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Spencer Jordan

Associate Professor in Creative Writing, Faculty of Arts



ORCID iD 0000-0003-1315-6584.

Spencer is Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and has been Head of the Drama & Creative Writing section, and programme director for BA English with Creative Writing. He is part of the leadership team for the Faculty of Art's Creative & Digital Research Cluster and is a Fellow of Advance HE.

Postdigital Storytelling: Poetics, Praxis, Research was published in 2019, while his novel, Journeys in the Dead Season, was published by Macmillan in 2005. His forthcoming monograph, Metamodernism and the Postdigital in the Contemporary Novel, will be published in late 2024 by Bloomsbury in their Digital Cultures series.

He is co-investigator on the project, 'Creating a Dynamic Archive of Responsible Ecosystems in the context of Creative AI' (February-July 2024). The project is part of the AHRC's BRAID programme which is looking to integrate Arts, Humanities and Social Science research more fully into the development of Responsible AI ecosystems.

Spencer completed his PhD in 1999 at the University of the West of England, Bristol, (UWE). The research entailed a detailed prosopographical analysis of Bristolian political and economic elites between 1835 and 1939 (externally supervised by Professor Sir Rick Trainor and Professor Sir David Cannadine). It included a detailed analysis of Edward Colston and his veneration in the nineteenth-century. A pre-publication copy of 'The Myth of Edward Colston' is available for download here.

Before that Dr Jordan completed his MA thesis in 1993 at the Institute of Historical Studies, University of College London, before moving to UWE as a research associate on the Bristol Historical Databases Project. In 1999 Dr Jordan gained a postgraduate teaching qualification at the University of Keele; subsequently he was employed at UWE as Senior Co-ordinator for E-Learning before moving to the Department of Humanities at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Spencer has taught creative writing at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. At Cardiff Metropolitan University he was Programme Director for the MA Humanities programmes; he was also the School's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Co-ordinator.



Expertise Summary

Spencer's expertise includes creative writing (the novel and the short story); historical and experimental writing; the creative economy; and the digital creative / digital humanities nexus. Particular areas of interest within these themes include digital/hypertext, postdigital and immersive fiction; literary geography and digital heritage.

Outreach and Public Engagement

Recent outreach activities include: guest speaker on the New Media in Contemporary Culture Series, Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw ('Metamodernism and the Postdigital Condition', June 2022); keynote speaker at 'From Wulfstan to Colston: Book launch and panel discussion' at M Shed, Bristol (2021); 'Lace2Place: An Immersive / VR Sprint in Nottingham's Lace Market' (2019) and 'Nottingham Pasts and Presents: A Heritage and Smart Data Immersive Experience' with Nottingham City Council (2020/21). In November 2017 Spencer led 'Your first digital story' workshop for the Being Human Festive at the National Videogame Arcade. In March 2017 Spencer was involved with The Writers' Conference in association with Writing East Midlands, hosted by the School of English. On 31st October 2015 he led a Gothic workshop 'Cloaked in Ink' as part of Sheffield's Off the Shelf literary festival. More generally, Spencer has hosted creative writing workshops in a number of locations, including Glamorganshire Record Office; he has led psychogeographical derives across Cardiff, following the lost route of the Glamorganshire Canal; and he chaired the English-language Panel for the 2012 Wales Book of the Year Award.

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate Modules: Creative Writing Practice; Advanced Writing Practice; Digital Story: Craft & Technique

Postgraduate Modules: Learning to Read: Criticism for Creative Writers; Writing Workshop: Fiction; Practice and Practitioners

Check out the video of the Book Sprint which took place in November 2015 - 10 students, 3 days, one book

Research Summary

I am particularly interested in the way creative writing can be understood as a form of affective intervention in response to critical social and cultural issues. This research focus is inherently… read more

Recent Publications

I would be willing to consider PhD supervision in the following areas: fiction (novel and short story); digital and experimental texts; historical fiction; literary geography and psychogeography.

I'm currently co-supervising the following Creative Writing PhDs:

  • Andrea Bowd, 'A Manuscript of Poetry: A Collection of Poems Created to Reflect the Specificity of Space and Place';
  • Bryony Taylor 'Nature's Female Form: Representations of the Female Body and Nature in the Contemporary Female Gothic and EcoGothic';
  • Karen Packwood 'Landscapes of Belonging: Representing Trauma and Post-Abuse Identity Reclamation';
  • Kylie Shannon, '"A Union in Name Only": Images of Irishness in Early Nineteenth Century Anglo-Irish Works'; and
  • Joseph Rodgers, 'I Am A Closed Book: Alterity and Meta-Modernism in 2010s Autofiction'.

Recent completions include Emma Wisher, James Aitcheson, Steven Justice and Oscar Delgado.

Current Research

I am particularly interested in the way creative writing can be understood as a form of affective intervention in response to critical social and cultural issues. This research focus is inherently transdisciplinary and practice-based, embracing a range of disciplines, including archaeology, history, literature and linguistics. For example, my chapter 'Digital Storytelling and Performative Memory' examines the way digitally-mediated place writing can be used at the individual and community level to engage with the historical legacies of colonialism, offering new forms of performative mapping. And my chapter 'Creative Facticity and Hyper-Archaeology' makes a case for innovative forms of historicised place writing (what I term psychogeography 2.0) in which the concept of an embodied 'performative presence' remains paramount to how the archaeological record is socially constructed.

