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The Department of English in UCC sustains a rich and productive research culture and was recognised as excellent in the last institutional Research Quality Review. Research Quality Review Panel N Report

Across the Department, researchers investigate the ways in which meaning is embedded in form and shaped by historical, cultural and political contexts. The Department is active in close and engaged analyses of texts across the full range of English as a subject and beyond, from Old English through to twenty-first century literature, creative writing, and digital media. The Department offers PhD training in all these areas. The Department is also committed to enriching cultural and intellectual life, nationally and locally, through our research-based public engagement activities.


Research Strategy

Research in the Department is divided across chronological periods but united by shared interests in areas of theoretical inquiry such as gender and sexuality, postcolonialism, poststructuralist theory, cultural history and transnationalism. A strong tradition of high quality individual research continues in the Department; alongside dynamic interconnections in such areas as Irish Studies, book history, Digital Humanities and transnationalism. The research environment benefits from these separate and intensive initiatives, and focuses on two main strands, each of which crosses periods and cultures and is sustained via conferences, research seminars and graduate education, as well as staff publications. These strengths underpin and sustain the excellent, research-led teaching that we offer to our undergraduate and postgraduate students.


Literature and Place

There is a nexus of research expertise in the Department that relates to the culture, history and theory of space and place. Instances include research into regional, national and transnational identities; postcolonial theory; transoceanic and transatlantic literatures and cultures; eco-criticism; creative writing; the short story; theories of space and place.


Literature and the Past

Research in the Department currently represents the main periods of literature across its centuries of development. The fullness of our coverage animates a distinct and successful strand of Department research into the transmission and transformation of cultural texts across time, and is very important in defining our identity in national and international terms. The Department has strong theoretical interests in such issues as historiography; cultural history; materiality; reception, influence and intertextuality; mediation; and adaptation; while research in creative writing includes historical fiction and memoir.


Additionally, the Department has distinctive constellations of activity in Creative Writing and a growing presence in Digital Humanities.

Research strategy is organised through the Department’s Research Committee, chaired by the Department Research Officer, Dr Clíona Ó Gallchoir.

Research Impact

Research impact measures the diverse ways in which the Department's research impacts the wider cultural arena, as well as how it influences academic debates, social and political policy, and the community at large



Deep Maps - Impact

Deep Maps responds to needs emerging from both humanities and STEM research: in the case of the former, the environmental humanities have posed urgent questions about the scope and scale of human interactions with the environment as represented in literature and other texts; while in the case of marine biology, scientists are increasingly aware of the need to deepen and enrich their understanding of coastal environments via a more nuanced sense of the histories and cultures of these storied places. This transdisciplinary approach draws upon:

- A scientific literature review;

- Workshops with community stakeholders;

- Sketches, photographs, poems, newspapers, letters and other historical artefacts; and

- Collection and analysis of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data.

The project uses digital media to visualise and connect different kinds of knowledge about the coastline, and establishes dialogue with diverse audiences. This includes: 

- A weekly blog series which has reached audiences in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Russia, Canada, Germany, France and Italy.

- Integrated social media campaigns via Facebook, Twitter, Storify and Instagram;

- An open access Deep Maps website, incorporating interactive story maps, timelines and apps; and

- An exhibition within the Glucksman Gallery on the UCC campus, from August to November 2017, which garners public feedback by taking visitors on a journey from traditional cartography through objects of cultural value and scientific inquiry. One of the risks associated with any digital project is the rapidly-changing digital environment. With longevity in mind, the Deep Maps team worked with UCC Library’s Research and Digital Services to develop a records management strategy that draws upon best practice guidelines from the Digital Repository of Ireland. Deep Maps assets are provided in preservation-friendly formats so that the research remains readily accessible.


Other engagement includes:

- Artwork, storytelling and surveys with primary Department students and teachers at Coomhola National Department, Bantry; Rath National Department, Baltimore; and the Educate Together National Department, Cork City; 

- Academic presentations in Dingle, Co. Kerry; Cardiff, Wales; Sesimbra, Portugal; South Bend, Indiana, United States; Cork City, Co. Cork; and other locations; 

- New collaborations with Skibbereen Heritage Centre; West Cork College; St Peter’s Church; Cork Nature Network; and others; 

- Development and use of novel transdisciplinary research techniques that bridge arts, humanities, science and technology; 

- Exchange of public tacit knowledge and resources through ongoing engagement, public events and open access repositories; 

- Stimulation of public discourse on biodiversity, conservation, climate change, fisheries, aquaculture, pollution, policy and legislation; and 

- Funding to support five Research Assistants and one Postdoctoral Researcher.

For more information, see

English Department

Roinn an Bhéarla

O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Cork. Ireland