The following academic unit forms the submission to UoA 29:
You can find out about our specific research areas, projects and staff:
- scholarly editing
- children's literature
- postcolonial literature
- Renaissance and early modern literature and culture
- eighteenth-century and romantic literature
- Fin-de-siècle and Modernism
- theatre studies
These areas are embedded within the research structure of the School and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, with dedicated units providing forums for research development:
Our research in this area is making a positive impact on a global scale:
Changing lives with literature
The following case studies demonstrate the impact of our research:
The National Centre for Children’s BooksThe National Centre for Children’s Books
Promoting the preservation, presentation and public understanding of children’s literature with Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books
Seven Stories was opened in 2005 in Newcastle. It is the first UK museum and archive dedicated to children’s books. For an audience of both children and adults it mounts original, nationally-touring exhibitions and runs a programme of events for regional and national audiences. It holds an expanding, internationally important archive relating to British children’s literature (manuscripts, original artwork, books, correspondence and associated materials).
The Children's Literature Unit (CLU) in the School of English at Newcastle University was established in 2005 to work with Seven Stories. There is collaboration at many levels. In particular, CLU research has underlain the development of the Seven Stories archive; has supported Seven Stories’ exhibitions; has contributed to the training of Seven Stories’ staff; and has provided international advocacy, raising awareness of this unique resource and helping to establish Seven Stories as one of the world’s leading centres for the public understanding of children’s literature.
In 2012, partly on the basis of research conducted in the CLU, Seven Stories received Arts Council England (ACE) accreditation as the National Centre for Children’s Books, becoming the only ‘nationally-styled’ museum in the North-East.
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Perception of diaspora and identityPerception of diaspora and identity
Migration, readership and the public perception of diaspora and identity
Consideration of the connections between diasporic literature and the migrant experience have been largely confined to professional critics and have focused on metropolitan centres. This project took this literature, and these debates, outside the academy, and away from London. Involving school-children and adults, public libraries and book groups, migrant and ‘local’ readers, literary festivals and agencies such as the British Council, the project staged an encounter between migrant literary production and the public sphere on an unprecedented scale.
The research had several specific impacts:
- enriched and expanded the cultural lives, imaginations and sensibilities of the 250 individuals, gathered in reading groups across four continents
- expanded public discourse on migration and identity, encouraging a wide range of people outside academia to engage with questions of multiculturalism and diasporic identity. In particular it reached young people and schools, running a poetry competition for children, establishing a youth theatre company, and developing resources for schools
- produced print and online outputs to transmit, expand and entrench public discussion of migration and identity, including a database and a major anthology of diasporic poetry
It helped to establish best practice for mass reading events and literary festivals, particularly those concerned with reflecting the multiculturalism of modern British literature.
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Poetry as a live performancePoetry as a live performance
Poetry: performance, engagement and the enrichment of cultural life
Professor W N Herbert, Professor Jackie Kay and Professor Sean O’Brien have been at the heart of the recent resurgence of interest in poetry as live performance and cultural event, and have been instrumental in a growing recognition of its power as a means of social engagement. Their research and writing has provided a foundation for the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA), a University Research Centre directed by Professor Linda Anderson.
Through the NCLA they have been able to:
- build audiences for literature generally, and poetry in particular, at live events, online and in communities
- engage key groups, including young and older people, and to study creative writing’s benefits for learning and wellbeing
- enhance the public understanding of poetry, by disseminating research, encouraging debate, and providing resources and new opportunities to encounter poetry
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Red Dust RoadRed Dust Road
Red Dust Road: new forms of memoir and the enrichment and extension of public discourse on family, identity, belonging and adoption
Professor Jackie Kay’s memoir Red Dust Road (2010), her account of growing up black in Glasgow, the adopted daughter of white parents, and her search for her birth parents, challenges and extends public discourse on identity, family and belonging, using memoir to explore the complexities and emotional resonances of the difficult issues raised.
Responses to the work point to its significant on-going impact in civil society on the understanding of adoption, including transracial adoption, and how society defines family. Its impact can be judged by the media coverage received and its widespread use in the public sphere in discussions of issues of identity, adoption and family.
Its reach is evidenced through the number, range and popularity of Kay's readings as well as the book’s sales and its reception within groups not traditionally thought of as typical audiences for literary memoir.
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Find out about all our REF 2014 results.