Dr Emily Cuming

Humanities and Social Science

My main research interests are on British literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present with a focus on working-class writing, representations of domestic and urban space, and life writing. My first monograph, Housing, Class and Gender in Modern British Writing, 1880-2012, examined depictions of working-class interiors, housing and selves in literature from the Victorian period to the present. I am currently writing a second book, Maritime Relations: Life and Writing at the Water's Edge, 1830-1914, centring on the figure of the working sailor and global maritime culture in the long nineteenth century. Alongside this I am working on a project that explores girlhood through archives of nineteenth-century working-class autobiography. I am particularly interested in the historical relationship between literature, life writing and other forms of nonfiction, and my research and teaching lie at the intersection of literary and historical enquiry.

Before joining the department in January 2017 I was a Research Fellow for three years in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Prior to that I lived and worked in Los Angeles, California for seven years, teaching literature and interdisciplinary humanities at Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College, the University of Redlands, and Whittier College.

I lead two undergraduate modules at LJMU: Life Stories and Our House: Representing Domestic Space. I also teach the Foundation-level course Waterscapes and the MA course Place: Imagining Place in Modern Times.

I currently supervise three PhD projects and warmly welcome enquiries from students considering doctoral research in any of my areas of interest.

Degrees

2006, University of Manchester, UK, PhD
2002, University of Manchester, UK, MA
2001, University of Manchester, UK, BA Hons English & Russian

Highlighted publications

Cuming EM. 2022. Spaces of Girlhood: Autobiographical Recollections of Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Working-Class Childhood Joseph H, Holmes V, Nevalainen L. The Working Class at Home, 1770-1940 :99-121 Palgrave Macmillan Public Url

Cuming EM. 2019. At Home in the World?: The Ornamental Life of Sailors in Victorian Sailortown Victorian Literature and Culture, 47 :463-485 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Cuming E. 2016. Housing, Class and Gender in Modern British Writing, 1880-2012 Cambridge University Press 9781107150188 DOI Publisher Url

Journal article

Cuming E, O'Brien P. 2024. Introduction: The Raymond Williams Centenary Issue Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, 21 :5-10 Publisher Url

Allen V, Bohata K, Braithwaite P, Cuming EM, Von Rosenberg I, Woodward K. 2021. On Working with Williams: Five Female Perspectives Coils of the Serpent, 2021 :63-81 Publisher Url Public Url

Cuming EM. 2019. At Home in the World?: The Ornamental Life of Sailors in Victorian Sailortown Victorian Literature and Culture, 47 :463-485 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Rogers H, Cuming EM. 2019. ‘Revealing Fragments: Close and Distant Reading of Working-Class Autobiography’ Family and Community History, 21 :180-201 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Cuming E. 2013. Private Lives, Social Housing: Female Coming-of-Age Stories on the British Council Estate Contemporary Women's Writing, 7 :328-345 DOI Publisher Url

Cuming E. 2013. ‘Home is home be it never so homely’: Reading Mid-Victorian Slum Interiors Journal of Victorian Culture, 18 :368-386 DOI Publisher Url

Cuming EM. 2006. ‘The Order of Things Past: Ciaran Carson’s Autobiographical Bricolage’ Life Writing, 1 :17-38

Internet publication

Cuming E. 2023. Writing Home: Nineteenth-Century Sailors’ Personal Logbooks Author Url Publisher Url

Chapters

Cuming EM. 2022. Spaces of Girlhood: Autobiographical Recollections of Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Working-Class Childhood Joseph H, Holmes V, Nevalainen L. The Working Class at Home, 1770-1940 :99-121 Palgrave Macmillan Public Url

Cuming EM. 2018. Leave to Remain: Bedsits, B&Bs and Borders in Contemporary Fictions of Asylum Briganti C, Mezei K. Living with Strangers: Bedsits and Boarding Houses in Modern English Life, Literature and Film :161-176 Bloomsbury Academic. London 978-1-3500-1652-1 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Cuming E. Makeshift Dolls and Working-class Childhood, c. 1880-1930 Holmes V, Harley J. Objects of Poverty Bloomsbury Academic. London Publisher Url

Books (authored)

Cuming E. 2016. Housing, Class and Gender in Modern British Writing, 1880-2012 Cambridge University Press 9781107150188 DOI Publisher Url

