Selected Projects

PIs Professor Sebastian Groes and Dr Aidan Byrne

Our international team of academics is working with BBC Arts and a host of other project partners including the British Library and Libraries Connected on an ambitious new engagement project to mark the 300th anniversary of the English Language novel.  Starting in January 2020, The Novels That Shaped Our World is a year-long 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 project is accompanied by a nationwide Festival, programmes on BBC TV and Radio and a collaboration with libraries and reading groups throughout the UK.

PIs Professor Sebastian Groes and Dr R. M. Francis

The West Midlands, and the Black Country in particular, is an area rich in industrial and post-industrial culture encompassing literature, architecture, music, comedy, and a wealth of informal cultural activity. The general aim of this project is to augment the public’s awareness of, and engagement with, this culture by creating networks and a platform for writers, readers and general audiences.

PI Dr Benjamin Colbert

The culmination of over 20 years of bibliographical research conducted by the PI, this project is developing a publically accessible, fully searchable Database of British Travel Writing, 1780-1840 (DBTW), comprising all known travel books published in Britain and Ireland during a period which saw the beginnings of mass tourism and the gradual professionalisation of the travel writing industry.

PI Professor Sebastian Groes

Researchers on the TRUTH project analyse fake news that circulates on social media, news media and messaging technologies during the pandemic. The team will be assessing the impact of deliberately misleading and inaccurate news on our behaviour and the way it aims to deliberately deceive the public about Covid-19 and government policies. The project will investigate psychological, socio-cultural and cognitive and other demographic factors involved in public engagement to shape our understanding of fake news and continuing through to help the road to recovery.

PI Professor Sebastian Groes

Writers and critics working in the arts and humanities are now seriously engaging with new critical perspectives offered by biosciences, psychology, and computer science to explore individual and collective memory in literary narratives, while scientists acknowledge the benefits of engaging with creative ideas and the ethical and hermeneutic perspectives offered through fictional explorations and humanities disciplines. The Memory Network aims to foster a profound and sustained engagement with these emerging models of memory and the ways in which they might generate or illuminate literary production. It moves away from existing, postmodern ways of thinking about memory which focus on historical amnesia, memorialisation, trauma and nostalgia. Instead of these socio-cultural and therapeutic narratives, the Network is interested in mobilising the transformative and dynamic potential of memory, consciousness and cognition as a subject of literary-scientific enquiry.

PI Dr Nicola Allen

2018 marked the 100th anniversary of some women getting the vote. This led to a rush to tell the stories of suffragettes, but this project showed how three women provide a key for how such figures sought to represent themselves: Lilian Lenton, Olive Wharry and Constance Nina Boyle were extraordinary women.  This research sought to uncover and analyse this writing, since through their writing and the writing they inspired, it is possible to see their attempt to assert their own right over their own legacy.

PI Dr Benjamin Colbert

This project aimed to restore visibility to 139 women who published travel books as authors, co-authors, contributors, letterpress writers, editors, and translators during a period in which women’s travel writing became established in Britain and Ireland. Original biographical research on these authors contributed to our knowledge of the conditions of publishing, networking, and support that helped women become transformative presences in a male-dominated genre.

PI Dr Aleksandra Galasinska

This project researched the inception of the new UK immigration system.  The analysis relied on an interdisciplinary, multi-sited and transnational approach to the deportation regime, involving anthropology, sociology, critical discourse analysis and socio-legal studies.  The research focused mainly on the West Midlands, a region characterised by a high influx of EU migrants, especially from Central and Eastern European Union. In addition, this region had the highest share of the “leave” vote (59.3%) in the referendum in June 2016.

PI Dr Karthick Manoharan

The Periyar Project is an academic forum on Periyar (1879-1973). It will feature select translations of key works of Periyar as well as short articles from academics and intellectuals on his ideas and their relevance today. The aim of this website is to encourage global critical engagement with the wide-ranging thoughts of this important leader from South India. 

Selected Publications

Black, D. (2020) Play time: Gender, Anti-Semitism and Temporarily in Medieval Drama. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Blower, L. (2020) Pondweed. Brighton: Myriad Editions.

Blower, L. (2019) It's Gone Dark Over Bill's Mother's. Brighton: Myriad Editions.

Colbert, B. (2020) Women’s Travel Writing, 1780-1840: A Bio-Bibliographical Database

Dhanda, M. (2020) Philosophical Foundations of Anti-Casteism, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Vol. cxx, Part 1, pp. 71-96 doi: 10.1093/arisoc/aoaa006 (Included in Best of Philosophy 2020 by Oxford University Press

Galasińska, A., Radziwinowiczówna, A. (2020) ‘The Vile Eastern European’: Ideology of Deportability in the Brexit Media Discourse. Central and Eastern European Migration Review, Vol. , No. online first, 2021, pp. 1-19. DOI:10.17467/ceemr.2021.01

Groes, S. and Francis, R. M. (eds.) (2021) Smell, Memory and Literature in the Black Country.  New York and London: Palgrave, 2021.