Past, Individual and Collaborative Projects

Below is a compilation of the past projects, both individual and collaborative which have been undertaken in English. For individual projects please select from the list below, for broader groupings, select from the options above.

Past Projects

The Production and use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220

This major AHRC-funded project catalogued manuscripts containing English between the end of the 11th and beginning of the 13th century. The English Manuscript Project has built, over the years, an important bibliographical archive and collection of microfilms which is at the disposal of researchers wishing to carry out research in the field.

Slang Dictionary Project

This project, funded by the AHRC and British Academy, worked towards an overview of slang and cant dictionaries from the sixteenth century to the present day.

Grassroutes: Contemporary Leicester Writing

Grassroutes is a creative writing project that will promote public knowledge of Leicestershire's diverse literary cultures. It aims to foster local, national and international appreciation of the county's transcultural writing. Its outputs include an e-catalogue of literary titles, an online Writers' Gallery showcasing 50 writers, a £1,000 writing commission, two writing exhibitions and a blog.

Samuel Pepys and Restoration Reading

Kate Loveman is working on a book, Samuel Pepys and Restoration Reading, which investigates seventeenth-century reading habits, news exchange and book-buying. Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) left behind him not only a famous diary, but a host of other papers ranging from scholarly book reviews to shopping lists. Using these records, and those of his friends,Kate will explore the political, social and religious factors that influenced reading and the transmission of information in the second half of the seventeenth century.

Kate received an AHRC Early Careers Fellowship to fund work on this book during the autumn semester of 2010.

The Oxford edition of the Sermons of John Donne

Mary Ann Lund is editing Volume 12 of The Oxford edition of the Sermons of John Donne. The complete edition, commissioned by Oxford University Press and funded by a Major Research Grant from the AHRC, will run to 16 volumes in all, edited by an international team of scholars under the General Editorship of Dr Peter McCullough.

It will achieve a complete reassessment of Donne’s sermons, providing introductions, textual notes and commentary for a new generation of readers. Dr Lund’s volume covers Donne's sermons preached at St Paul's Cathedral in 1626.

25 volume edition of Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant

Margaret Oliphant (1828-97) was a prolific Victorian writer whose work encompassed many genres. She was the author of 98 novels, five biographies, two literary histories, books of travel, and over three hundred periodical articles. She was also one of the key critical voices in the second half of the nineteenth century

Joanne Shattock and Elisabeth Jay from Oxford Brookes are the General Editors of the project, to which Professor Shattock is contributing two of the 15 volumes currently commissioned, and a portion of a third.

Professor Shattock's work on the project was funded by grants from the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

Affective Digital Histories

Affective Digital Histories: Recreating De-Industrialised Places, 1970s – Present explored the hidden and untold stories of the people who lived and worked in former industrial buildings at two locations in the East Midlands: Leicester's Cultural Quarter and Glossop, a mill town in North Derbyshire.

The project was been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and was based at the University of Leicester.

Sole2Soul: Narrate, Curate, Rejuvenate

Sole2Soul was funded by Arts Council England and commissioned by Leicester County Council. It is one of six project commissions for an umbrella project entitled ‘Click, Connect, Curate Create’.

The Sole2Soul project creating new digital assets for the Falkner Boot and Shoe exhibit at Harborough Museum (Market Harborough). These include new creative writing (flash fiction, twitter fiction and poetry), photography and podcasts.

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Individual Projects

Medicine, Psychiatry and American Culture

This current project constructs a cultural history of medicine, psychiatry and illness in the United States after World War II. Focusing particularly on the interface between medical developments and cultural representations of illness in the mass media, literature, film and visual art.

This research uses a range of archival sources to explore the diversity of illness in the period 1945 to 1970, including:


Sentiment and Suffering in Romantic Military Art

An interdisciplinary project which examines how death and wounding on the field of battle was conceived in general terms in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with a particular interested in representations/discussions of ordinary or ranking soldiers.

Attention is given to the anatomist and field surgeon Charles Bell alongside other 'military healers' in the Romantic period. This project is part of a broader exploration of the 'pre-history' of war trauma.

Women Surgeons, 1860 to 1918

This project examines women's place in the surgical revolution of the second half of the nineteenth century and beyond, and looks closely at the sort of operations women performed with reference to hospital records, case notes and medical research papers.

It also investigates the controversies provoked by the female surgeon in this period, both through the disdain of some medical men and disapproval from within the increasing community of women doctors.

This work builds upon research already completed on women scientists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, resulting in the monograph The Comet Sweeper: Caroline Herschel's Astronomical Ambition (2007), and the British Society for the History of Science's Singer Prize winning article for 2005 on Mary Somerville.

