Our Impact

English Literature and Language

Professor Sebastian Groes, Dr Robert Francis, and Dr Aidan Byrne work together with an international multidisciplinary team on the AHRC-funded research project Novel Perceptions. This research is associated with research undertaken by Groes and Byrne for the BBC engagement project The Novels That Shaped Our World, - a project that asks the public in Great Britain and beyond to debate a selection of 100 novels that have impacted upon the nation since Robinson Crusoe, 300 years ago.  The team presented research on the benefits of diverse and inclusive reading at literary festivals across the UK, including Hay. The survey attracted almost 7,000 participants. Most recently, this project has evolved into an Arts Council England impact project – The Big Bookshare – which sees Novel Perceptions’ research rolled out across four prisons in Kent. The Bookshare team organises a comprehensive programme that encompasses a mass Book Club with 1,000 prisoners as well as creative writing workshops, a magazine and booklets with reading recommendations.  Writers involved in the project are Kit de Waal and Stephen Fry whose novels My Name is Leon and Heroes are being read by inmates with a view to increase literacy, skills and wellbeing. You can read about the projec’ts impact on prison policy here.

Dr Daisy Black’s research and its performance applications benefit not only the general public, but also museum curators, women’s groups, churches and congregations, and comprises the focus of the Impact Case Study, ‘Performing Medieval Gender: A Storytelling Project’. Daisy is a New Generation Thinker whose work has frequently been on BBC Radio 3. To find more about Daisy work, check her website.

Research by Groes, Francis, Byrne, and Dr Ester Asprey has impacted positively on the national and international visibility, reputation and reach of the Black Country's fascinating socio-cultural complexities. Asprey’s work on Black Country language and identity has been the basis of the BBC’s Arts & Ideas programme, for instance. Through collaborations with cultural, commercial and media partners, libraries, and festivals, we have established a nationwide network for readers, writers, publishers and cultural organisations, which has resulted in improvements to the visitor experience of cultural institutions whilst (in)directly benefiting regional economic prosperity. The research has contributed to a transformative cultural renaissance that helps push the region towards a reinvigorated, more prosperous future.  The Impact Case Study, ‘Writing the Black Country: Changing Perceptions’, emerges directly out of our contribution to and creation of networks and the positive contributions these have made to public perceptions, well-being, and prosperity both within the region and beyond.

Writing under Fire: Poetry and Prose from Ukraine and the Black Country is a collaboration between various universities in Ukraine and Wolverhampton. Professor Groes, Honorary professor Sofiya Filenenko, and writers Kerry Hadley-Pryce and Carmel Doohan are putting into dialogue 10 writers from Ukraine with their Black Country counterparts to think through the impact of the Russian war against their country and to support academics, students and writers in this time of crisis. The collection has contributions by writers including Halyna Kruk, Ihor Pavlyuk and Bogdan Kolomiychuk. Black Country writers include Niall Griffiths, Kuli Kohli, Roy MacFarlane and Charley Barnes.  

C-TRUTH was an Anglo-Dutch project investigating citizens’ susceptibility to mis- and disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic with directly collaborated with and impacted on the UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Dutch RIVM. Professor Groes explained the C-TRUTH research on various occasions in the media including BBC’s Digital Planet.  

Write in the Head is an impact project that aims to provide an online platform with creative writing programmes for (younger) people recovering from an acquired brain injury. The project comes forth out of Sebastian Groes’ own experience of stroke at a young age, which we explores in the stroke memoir Right in the Head. Groes works in an interdisciplinary team to create the online programme with Creative Writing for Wellbeing Facilitator Kate Poll, poet Denise Saul (Oxford Brookes), the award-winning writer and Professor of Creative Writing Jon McGregor (Nottingham) and Dr Jonathan McRea (Brain Injury Matters). 

Women's Travel Writing is a biographical database providing full records for all known books of travel published in Britain and Ireland by women between 1780 and 1840, supplemented by notes, short biographies of the travel writers and illustrators, and web links to online digital editions.

Formidable Virago is a website by one of our PhD students, sharing her research into the former slave Mary Prince and her slave narrative.

Area Studies

We are committed to using a variety of pathways to disseminate research outputs in national and international forums with a view to address the needs of specific stakeholders and for the betterment of society more generally.  Key beneficiaries of Area Studies research have included four main groups: vulnerable people seeking protection against caste discrimination, human rights activists lobbying for policy change, EU immigrants facing deportation, and members of the public seeking a better grasp of the means to address discrimination and prejudice linked to the axes of race, caste, gender, disability, religion and nationality.

Dhanda and Takhar present their research to All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) and charities campaigning for changes in public policy. They are invited as expert consultants for widely disseminated public interest documentaries (e.g. BBC) in their respective research foci of caste discrimination and Sikh Studies.