Book review

Cuming EM. 2016. Home in British Working-Class Fiction Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, 14 :128-130

Cuming EM. Anglo-Irish Autobiography: Class, Gender and the Forms of Narrative Irish Studies Review, 14

Award:

Research and engagement funding for 'Voices from the Orphanage: Recovering Stories of the Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution'. £495, Research Institute for Literature and Cultural History, LJMU. 2023

QR funding for 'Maritime Relations: Sailors in British Literature, Culture and Society, 1837-1915'. £480, Liverpool John Moores University. 2023

Travel bursary, €300 (£257), Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies. 2022

QR funding for 'Raymond Williams at 100: Centenary Engagements'. £250, Liverpool John Moores University. 2022

QR research funding for 'Global Relations: Sailors and the Maritime Imagination, 1830-1915'. £750, Liverpool John Moores University. 2021

QR research award for Writing Lives: The Autobiography of the Working Class in Britain, 1600 to Present, £1986, Liverpool John Moores University. 2018

Winner of the NCCPE Engage 2016 Prize for Public Engagement in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for cross-disciplinary, arts-based research project 'Around the Toilet: Co-Creating Intersectional Understandings of Gender, Disability and Access’. £1500, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. 2016

British Association of Irish Studies postgraduate prize, British Association of Irish Studies. 2005

Fully-funded Phd studentship, Arts and Humanities Research Council. 2002

Margaret Johnson (Yates) Prize. Prize for the postgraduate student within the department with an outstanding average mark, University of Manchester. 2002

Fully-funded MA studentship, Arts and Humanities Research Council. 2001

Conference organisation:

James Hanley: New Directions, The Bluecoat, Liverpool. 2023

Bodies, Identities & Design: A Speaker Event, Manchester Metropolitan University, Organiser. 2015

Invited co-organiser and convener of ‘Gender, Space and Architecture’ session, for British Academy-sponsored event 'Is Gender Still Relevant?', University of Bradford, September 2014.. 2014

Making Use of Culture, University of Manchester, Co-organiser. 2005

Media Coverage:

Interviewed for BBC Radio 4 programme Out of Abandonment, on the history of the Liverpool Seaman's Orphanage in Newsham Park 2023

Interviewed for Exploding the Archive podcast series on researching and reading unpublished working-class autobiographies in the archive 2023

The New Issue: Issue 2 (Big Issue North). Interviewed for 'The House, As Depicted in Literature and the Arts', by Deborah Mulhearn 2020

Other invited event:

'Fragments of a Life: Reading Working-Class Autobiographies in the Archive' for Exploding the Archive postgraduate network series, Online presentation, Guest speaker for postgraduate network reflecting on working with archives of autobiography. 2023

‘Seeing the World: Diaries, Journals, Sketches and Other Sailors’ Writing’, Tate Liverpool, Invited presentation for the launch of the Research Institute for Literature and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University.. 2019

‘“A Bit of Place”: Home, Work and Gender in Mid-Victorian Surveys of Working-Class Environments’, Institute for Historical Research (IHR), London, Invited paper for IHR Winter Conference on 'Home: New Histories of Living.. 2018

‘Archives and “Ordinary” Lives’., Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds., Invited presentation for the Sadler Seminar Series: 'Shh! Encounters in the Unquiet Library'.. 2018

'At Home in the World? Sailors’ Homes, Port Cities and Melville’s Redburn’, University of Warwick, Invited paper for Victorian World Literatures conference. 2016

'Barmaids and Landladies', School of English, University of Leeds, Joint presentation with Prof Katherine Mullin; invited talk for School of English research seminar. 2016

'Home Truths: Re-visiting Henry Mayhew’s Morning Chronicle Survey’., University of Leeds, Invited research paper for the Victorian Research Group seminar series, School of English.. 2015

'Housing and Culture'., University of Leeds, Invited speaker and participant at AHRC–funded Research Network workshop, ''Home, Crisis and the Imagination'.. 2014

'At Home with Strangers: The Social Space of the Boarding-House in Twentieth-Century British Fiction’, Nottingham Trent University, Invited speaker at English Faculty Research Seminar Series.. 2014

Conference presentation:

Writing Home: Sailors' Journals and the Forging of Kinship, STAY HOME - New perspectives on the home, The Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark, Oral presentation. 2022

