Research in English and Creative Writing ranges very widely, from critical interpretation to the practice of writing, from the Early Modern period to the contemporary, and from literature in English to the many literatures from across the globe. Members of the English discipline explore canonical and less familiar texts and those by emerging writers. Research projects and publications often cross disciplinary boundaries to other areas of the Humanities and Social Sciences. To explore further the research conducted in English and Creative Writing, follow the individual staff profiles, as well as the research groups and the research projects listed below.
The English discipline runs three discipline-centred research groups and one inter-disciplinary group:
- History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) (Director: Shafquat Towheed)
Our main focus is on book history and the history of reading. Within this area, members work on scholarly editing, the history of editing and serialisation, attribution studies, the history of publishing and contemporary publishing studies, bibliographic sociology and literary entrepreneurship, colonial and postcolonial book history, early modern manuscript studies, drama and performance studies, digital material, oral history, and World War 1.
- Postcolonial and Global Literatures (Director: Alex Tickell)
The predominant focus of the group is on Anglophone literatures from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and forms of colonial and neo-colonial experience represented in these literary traditions, but group members’ interests also encompass the writing of the Caribbean and South-Asian diasporas; colonial cultural and literary history; anti-colonial political thought, and wider global literary systems.
- Contemporary Cultures of Writing (Co-convenors: Derek Neale and Sally O’Reilly)
The research focus of this interdisciplinary group is on writing practices, their cultural contexts and impacts. We are interested in all forms of creative and academic writing, reflective practices, academic literacies, and translation as a creative act.
- Literature and Music (Co-director: Delia Da Sousa Correa)
The Open University Literature and Music Research Group has been a focus for research in the interdisciplinary area of Literature and Music studies for many years and members of the group have published widely in the field. They collaborate in hosting international conferences and public study days and in supervising interdisciplinary doctoral research.
Members of the English and Creative Writing discipline have either led or contributed to a number of major externally funded research projects. For details on these projects, follow the links below:
- Reading Europe Advanced Data Investigation Tool (READ-IT) (2018-21), PI-2 (UK Lead): Shafquat Towheed, Funding: AHRC under the Joint Programme in Cultural Heritage (JPICH)
- Dreaming Romantic Europe (2018-20), PI: Nicola J Watson, Funding: AHRC
- Entrepreneurial Literary Research (2016-17), PI: Suman Gupta, Funding: British Academy Newton Grant
- Beyond do no harm: Life Writing and Expressive Writing after sexual violence in conflict (2016), Co-I: Siobhan Campbell, Funding: Beyond Borders (Charity, Scotland) with INMAA (NGO) Kirkuk
- Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and the Present (2015-16), PI: Shafquat Towheed, Funding: AHRC
- Framing Financial Crisis and Protest: North-West and South-East Europe (2014-16), PI: Suman Gupta, Funding: Leverhulme Trust
- Planned Violence: Post/colonial Urban Infrastructures and Literature (2014-16) , Co-I: Alex Tickell, Funding: Leverhulme Trust
- Beyond the Frame: Indian British Connections (2011-17), PI: Susheila Nasta, Funding: AHRC
- Prospects for English Studies: India and Britain Compared (2011-14), PI: Suman Gupta and Richard Allen, Funding: AHRC
- Making Britain: Visions of Home and Abroad (1870-1950) (2007-11), PI: Susheila Nasta, Funding: AHRC
- English Studies in Bulgarian and Romanian Higher Education (2007-09), PI: Suman Gupta, Funding: British Academy and Leverhulme Trust
- The Indian Ocean: Narratives of Literature and Law (2007-10), Co-I: David Johnson, Funding: AHRC
- Nollywood Film Industry and the African Diaspora in the UK (2006-08), PI: Suman Gupta, Funding: Ferguson Trust
- Contemporary Indian Literature in English and the Indian Market (2006-08), PI: Suman Gupta. Funding: Ferguson Trust.
- The Colonial and Post-Colonial History of the Book (2004-2007), PI: Robert Fraser. Funding: AHRC
- Globalization, Identity Politics and Social Conflict (2002-2006), PI: Suman Gupta. Funding: British Academy, British Council and sponsoring institutions
- The Reading Experience Database (RED) (1995-), Director: Shafquat Towheed, previously Bob Owens, Funding: AHRC
The UK Reading Experience Database (RED) project was founded and coordinated by discipline members. The UK RED is an open-access database housed at the Open University, containing over 30,000 easily searchable records documenting the history of reading in Britain from 1450 to 1945. Evidence of reading presented in UK RED is drawn from published and unpublished sources as diverse as diaries, commonplace books, memoirs, sociological surveys, and criminal court and prison records.
The Making Britain: Discover how South Asians shaped the nation, 1870-1950 project was founded and built up by discipline members. This open-access online database provides information about South Asians in Britain from 1870 to 1950, the organizations they were involved in, their British connections, and the major events in which they participated.
Discipline members also contributed to the Listening Experience Database (LED) project. LED is an open and freely searchable database that brings together a mass of data about people’s experiences of listening to music of all kinds, in any historical period and any culture.
Researchers in the English discipline have organised numerous conferences, symposia, workshops, seminar series and public events. For further details, see News and Events, as well as the four Research Groups’ websites, and the individual staff profiles.
Journals and Book Series
Members of the discipline play key editing roles for the following scholarly journals and book series: