of the Scots language. Creative Practice research is conducted in poetry, fiction, autobiography, biography, scriptwriting and performance. Areas of concentrated research activity include: experimental fiction, contemporary and 20th century poetry, performance and Shakespeare.
- Jade Munslow Ong holds an AHRC Early Career Research grant for a three-year project, ‘South African Modernism 1880-2020’. This project explores how South African personal and textual networks helped shape literary modernism from the nineteenth century to the present day, and investigates how modernism continues to provide a politically-charged mode of representation for South African writers responding to major historical events and changing political, economic, social and cultural contexts. https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FT008733%2F1
- Caroline Magennis’ research on the cultural legacy of the Troubles in the North of Ireland has been featured in The Irish Times, The Independent and Prospect Magazine. The Chair of the British Association for Irish Studies, she has organised multi-media engagement projects to mark the anniversaries of the 1996 Manchester Bombing and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. She makes extensive use of social media and partnerships with cultural organisations, including the Irish World Heritage Centre and the John Hewitt Society, to engage the public in nuanced discussions of history, memory and identity. Some of her resources are collected here: https://drmagennis.wordpress.com/
- Ursula Hurley’s collaborative research into inclusive 3D printing practices adapts creative writing methodologies to generate new routes to skills development, knowledge exchange and self-expression. Ursula was Principal Investigator for an AHRC Connected Communities Scheme project called ‘In The Making’: a co-constructed mapping and feasibility study of digital fabrication labs and their potential to catalyse cultural change: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FM006026%2F1#/tabOverview. Findings from the project were published in the United States in 2020: https://vernonpress.com/book/386 Subsequently, she has gained Research England funding to develop policy research on access to the digital industries, and is currently leading a follow-on collaborative project with the Morson Maker Space, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Barclays Digital Eagles.
- Lucia Nigri is working a collaborative project called SEMES: Shakespeare’s Early Modern European Sources: Drama, Narrative, Music. This is a cross-institutional semantic computational project devoted to the elaboration of a VRE dedicated to the creation of relational collections of Shakespeare’s European sources and their propagation through an open-access system. This digital project takes into account the European circulation, translation, and adaptation of the sources’ early modern editions, which often present significant textual and paratextual variants, additions, and omissions. In August Lucia will also start working on the VCECS project (Shakespeare in Manchester: Reproducing Early Modern Plays in the Northwest).
- Maggie Scott is investigating the manuscript dictionary of ‘Arms, Armour and Costume’ compiled by Charles Relly Beard (1891-1958), and held by the Society of Antiquaries of London. Beard was an expert in these subjects, and advisor for Hollywood films including Treasure Island (1950).
- Scott Thurston is involved in a collaborative research project with colleagues in Counselling & Psychotherapy and in Psychology at Salford and with colleagues at Edge Hill University, the University of Cambridge and the NHS called Arts for the Blues: an interdisciplinary project which explores the impact of the arts in health and well-being settings. The group have developed an evidence-based multi-modal creative psychological therapy for depression. https://artsfortheblues.com/project-background
We welcome PhD applications corresponding to the themes and topics listed above, but in addition we have specific research interests in the following areas:
Creative Writing in poetry and prose including experimental forms
18th-century poetry and prose
19th century literature
Modern and contemporary British and Irish fiction
Contemporary innovative and experimental poetry and fiction
Auto/biography, memory and trauma studies
Colonial and postcolonial texts
Popular fiction and culture
Linguistics and English Language
First and Second Language Acquisition
Onomastics (Names Studies)
Jade Munslow Ong
Dr Scott Thurston
Reader in English and Creative Writing
0161 295 3597