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English and Creative Writing – Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) PhD Studentship

PGRs working on English language and literature projects are normally housed in the Department of English and Creative Arts.

In REF2021, the results for English scored 75% of outputs as internationally excellent or world leading, and that quality is manifest not only in teaching but also in collaborations with external partners through events, exhibitions, performances, and readings. We are keen to develop that public-facing work further and build on active partnerships with a range of cultural organisations, including the Atkinson Gallery, Southport, Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool and Shakespeare North Playhouse. Research in English embraces creative writing and practice, linguistics, and literary studies, as well as broader cultural fields. Our research interests include adaptation studies, bilingualism, child language development, children’s literature, corpus and historical linguistics, creative-critical writing, language change, language learning, language contact, literary fiction, modern and contemporary literature, nineteenth-century studies, poetry and poetics, science fiction and fantasy, theatre writing and practice, and women’s writing.

The department is home to:

We also work closely with:

The department hosts a range of events including the annual Critical Studies in Television Conference, the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, ICR Conference, a biannual Human Animal Studies Conference, and the annual Symposium on Corpus Approaches to Lexicogrammar, and we have research seminar series that run each semester. GTAs are encouraged to join one of the research groups or centres and there are opportunities throughout the year to get involved with our conferences and seminar series. Postgraduate researchers are supervised by experienced academics, and we have an excellent record of GTAs securing academic positions after completing their PhDs.

The University particularly welcomes applications for studentships in the project areas outlined below. All postgraduate researchers will be supported by a supervisory team with appropriate expertise. Also, see the University’s research repository for further information on the research outputs of each member of staff.

“As a PhD student, an important part of your journey is your relationship with your supervisors. It can make or mar you. It can inspire you or make you anxious for the rest of your journey.

I have been blessed with an amazing supervisory team who have been consistent in guiding, encouraging, supporting and directing me at every step of the way. They make my student experience enjoyable.

I am proud to say that they have given me wings to fly. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, and I am thankful to each of them for their kindness and support.”

Aniekan Ekpenyong – PhD Postgraduate Researcher


In the first instance please direct all enquiries about proposed projects on topics related to English language, literature and creative writing to Dr Andrew McInnes, Graduate School research degree contact for English, by emailing [email protected] stating the specific research theme/s of interest from the research themes list.

Research themes

Centre for Human Animal Studies

  • Animals in literature, media, film and/or television.
  • Animal performance, animal stars, animal celebrity.
  • Multispecies storytelling.
  • Climate change in literature, language, and creative writing.

Corpus Research Group

  • Corpus approaches to theoretical and applied linguistics.
  • Corpus compilation.
  • Corpus tools.
  • Corpus-based methodology (annotation, statistics, metrics).
  • Corpus-based studies on grammar, lexicogrammar, or discourse (particularly media discourses).
  • Digital language practices.

Culture, Power and Inclusion Research Group

  • Politics of popular culture.
  • Media and diaspora/migration.
  • Arts, health and wellbeing.
  • Activism and political communication.
  • Social media and marginalised groups.
  • Applied theatre: comparative perspectives.
  • Postcolonial theatres.
  • Theatre and changing concepts of the public.

EHU Nineteen

  • Romantic Studies including women’s writing, gothic fiction, and children’s literature.
  • Nineteenth Century Studies, including gender theory, popular culture, and reception studies.
  • Neo-Victorianism and other adaptations of the long nineteenth century from the period itself to the present day.
  • Nineteenth-century animal welfare, antivivisection, activism.
  • Animals, sentiment and/or anthropomorphism in nineteenth century culture.

Television Studies Research Group

  • Contemporary television genres and textual analysis.
  • Transnationalism, regionalism and localism.
  • Comedy.
  • Masculinities.
  • Serial drama.

Linguistic studies

  • English historical linguistics – especially discourse-based, sociolinguistic, historical pragmatic and corpus-based approaches.
  • The relationship between speech and writing. 
  • Forensic linguistics, e.g. linguistic profiling or the history of legal language.
  • Social interaction and the importance of play, creativity and music.
  • Music, songs and singing in language learning and teaching.
  • Bilingualism, L2 English learners and foreign language learning.
  • Language contact, description, endangerment and documentation.
  • Linguistic typology.

Narrative Research Group

  • Fiction in both short and long form.
  • Practice and theory of fiction writing.

Practice Research Group

  • Practice-based research including theatre, performance, and other creative activities.

International Centre on Racism

  • Race representation in literature and popular culture.

Researchers in English and Creative Writing are also interested in supervising projects focusing on literature, language, and creative writing and practice falling under Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing‘s remit, for example:

  • Research on performance.
  • Mental health.
  • Wellbeing for artists and audiences.
  • Community and workplace projects.