Men in Nursing and the Victorian Gentle Man

Interested in professional and non-professional care in the nineteenth century, this project investigates masculine tactility through the long-occluded figure of the male nurse.

It draws upon a varied archive including conventionally literary texts, life writing, sanitation and public health debates, and material on the regulation and staffing of hospitals and lunatic asylums.

'Show Me the Bone': Fossils, Palaeontology and Prehistoric Creatures in Nineteenth-Century British and American Culture

This project examines the nineteenth-century fascination with the inductive methods which enabled palaeontologists to infer the existence of giant prehistoric creatures from just small fragments of their bones.

It explores how these seemingly miraculous feats were disseminated in print culture on both sides of the Atlantic, and aims to track how the burgeoning myth of reconstruction from a single bone continued to circulate in works of popular science, fiction, poetry and journalism long after the viability of the technique had been refuted by the rising school of Darwinian palaeontologists in the 1850s.

Importantly, these popular and literary versions of the myth are not dismissed as merely trivial and inconsequential, for their prevalence and persistence often obliged elite palaeontologists to curtail their research and instead to undertake their own popularizing activities in order to counter them.

As such, they afford a particularly telling instance of how the non-scientific public played a highly significant but still rarely recognized role in shaping science in the nineteenth century, as well as raising caveats concerning the so-called Darwinian Revolution.

Reading, Newsgathering and Science in Samuel Pepys's Circle

As part of work on reading behaviour in the late seventeenth century, this project takes in the reception and circulation of scientific works in print and manuscript.

As an early member (and subsequently a president) of the Royal Society, Pepys sought to keep himself informed about scientific developments and the latest technologies, particularly those relating to seamanship. His personal circumstances also led to a keen interest in medical works and devices. The project explores Pepys’s reading material in the context of the social and business networks which helped him to obtain and interpret these works.

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Collaborative Projects

Bibliographical Analysis of Medieval Paper Manuscripts of the West Midlands

Funded by The Bibliographical Society, this project investigated the use of paper in the early medieval period and its revolutionary impact on the medieval books containing literature.

The Leicester Chapbook Project

The Leicester Chapbook Project was a venture between the School of English and the Centre for Urban History. Chapbooks are small, cheap works that were sold by chapmen and other traders. In the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries this literature was familiar to a very wide range of social groups and provided common cultural reference points for readers.

The first stage of the project, consisting of a survey of several chapbook collections, was funded by the Bibliographical Society in 2009.

Currently involved are Dr Kate Loveman (English), Professor Roey Sweet (Urban History) and Dr John Hinks (Urban History). A PhD student, Gervase French, is working on eighteenth-century chapbooks under a scholarship awarded as part of the project.

The Sublime Object

Professor Shaw was co-investigator on an inter-disciplinary project with Tate Britain, entitled The Sublime Object. Drawing together a wide range of individuals under the umbrella of Tate's collection, the aim of this project was to debate and collaborate on a series of interrelated events and research activities focused on the role of the sublime in our perceptions of the natural world.


  • 'Late at Tate', February 2009
  • 'The Sublime in Crisis? New Perspectives on the Sublime in British Visual Culture 1760–1900', September 2009
  • ''Wrong from the Start': Modernism and the Sublime', November 2009

Victoria and Albert, Art and Love

This major exhibition is the first ever to focus on the unique partnership of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their shared enthusiasm for art. Victoria & Albert: Art & Love focuses on the period of Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert, from the time of their engagement in 1839 to the Prince’s untimely death in 1861. The exhibition also challenges the popular image of Queen Victoria – the melancholy widow of 40 years. Through 400 works from across the entire Royal Collection, including paintings, drawings, photographs, jewellery and sculpture, Victoria emerges as a romantic and open-minded young woman.

Dickens Day

Holly Furneaux is involved, with Birkbeck and the Dickens Fellowship in organising an annual Dickens Day.

She is also on the events committee at the Charles Dickens Museum, and has been involved in organising a range of events from public lectures to cribbage evenings.

The #Tagginganna Project

The #Tagginganna Project, which is supported by University of Leicester Teaching Enhancement Funding, was an investigation of social commentary on online texts as a support to learning about print narrative fictions. We worked with two platforms, one open ( and one proprietary (a collaboration with Birmingham City University).

The project had three broad goals:

  • Test the affordance of technologies
  • Develop learning opportunities
  • Reflect on research methodologies in the field of innovative pedagogy

The #Tagginganna project was directed by Mark Rawlinson, Stuart Johnson and Alex Moseley.

Contemporary Women's Writing Association

Emma Parker is a founding member of the Contemporary Women's Writing Network, which has recently become the international Contemporary Women's Writing Association, an organisation that promotes contemporary women's writing through its website, journal and regular conferences and networking events. She is currently researching representations of pregnant men.

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