Research Centres and Institutes
- Stephen Colclough Centre for the History and Cultures of the Book
- Centre for Arthurian Studies
- Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
- R. S. Thomas Centre
- ContemPo (Centre for Contemporary Poetry)
Periodicals and online projects edited in the School
- Journal of the International Arthurian Society
- Milton, De Doctrina Christiana
- MLR and Yearbook of English Studies (English and American Literature section)
Welsh conferencing facilities
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We have a long and distinguished record of research since the establishment of Bangor University in 1884. English Literature was a founding discipline of the institution; we were also one of the first universities to develop a Creative Writing programme.
In the last REF2014 our school was ranked in the top ten universities for English Literature in the UK for research intensity. Our school’s research strengths clustered around a range of specific periods and areas of study: medieval and early modern literature, including editing texts; the history of the book and publishing; Welsh Writing in English; Romantic and modern literature; and creative writing, with specific approaches informed by gender, social class, ideology, as well as the relationships between literature and art, and literature and religion. Our school was ranked in the top ten universities for English literature in the country for research intensity, with two-thirds of our research in the 4*‘world leading’ (35.6%) and 3* ‘internationally excellent’ categories (31.1%). We had an overall ranking for our publications which placed us in the top twenty English Literature departments in the UK.
We are proud of our inclusive approach to research. All staff members are research active, and all were entered into to the last REF, in which our support of Early Career Researchers was highly praised. We also engage in ‘impact’ activities, 90% of which was considered ‘considerable’ or ‘outstanding’ in the last REF.
Current and ongoing research
The School’s research interests are varied in period and approach, as reflected in the research profiles of our academic staff. Our ongoing and new areas of research are: Material Texts and Culture; Literatures of Wales; Four-Nations Literature; Arthurian studies; World literature; Adaptation, Experimentation and Translation and creative writing, approached from a range of perspectives and theoretical angles, informed by gender, social class, ideology, as well as the relationships between literature and the arts, literature and geography and literature and religion.
Overall, research in the school falls under the following clusters:
a. ‘Material Texts and Material Culture’, broadly conceived and explored across all periods of literature, is further defined by particular applications to: manuscripts owned, read and commissioned by medieval women (Sue Niebrzydowski); the editing and interpretation of the medieval manuscript miscellany (Raluca Radulescu); seventeenth-century printers (Michael Durrant); literature and religion (Sue Niebrzydowski; Raluca Radulescu; Andrew Hiscock; Helen Wilcox; Tom Corns; Tony Brown); the work of William Shakespeare, Aphra Behn and early modern writers, including editing (Andrew Hiscock, Helen Wilcox); John Milton and his contemporaries (Tom Corns, Michael Durrant, Helen Wilcox); relationships between visual and print culture in the Romantic period (Maureen McCue); Victorian representations of communication media and technologies (Karin Koehler); criticism and editing of the work of R. S. Thomas (Tony Brown); modern American drama and the screenplay (Steven Price).
Several interdisciplinary, inter-school centres founded and directed by staff in the school foster collaboration within this cluster and with specialists engaged in similar research nationally and internationally: the new ‘Stephen Colclough Centre for the History and Cultures of the Book’; the ‘R. S. Thomas Centre’; the ‘Centre for Arthurian Studies’; and the ‘Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies’ (which brings together scholars from across several disciplines at the Universities of Bangor and Aberystwyth, with collaboration from the Universities of Cardiff, Swansea, and Trinity St David).
b. ‘Wales, Europe and the World’ focuses, on the one hand, on the place occupied by Welsh writing and Welsh legends in the broader local, national and international arenas from the medieval period to the present day, and on the other on critical and creative inter-cultural dialogue in a multicultural context in Wales, the British Isles and internationally. Our research in these areas finds its specific expression in Arthurian studies from the medieval to the present day (Raluca Radulescu, Peter Field); Literatures of Wales and Four-Nations Literature (Tony Brown, Maureen McCue, Karin Koehler, Tomos Owen, Andrew Webb); trans-national and cross-linguistic thematic approaches to the medieval and early modern periods in an European and world context (Raluca Radulescu, Andrew Hiscock, Helen Wilcox); literatures written in English from outside the British Isles (Steven Price, Kachi Ozumba); creative writing springing from a Welsh background or landscape (Zoe Skoulding, Alys Conran, Carol Rumens); and creative adaptation, experimentation and inter-cultural dialogue (Zoe Skoulding, Alys Conran, Kachi Ozumba).
The research centres that facilitate collaboration within this cluster, founded and directed by staff in the school, are: the 'Centre for Arthurian Studies’; the ‘R. S. Thomas Centre’; and ContemPo, a network of creative writers from Bangor and other national (Wales, UK) universities.
c. 'Practice-based and Practice-Led Research in Creative Writing' is focused mainly on the novel and short story (Lisa Blower, Alys Conran, Kachi Ozumba); poetry (Alys Conran, Carol Rumens, Zoe Skoulding); memoir and creative nonfiction (Lisa Blower, Carol Rumens), though it encompasses a wide range of approaches and publication in different contexts. Areas of specialism include the use of fiction to explore intercultural representation (Alys Conran, Kachi Ozumba); class and gender (Lisa Blower, Alys Conran) and bilingualism in Wales (Alys Conran). Research in poetry focuses on experiment and ecopoetics (Zoe Skoulding) and translation as a creative practice (Alys Conran, Carol Rumens, Zoe Skoulding). The synergies between creative writing and criticism inform the ContemPo Research Centre for Contemporary Poetry, which links Bangor with the universities of Aberystwyth, Brighton, Plymouth and Surrey (Zoe Skoulding, Alys Conran, Carol Rumens).
We foster a vibrant research culture of exchange and collaboration, fuelled by seminar series, conferences and other events. For the last twenty years, our Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has hosted fortnightly video-linked seminars, with contributions from all universities in Wales. Members of ContemPo, our research centre dedicated to the study of contemporary poetry, also meet regularly, bringing together critics and creative writers from different geographical areas of the UK. Members of staff are active in the management of the Association for Welsh Writing in English, and the University’s R.S. Thomas Centre, is co-directed from within the School.
In the School we run a regular research seminar series, involving visiting speakers, academics from within the School, and current research students who have a regular opportunity to present their work in progress. We also offer a range of research degrees, based in the specialisms of our staff. Our postgraduate community organises an annual postgraduate conference and takes a leading role in the running of Dovetail, the postgraduate journal founded by School of English Literature students a few years ago. Throughout the year, there are numerous readings from visiting writers, as well as book launches, and a host of literary events.