Photo by Tru Katsande
My research forms part of my practice as a producer. I was an evaluator for Nottingham Community Artist Network's inaugural project, 'I come from', a series of poetry workshops conducted in lockdown over Zoom. With my research partner Dr Frances Howard, a Nottingham CAN board member, evaluator for the project, and researcher at Nottingham Trent, I have written an academic article about the ways online workshops might provide ways to enhance inclusion in poetry settings. This research has helped me to inform the way we use online workshops in hybrid models after the pandemic to enhance engagement and participation in particular groups.
I have two research degrees in English Literature from Nottingham Trent University. I completed my Masters by Research degree in 2015 and my PhD in 2020. Entitled 'Refiguring Class: The Precariat in Contemporary Writing about Britain', my PhD was about class fiction between the financial crisis and Brexit. I argued against the prevailing concept of class fiction as novels about white, northern people in deindustrialised communities, and argued that a new fiction about class experience was emerging in writing about Britain after the financial crisis. Through Guy Standing's concept of the precariat, I analysed novels from John Lanchester's Capital (2012) through to Ali Smith's Spring (2019) through three character types of the 'precariat': the millennial; the refugee and asylum seeker; and the 'traditional' working class. I bracketed the thesis by examining the transition from the 'classless society' and the concept of time and the 'ongoing present.' The coda looked at the future of class fiction in Britain after Brexit. My MRes was about the representation of chavs in contemporary British fiction, and it explored deindustrialisation, consumer culture, and gender.
During my doctoral studies, I fundraised over £100,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to deliver several projects. I raised over £50,000 for costs to undertake my PhD, a grant 1 in 10 applicants successfully obtain, and a further £50,000 to deliver Journey to Justice: Nottingham, Movements, and international research trips.