English research at USW has longstanding and internationally-recognised expertise in the following major areas: creative writing, Welsh writing in English, women’s writing, and Gothic studies. Synergies between literary critics and creative writers in the team have led to the development of innovative research in critical-creative writing, much of it focused through the Border/Lines research group. A keen interest in textuality and cultural spaces – on spatial politics, landscapes and literary geographies from Wales to Australia – is another element which links much of the research and writing produced by members of the unit.
An interdisciplinary and collaborative research project established and led by Dr Alice Entwistle, Professor Philip Gross and Dr Kevin Mills, Border/Lines brings together poets and critics to stage innovative encounters and events. It aims to create a variety of outcomes including video and sound recordings, a database and published poems and articles. The project has hosted two events so far: ‘Esturine Environments’ (Chepstow, 24 January 2010) and ‘Orpheus at Glasfryn’ (Abergavenny, 17 November 2010), as well as leading to the ‘In and Between’ project.
Interweaving film, poetry, performance and critical reflection, this collaborative site-specific practice-as-research (PaR) project involves academics and creative practitioners from the Border/Lines group working with colleagues from the Faculty of Creative Industries, in association with the Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations. Outcomes include an inter-active web-based poetry film ‘Flow and Frame’ by Professor Philip Gross and film-maker Wyn Mason.
Professor Christopher Meredith’s interest in art, history and landscape of Wales led to a collaboration with environmental workers and visual artists, ongoing since 2010, on the multi-media Woollen Line and Bog~Mawnog Projects, originated by artist Pip Woolf. These entailed pegging lines of sheep’s wool across fire-ravaged areas of peatland in the Black Mountains, creating an art installation to repair and draw attention to environmental damage. Meredith’s poems for the projects, commissioned by Woolf and funded by The Arts Council of Wales, have been a key part of two exhibitions at Brecknock Museum and in Crickhowell (2011, 2012), with approx. 5,000 visitors, and have led to podcasts, a radio broadcast, public lectures and readings. They were published in Black Mountains: Poems and Images from the Bog~Mawnog Project (Mulfran Press, 2011) and formed part of Air Histories (Seren, 2013).
As founding and continuing Editor of the Welsh Women’s Classics series published by Honno, Professor Jane Aaron oversees the republication of neglected and out-of-print books by women writers in Wales. Each edition includes a scholarly introduction setting the work in its historical context. These new editions make forgotten literary texts available for both the general reader and students of Welsh writing in English and women’s writing. Recent publications include Allen Raine’s A Welsh Witch (1902), edited by Professor Jane Aaron, and Hilda Vaughan’s Here are Lovers (1926) edited by Professor Diana Wallace.
English researchers play an active role in the University’s Centre for Gender Studies in Wales, co-directed by Dr Ruth McElroy and Professor Diana Wallace. The Centre provides a focus within the University for cross-Faculty, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in gender studies generally, including work on women’s literature and the work of Welsh women writers in particular. As well as the annual Ursula Masson Memorial Lecture, it hosts events and seminar series.
From to 2006 to 2013, English hosted the Research Centre for Literature, Arts and Science, led by Dr Martin Willis and Professor Andrew Smith. The Centre staged a series of conferences and events.