Underpinning all this research, however, is my evolving concept of postdigitality as a fundamental characteristic of twenty-first century creativity, a thesis I explore in my monograph, Postdigital Storytelling: Poetics, Praxis, Research (2019). The book makes two critical claims: first, that this new creative paradigm reflects the emerging poetics of a postdigital condition that is inherently transmedial and hybridic, and in which the digital and the non-digital domains are increasingly entangled. And second, that this new creative modality is itself a fundamental feature of far broader ontological shifts, a movement from postmodernity to what I term metamodernism. As I argue in the book, affective storytelling has never been so vital or important to our continued existence as an Earth-bound species.

See my blog post ''Yet I Alive!': Covid-19 and the future of the novel'.

Current Grant/Award Capture:

'Creating a Dynamic Archive of Responsible Ecosystems in the context of Creative AI' Co-I, UKRI (AHRC) BRAID, £214,160 (February-July 2024)

'Immersive storytelling and the Theatre Royal'. Digital Nottingham 'City as Lab' fund, £5,000 (October 2022-March 2023).

Faculty of Arts Research Fellowship (internal), February - July 2023.

'Immersive Hub: Live Experiential and Digital Diversification, Nottingham' (LEADD:NG)' ERDF, £220,000 (co-i) (2021-23).

'Future of the high street augmenter project in partnership with Nottingham City Council' QR Strategic Priorities Fund, £15,304 (January - April 2021).

Faculty PVC Funded Research Leave August 2020 - February 2021. 'Nottingham Pasts and Presents: A Heritage and Smart Data Immersive Experience' (with Nottingham City Council).

'Building Resilience: Exploring the Interdisciplinary Potential of Resilience' RPA-funded £5,000 (May 2019). Partner: Rachel Jacobs, Active Ingredient (artist-led collective).

'Lace2Place: An Immersive / VR Sprint in Nottingham's Lace Market' RPA-funded project £14,763 (November 2018- February 2019).

Past Research

Past Grant Capture

'Trauma: Immersive Storytelling' (AHRC Immersive Experiences Call, October 2017). PI Dr Spencer Jordan. Not funded but rated 4 (excellent)

Telling stories of trauma: Dealing with PTSD through narrative £30,000 (March 2017) Internal research project led by Dr Nigel Hunt.

Sprinting to the Open FuTure (SOFT) Project, University of Nottingham (November 2015) Funded through the AHRC The Academic Book of the Future programme. A University of Nottingham collaboration between publishers, researchers and librarians. Events included the Book Sprint and 'Sprinting into the Open Future' panel discussion.

People's Journeys / Teithiau Pobl (November 2014) A community is built of stories. People's Journeys / Teithiau Pobl is a CEWN funded project, led by Dr Spencer Jordan with Dr Gareth Loudon. The project seeks to explore the intersection between storytelling and cityspace, what de Certeau terms "a space of enunciation". People's Journeys / Teithiau Pobl explores how a location-based app can open up and sustain a "space of enunciation" for a community of users, allowing them to re-engage with their own sense of "home" and "belonging".

Waterways and Walkways (July 2013) In July 2013 the Waterways and Walkways team (Dr Kate Watson, Dr Spencer Jordan and Dr Mike Reddy) led a digitally-mediated dérive across Cardiff, following the now defunct (and largely disappeared) course of the Glamorganshire Canal. It involved traversing a variety of terrains, including St David's shopping centre and Butetown, before finishing at the site of the Canal's Sea Lock, beneath the A4232 flyover. In total there were 25 participants from all walks of life, from young children to the retired. The project was nominated for the Canal and River Trust's 2014 Living Waterways awards.

Technology Enhanced Learning to Support a Welsh Centre for Workforce Development (2009) Lead Bid Writer & Project Consultant, £177,000 (JISC).

E-Assessment in Wales (2007) Lead Bid Writer & Project Manager, £95,000 (JISC).

The Potential of Portals in Education (2004) Lead Bid Writer & Project Manager, £10,000 Funding (JISC).

Recent Conference Papers

Jordan, S. (June 2022) 'Metamodernism and the Postdigital Condition' New Media in Contemporary Culture Series, Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw. [Guest Speaker]

Jordan, S. (June 2021) ''To Keep his Memory Green': The reinvention of Edward Colston in the late 19th Century' From Wulfstan to Colston: Book launch and panel discussion. M Shed, Bristol.

Jordan, S. (May 2019) 'Lace2Place - A VR Sprint of Nottingham's Lace Market' Supporting and Creating: arts practice and arts research, University of Nottingham (Creative and Digital RPA).

Jordan, S. (Sept 2018) 'The Lifespan of the Digital Text' Bodleian Libraries' Centre for Digital Scholarship, University of Oxford.

Jordan, S. (June 2018) 'Digital Narratives as Psychogeography: the Spatial and Performative Textualities of Life-Writing' at Biography and Public History: Constructing Historical Narratives through LifeWriting, University Of Nottingham

Jordan, S. (January 2017) 'Creative Facticity and "Hyper-Archaeology": the Performative Textualities of Psychogeography' at Writing Remains: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Archaeology and Literature, University of Bristol.

Jordan, S. (2016) 'From space to place: creative writing and performative memory in the smart city' at Memory and Postcolonial Studies: Synergies and New Directions, Memory and Postcolonial Studies Symposium, University of Nottingham, June 10th.

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