Sea Diaries: Life Writing and Oceanic Time, International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) conference; Life-Writing: Imagining the Past, Present and Future, University of Turku, Turku, Finland, Oral presentation. 2022

'Objects of Desire: Dolls and Dollhouses in Memoirs of Working-Class Girlhood', Objects of Poverty, 1100-2021 - Online Conference, Oral presentation. 2021

‘Ornamental Sailors: Surface Readings of the Victorian Seafarer’, 'Victorian Patterns', British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS) Conference, University of Exeter, Oral presentation. 2018

‘New Directions for Studying Working-Class Autobiography’ (with Dr Helen Rogers), Fragmentary Lives: The Survival and Interpretation of Historic Ego Documents, The National Archives, Oral presentation. 2018

‘Prison Voices in the Classroom: Crime, Punishment, and Pedagogy in the Digital Age' (with Dr Jude Piesse), Crime Fiction(s): Victorian and Neo-Victorian Narratives of Crime and Punishment, Edinburgh Napier University, Oral presentation. 2018

'Digital Victorians: Investigating the Victorians in the 21st Century', North West Print Culture Network meeting, Liverpool John Moores University, Oral presentation. 2017

‘Looking Out for “Jack Ashore”: Ship-Shape Life in the Victorian Sailors’ Home', Rethinking the Institution, Liverpool John Moores University, Oral presentation. 2017

'Beyond Hosts and Guests: Co-Production and Questions of Hospitality in Practice Research', TaPRA: Theatre and Performance Research Association, University of Bristol, Oral presentation. 2016

‘Spaces of Co-Production: Reflections on Working with Community Organisations and Architects’ with Dr Lisa Procter and Gemma Nash (Venture Arts), Changing the Future Research Landscape, University of East Anglia, Oral presentation. 2016

'Hospitable Research?' (with Dr Alison Jeffers), Changing the Future Research Landscape, University of East Anglia, Oral presentation. 2016

‘Hospitality Praxis: Problematising the Power Relations of Co-Production Through the Arts of Hospitality’, CSA: Cultural Studies Association, University of Riverside, California, Oral presentation. 2015

‘The Use of Domestic Evidence in the Production of Urban Knowledge: Henry Mayhew’s Morning Chronicle Investigation’, Urban History Group, University of Wolverhampton, Oral presentation. 2015

‘Unreliable Narration and the British Country House’, The Country House in Britain, 1914-2013, University of Newcastle, Oral presentation. 2014

‘“Home is Home be it Never so Homely”: Reading the Mid-Victorian Slum Interior’, Domestic Methodologies, The Geffreye Museum, London (Museum of the Home), Oral presentation. 2012

'Secret Spheres: Images of Homework in the Mid-Victorians Interiors of the Poor', Domestic Imaginaries, University of Nottingham, Oral presentation. 2012

Fellowships:

Caird Short-term Research Fellowship, Royal Museums Greenwich. 2022

Research Grants Awarded:

AHRC Connected Communities, ''Servicing Utopia: Critical Considerations for Social Change Through Accessible Design', Lisa Procter (Manchester Metropolitan University); Jenny Slater (Sheffield Hallam University), Grant value (£): 10,000, Duration of research project: 4 months. 2016

AHRC Connected Communities, 'Travelling Toilet Tales', Jenny Slater (Sheffield Hallam University); Lisa Procter (Manchester Metropolitan University), Grant value (£): 20,000, Duration of research project: 4 months. 2016

AHRC Connected Communities, ‘Around the Toilet: Co-Creating Intersectional Understandings of Gender, Disability and Access’, Jenny Slater (Sheffield Hallam University); Lisa Procter (Manchester Metropolitan University), Grant value (£): 46,000, Duration of research project: 9 months. 2015

AHRC Connected Communities, ‘The Hospitality Project: Exploring Hospitality as an Arts-Based Praxis to Remake Relationships of Co-Production’, Naomi Millner (University of Bristol); Alison Jeffers (University of Manchester), Grant value (£): 55,000, Duration of research project: 11 months. 2015

Editorial boards:

Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism, Editor, https://raymondwilliams.co.uk/journal/. 2015

Journal of Victorian Culture, Editorial board member.

Membership of professional bodies:

Fellow, Higher Education Academy.

Fellow, Royal Historical Society.

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