School of English

The Year of Reading and the School of English


Nottingham City Council declared 2011 the Year of Reading and The University of Nottingham and the School of English were proud partners in this venture. 

Not only did we continue to expand our work as part of the Schools Literacy Support Project and the ‘Get Into Reading’ scheme, we ran events took in relation to the ‘Accessing the Medieval’ project, our Creative Writing programmes, and our partnership work with the Lakeside Theatre.

Professor Julie Sanders 

Head of School

Get into Reading

The School of English took part in a 'Get into Reading' project in the Bilborough area of Nottingham to support literacy in the community.

Schools Literacy Support Project

The School of English supports a Schools Literacy Support Project and gives current undergraduate students the opportunity to volunteer in Nottingham schools to improve the literacy levels of local children who are not achieving the minimum national standards.

Student volunteers are achieving fantastic results through their encouragement and enthusiastic support for this scheme and volunteer to work in local schools

Mayfest event for members of our community

Saturday, 7 May 2011
12.30 to 5.00 pm

On 7 May 2011, Mayfest took place on University Park Campus, where members of the public could find out about the work the School of English does with local communities. We ran sessions on Nottingham writers including D. H. Lawrence, worked with school age children to promote the fun and engaging aspects of reading as a leisure activity, and collaborated with the Lakeside Arts Centre on drama projects. Younger visitors could take part in short sessions exploring life and literature in the Viking Age and they could even try some creative writing.

You can find out more about more recent Mayfests by visiting the Mayfest website

Student projects to support outreach

The School was keen to extend opportunities for final year undergraduate students to pursue project-based dissertations on specific topics relating to language and literacy and to drama and performance in 2011-12.  

These topics built on the School’s engagement with local theatres and literacy projects and aimed to encourage students to think about applied research in an English Studies context from fresh angles of approach.

Students spent the first semester (October to January) completing the practical and observational work for the dissertation and the second semester (February to June) dedicated to the writing up and evaluation of their work with their nominated supervisor.

In 2011-12 the six topic areas available for study were:  

  • Creativity in Action: Analysing the process and performance of the 2011 Christmas Show for children: Red Riding Hood by Mike Kenny
  • Creativity in Action: Analysing the process and performance of a new play in a regional context
  • Reading between the lines: evaluating the School of English Literacy Support Project
  • Reading aloud for wellbeing: Designing and implementing literary materials for reading groups
  • Making Theatre with Children: Case Studies of the work of Nottingham Playhouse Roundabout  


There are many activities on campus if you are interested in the theatre, drama and performance. The School of English regularly organises a range of events for students and the local community and welcomes writers, directors and producers to the School for film screenings and poetry events.

Academic staff take part in local events, including Dr Jim Moran who regularly runs a books feature about regional writers on BBC Radio Nottingham's afternoon show, usually on the first Wednesday of each month at shortly after 2pm, to introduce listeners to some favourite novels, poems and

Find out more about the Mapping the Moment interactive map and research database that academic staff in the Schools of English and Geography (Dr Joanna Robinson and Dr Gary Priestnall) have developed to find out about how the spectators of performance in mid-nineteenth-century Nottingham moved on their way to the theatre, lecture rooms, or the town’s famous Goose Fair.

Do visit the student run theatre at The University of Nottingham. 
The New Theatre has been running since 1969 and is the first completely student-run theatre in the country. Current students stage up to 15 shows a semester and provide a platform for generations of talented performers, directors, make-up artists, lighting technicians etc. 

D. H. Lawrence

The School of English contributes heavily to the annual, month-long D. H. Lawrence Festival in Eastwood, Nottingham, which is organised each September by D. H. Lawrence Heritage. The Festival includes plenty of fun activities for families and children as well as reading groups and academic papers, all intended to increase awareness of D. H. Lawrence and the historical significance of the region’s rich mining heritage.

During the 2010 Festival, the School of English also ran a session on Lawrence at Eastwood Comprehensive School, which inspired pupils to perform scenes from – and inspired by – Lawrence’s novels and plays at the Gala Closing Night.

The School also edits the annual Journal of D. H. Lawrence Studies on behalf of the D. H. Lawrence Society in Eastwood. The Society meets on the second Wednesday of each month, at 7.15pm, in Eastwood Public Library to hear papers on Lawrence and local history. Non-members are welcome to attend. 

The School of English was pleased to welcome Billy Ivory, an Honorary Lecturer in the School of English, and BBC producer Mark Pybus, to talk about their BBC adaptation of Women in Love at a question and answer session on 17 March 2011.

Accessing the Medieval

Accessing the Medieval is a research series organised by the Institute for Medieval Research and the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections exploring the relationship between popular perceptions of the Middle Ages and academic research in the discipline.

Accessing the Medieval workshops are an opportunity to explore in more detail technical aspects of ‘writing medieval’, such as how to create convincing dialogue, how to decide how much context to include, how to evoke different belief systems, and how to convert academic papers into absorbing narratives. Each writer explores these and similar issues with a group of about 20 participants, through a variety of activities, including directed writing, discussion and reading.

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School of English

Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924