We encourage research that is innovative and interdisciplinary. We are committed to exploring crossovers between creative and critical writing, opening up new areas of research and providing an environment that is both stimulating and challenging.

World-leading research

The quality of our research was recognised in the most recent Research Excellence Framework where 74% of our work was graded as world-leading or internationally excellent. This led to us being ranked 10th out of 89 English departments for research intensity by the Times Higher Education.

Our research ranges from the medieval to the postmodern including; British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history.  

Practice as research

A distinctive feature of our research culture is our ‘practice as research’ thread of creative writing PhD programmes. You are supported by a supervisory team as you explore original, contemporary research questions, ultimately producing a novel, a volume of poetry or a non-fiction narrative.

World-leading experts

Our lecturers are respected and influential in their areas. Their research is extending traditional fields and opening up new areas of scholarship.

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Material culture

Discover what close examination of contemporary descriptions of the material world can reveal

Research centres and clusters

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Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

The Centre has an international reputation for the quality of its research.

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Creative Writing

World-leading tutors support you to produce work that is compelling and readable.

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Gender, Sexuality and Writing

We promote research in this area through conferences, workshops, readings and colloquia.

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Indigenous and Settler Colonial Studies

We bring together scholars with a broader interest in the global frameworks of Critical Indigenous Studies (CIS).

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Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century

We investigate the period from 1640-1830 from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.

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Modern Poetry

A hub of practice and research for students and staff working in modern and contemporary poetry and poetics.

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Victorian Literature

The Centre provides a stimulating research environment, with an emphasis on Victorian literature and culture associated with Kent and the south-east.

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American Studies

This vibrant teaching and research centre is dedicated to the study of the United States and Latin America.

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Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Our Canterbury location allows us to offer our students access to a wide range of unique historical, literary and material evidence.

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Animal Humanities

Fascinated by the growing field of animal studies, this interdisciplinary group seeks to extend understanding and collaboration in this area.

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Medical Humanities

We are an interdisciplinary research network working to foster collaboration and exchange among medical and health humanities studies scholars.

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Cultures of Performance

We investigate performance events in Europe c500 to c700. We study plays, pageants, poetry, music, liturgy and dance.

Research excellence

Our innovative and interdisciplinary research led to our success in the most recent REF. We have continued to devise projects that extend scholarship and also impact on the world around us.

Our research: Making a difference

The School of English is a progressive, outward-looking research department with a strong focus on social impact.  We are part of a five-university consortium which has been awarded almost €4m from the European Commission for a project that aims to provide an historical, cultural and social understanding of the roots of migration.  

We host or participate in a number of high-profile conferences and events throughout the year. Recent events include:

  •  The 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf
  •  Emotional Politics: The Role of Affect in Social Movements and Organising
  • The Cartographic Imagination: Art, Literature and Mapping in the United States, 1945-1980
  • The Irish Writer in ‘Little England’
  • Radical Pedagogies.    

As a School, we conduct high-quality research across a range of academic specialisms. These include (but are not limited to) the work of our specialist research centres and clusters. You can discover more about individual projects on our dedicated research site.

Visit our people page to discover more about our academic staff, their interests and activities and how to contact them.