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Personal profile

Research interests

My work focusses on teaching, lifelong learning, widening participation and community engagement.

I was appointed Lecturer in English at Bristol in 2021. Prior to taking-up the post, I served as Teaching Associate, Senior Research Associate and Senior Associate Teacher in the Department of English over the previous decade.

I became Deputy Director of English Literature and Community Engagement (ELCE) in 2022; I have been Deputy Director of the Bristol Poetry Institute since 2018.

Teaching

My primary concern as a lecturer is teaching. For the BA in English Literature and Community Engagement, I convene the units Poetry, Understanding Critical Theory and Thought, and American Literature, as well as contributing to the community engagement units, Academic Skills for the Study of English Literature and Community Engagement, and Communities, Education and Ways of Knowing.

For the BA in English, I have previously taught the units Approaches to Poetry and Contemporary Writing.

I was nominated for a Bristol Teaching Award in the Inspiring and Innovative Teaching Award category in 2021 (Individual) and 2022 (Team). In 2022, I was also nominated in the Outstanding Support Award (Team) category.

Lifelong Learning, Widening Participation and Community Engagement

For the BA in English Literature and Community Engagement, I lead on recruitment and student experience, and have oversight of the community engagement component of the degree. The BA in English Literature and Community Engagement is a part-time, direct entry, undergraduate degree that accepts applications from students of any age, background or prior educational experience. I would welcome contact from any potential applicant, or anyone interested in knowing more about the course.

I also lead on our pathway programme Mastering English Literature (MEL), which aims to introduce (or re-introduce) graduate adult learners to the study of English Literature and prepare students for postgraduate study in the field. MEL is open to applicants holding an undergraduate degree in any discipline.

Research

My research considers American literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially, but not exclusively, poetry. I am interested in the ways by which America is invented and reinvented in the writing of this period, as well as the connection between American literature and the physical spaces of the Union.

I have a long-standing interest in the work of Bob Dylan. In 2011, I was the co-principal organiser, along with Professor Daniel Karlin, FBA, of a conference to mark the artist’s seventieth birthday. The event was covered by The GuardianThe Times and The Telegraph, as well as BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4; reviews were published in The Guardian and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and CultureFollowing the conference, I edited a collection of essays, ‘Things Have Changed’: Essays for Bob Dylan at Seventy, which was published as a special issue of the journal Popular Music History in 2013. In 2017, I published a further piece on Dylan, for ANQ, entitled, ‘Bob Dylan’s American Adam’.

My current research project marries these abiding interests. The study considers Bob Dylan’s relationship to ‘the country [he] comes from’ to reflect on the ways in which his depiction of America both responds to traditional modes and follows Ezra Pound's injunction to ‘make it new’. The research takes in Dylan’s choice of medium and his sophisticated use of allusion, repetition and rhyme.

Bristol Poetry Institute

As Deputy Director of the Bristol Poetry Institute, along with the Co-Directors, I take a lead on public engagement with poetry. It is the Bristol Poetry Institute’s mission to advance the reading, practice and study of poetry within Bristol’s diverse communities and the South West region. In my tenure with the Institute, I have organised a wide-ranging programme of public poetry readings, workshops, talks, lectures, symposia and conferences, featuring leading poets and critics, such as Simon Armitage, Neil Corcoran, Mark Ford, Nick Groom, The Last Poets, Liz Lochhead, Alice Oswald, Claudia Rankine and Roger Robinson. We, as an Institute, are actively collaborative and proud to work with, and alongside, local schools and community organisations, like Ujima Radio and St. Mary Redcliffe, as well as other poetry organisations and cultural institutions, such as Lyra Bristol Poetry Festivalthe Ledbury Poetry Festival and Bristol Ideas, among others.

Along with my colleague, Dr William Wootten, I discuss the importance of poetry and the role of the Bristol Poetry Institute in this recent interview for National Poetry Day by the Arts Matter blog.

Membership of Professional Bodies

I am a member of the British Association for American Studies.

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