Research in English and creative writing

Creativity, innovation and exploration in the beautiful South West

The English and Creative Writing department is home to a thriving and diverse research culture. Our work spans creative writing, cultural history and literary studies, combining excellence in established areas of research with the exploration of cutting-edge concerns.
Recent points of focus for the department have included literatures of place, memory, and identity; the environment and the Anthropocene; poetry and poetic practice; archival literary and historical study. Members of the department have worked with partner organisations and communities to bring about change in areas ranging from mental health, to an understanding of our colonial past, to our responses to the climate emergency.
We support a large and vibrant postgraduate community, with a portfolio of MAs and a ResM/PhD programme. Our postgraduate students benefit from targeted skills and career development training, situated within a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment. 
English and Creative Writing at Plymouth was first in the South West for its 4/3* star research outputs and impact in REF2021, signifying 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' work.
We run a monthly research seminar, open to all, in which our researchers present exciting new work, and enter into dialogue with experts from a wide range of fields and backgrounds.

Research impact

Associate Professor of English, Dr Kathryn Napier Gray, talks about her involvement with Mayflower 400, and in particular the Legend and Legacy exhibition which was created in partnership with the Wampanoag people. The exhibition explored early English attempts to colonise America and acknowledged conflict with Native America and the impact of colonisation on the indigenous population. It looked at the context the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620, the lives of the passengers, and considered the cultural, demographic and personal legacies of the story.
REF2021 Impact Case Study
Mayflower 400: Decolonising cultural heritage and  transforming narratives of remembering.

Our researchers

Writing in a notepad on the cliffs overlooking a beach

Research news

Tom Vowler
Academic wins prestigious short story prize

Dr Tom Vowler was one of seven authors shortlisted for the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize

8 February 2024

Digital research repository

The School of Society and Culture (SSC) is home to a diverse collection of researchers working in the social sciences, humanities and performing arts. We’re dedicated to advancing knowledge for public benefit, driving meaningful change in our society and enriching communities (be they near us or an ocean away). Visit our our digital repository of staff research to watch short videos from academics working across the School’s disciplines: Anthropology, Art History, Computer Music, Creative Writing, Criminology, English, Environmental Cultures, Heritage, History, International Relations, Law, Music, Politics, Sociology, Theatre and Performance.