Research Centre Literature and Cultural History

Centre for Literature and Cultural History

Learn more about the work the Group undertakes

The Centre for Literature and Cultural History was established in 1998 and conducts interdisciplinary research into literary studies and cultural history.

The Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History has an established track record in the following key areas:

  • Nineteenth century studies
  • The contemporary and everyday cultures
  • National literatures, especially Irish and Scottish
  • Discursive analysis of what it means to be human, with a focus on travel writing and medical humanities

In the most recent research assessment (REF2014), 22% of the Centre’s work was rated as world leading and 46% as internationally excellent. In terms of impact, 50% of the Centre’s research was awarded the highest impact rating. Overall, the Centre’s impact was evaluated as ranging from considerable to outstanding in terms of its reach and significance.

Currently, the Centre is involved in two major collaborative research projects. The first is a collaboration with staff from Brunel University, London. As part of this collaborative initiative, the Centre aims to develop a digital archive of working-class writing since 1700. The project’s research and pedagogic productivity, which has attracted funding from the Higher Education Academy, can be seen at Writing Lives.

The second major collaborative research project the Centre is working on is Prescot Renaissance – a community-focused project commemorating and investigating the Elizabethan theatre situated in Prescot, Merseyside.

Members from the Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History publish regularly in academic journals, monographs, books and online. For example, Michael Morris recently published Scotland and the Caribbean, c.1740-1833 (Routledge, 2015), whilst Kathryn Walchester released Gamle Norge and Nineteenth-Century British Women Travellers in Norway (Anthem Press, 2015).

Members from the Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History are also regularly invited to give papers at international conferences and run seminar series. Professor Brian Maidment, for example, has run seminars at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale, whilst Dr Gerry Smyth has toured throughout Europe with his dramatic show ‘The Brother’ and his project on Joyce’s Chamber Music.

The projects conducted by the Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History are supported by various funding grants, fellowships and bodies, including the Higher Education Academy, the AHRC, the British Academy and U.S Library grants, including from Princeton and the Huntington. The Centre is also involved in a H2020 bid for a Protest as Cultural Heritage project, working with the University of Helsinki and institutions in Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Spain and Germany.

In addition to this, two lecturers from the English Programme have recently been awarded a £30,000 Research Networking Scheme grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Dr Gerry Smyth (Principal Investigator) and Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile (Co-Investigator) will use the grant to develop a research network entitled Marginal Irish Modernisms. This is a wide-ranging interdisciplinary project looking to re-orient traditional models of Irish cultural modernism.

The network, which will involve a range of academic and public engagement events over an eighteen-month period, is partnered with Trinity College, Dublin, and St Mary's University, London. The anonymous reviewers commended the excitement and radicalism of the project, and suggested that it might have important implications for a broader understanding of the modernist movement in literature and the arts.

Case studies

Professor Joe Moran has recovered obscured and neglected histories of the everyday.
Read the case study: Celebrating the everyday

The Marginal Irish Modernisms network brings Irish texts, cultural practices and events to the general public through theatre productions, concerts and public lectures.
Read the case study: Marginal voices brought centre stage

Researchers use the written word to impact positively on the lives of prisoners, influence prison-education practice and contribute to public debate around justice and criminality.
Read the case study: Free to write

Contact details

Get in touch with researchers from the Centre

If you’d like to ask a question or find out more about information about this Group, please contact the team using the details below.

Contact: Glenda Norquay


Call: +44 (0)151 231 5013 


Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History Humanities and Social Science
John Foster Building 80-98 Mount Pleasant
L3 5UZ