Shaping the world: Research Excellence Framework success for the School of English

The School of English at Kent is delighted to have been recognised by an expert panel in this year’s Research Excellence Framework, with 100% of its research environment and 100% of its research impact judged to be ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. The Times Higher Education has ranked English at Kent in the UK top 20 in its subject league table, out of 92 universities. 

As scholars and creative practitioners, academic staff in the School of English are national and international leaders in their fields. The expert panel judged 93% of its research overall and just under 90% of its research outputs, as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

With a track record of excellent critical and creative practice, academic staff have made significant contributions to the development of the discipline and to wider literary culture, working in partnership with museums, galleries, NGOs, businesses and heritage organisations.

Research in the School of English feeds directly into engagement with students at all levels and is constantly international in outlook, reflecting its historic commitment to the study of postcolonial literatures. This includes Professor David Stirrup’s ground-breaking AHRC project ‘Beyond the Spectacle: Native North American Presence in Britain’, which amplifies the stories of Indigenous people from North America who have been travelling to Britain since the early sixteenth century.

The School is committed to social and political intervention and is proud that its research has influenced national and international debates on asylum and forced displacement, environmental change and indigenous rights, narratives of changing global health and, building on the legacy of Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Nobel Prize in Literature, the histories and consequences of empire.

Through Professor David Herd’s work with the Refugee Tales project, the School has contributed to understanding the realities of the UK’s asylum regime. Professor Jennie Batchelor’s Leverhulme-funded work on The Ladies Magazine has transformed public and professional understanding of eighteenth-century women’s lives and craft practice.

Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid’s research in the field of environmental humanities has reached international audiences across the world, including through two BBC radio series that were broadcast to audiences totalling more than half a billion.

Dr Bashir Abu-Manneh, Head of School, said, “The School of English is home to outstanding researchers, and I am delighted that these results, judged by a panel of peers and experts, reflect the richness of our research culture, our commitment to interdisciplinary practice, and our willingness to shape ambitious intellectual and cultural agendas.”

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