Research projects

A key feature of English activity has been the expansion of ambitious and large-scale research projects and their articulation through public engagement activities. 

Take a look at our project highlights and view our publications.

Shakespeare North

Shakespeare NorthShakespeare North is a £32m, heritage-based, urban regeneration project located in the Liverpool City Region borough of Knowsley. It aims to commemorate Knowsley’s previously unrecognised Elizabethan and Jacobean theatrical history: the existence in Prescot, Knowsley of one of the very few, Elizabethan, purpose-built theatres outside London and the significant theatrical patronage of the Earls of Derby, one of whose major residences, Knowsley Hall, borders Prescot. Lord Strange’s Men, under the patronage of Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Strange (later the 5th Earl of Derby), is recognised as the precursor company to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men - Shakespeare’s company at the Globe in London.

At the heart of the Shakespeare North project is the construction of a replica of London’s Cockpit-in-Court theatre, designed by Inigo Jones/John Webb as an adaptation of the cockpit at Whitehall, first built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Prescot’s Cockpit-in-Court, situated on the site of the town’s Elizabethan cockpit, will be enclosed in a modern wraparound building, housing educational and community activities.

Members of the Research Institute have been working on the Shakespeare North project since 2004. After significant capture of funding, construction of the Shakespeare North Playhouse began in April 2019 and it is expected to open in 2021. It is expected to attract 100,000 visitors a year to Knowsley, the second most deprived SOA in the UK, and to raise its educational attainment levels, as well as stimulating economic regeneration of Prescot and Knowsley.

Image: Architects’ working computer design for the interior of Shakespeare North’s Cockpit-in-Court theatre © Austin-Smith:Lord

War Widows' Stories

War Widow's quilt

War Widows’ Stories raises awareness of the lives of war's forgotten women past and present through an innovative combination of oral history, participatory art and poetry, scholarly research, and public events. Led by Dr Nadine Muller (PI) and Dr Melanie Bassett (RA), the project works together with war widows and their families and is a collaboration between LJMU, the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain, Royal Museums Greenwich, the National Memorial Arboretum, the Imperial War Museums, and arts organisation arthur+martha.

Funding: Arts and Humanities Research Council (Early-Career Leadership Fellowship), Arts Council England, British Academy (Rising Star Engagement Award) and Heritage Lottery (Sharing Heritage Award).

Find out more about the project on the War Widows' Stories website.

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Fern Crazy

Fern crazy‘Fern Crazy’ recreates the Victorian fern craze at Sefton Park Palm House. Local children have created a beautiful new fernery at the Palm House as part of a Being Human festival event organised by the Research Institute for Literature and Cultural History.

Funding: Funded by the Being Human Festival, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. Supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS):

Being Human logo

Decolonising Feminism

Beyond Western Eyes

Decolonising Feminism is an international project led by Fiona Tolan (English Studies, LJMU) and Dr Rachel Carroll (Teesside University) in collaboration with research partners Dr Nuhkbah Langah (Forman Christian College, Lahore), and Dr Stuti Khanna (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi). Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, the project looks to bring together scholars working on South Asian and contemporary women’s writing in the UK, India and Pakistan. Our aim is to extend the networks and resources of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association to develop a programme of events and collaborations that focus on gender equality in education and professional development and strengthen international collaboration in the field. The project was launched with a symposium, ‘Beyond Western Eyes: South Asian Women’s Writing in Contemporary Contexts’, held at LJMU in June 2019.

Writing Lives

Collaborative research project on working-class autobiography.

Visit the Writing Lives website.

Soundscapes in the Early Modern World


‘Soundscapes in the Early Modern World’ is an AHRC-funded international research network working on the period from c. 1500-1800 to develop new approaches to uncovering the sounds of the early modern world. Our focus is on how sonic interaction shapes early modern identities. From the chiming of the clock regulating the daily patterns of the city, to the bell calling all to church, the street singer, and the literate reading pamphlets to the illiterate, sounds governed everyday life. The network explores how sounds create communities, civil society, sociability and ways of knowing and understanding the wider world and the self.

Find out more on the Early Modern Soundscapes website or follow us on Twitter @emsoundscapes.