Researching Authorship in the 21st-Century University


9 March was an exciting day in the life of the Hub. We invited researchers from across Lancaster University who work on questions related to authorship in the broadest sense to share their research ideas and questions with us. Topics, presented in 3-minute snapshot presentations, included copyright, creativity in practice and theory, reading and writing for wellbeing, cognition, language and text production or processing from across the University. The fields ranged from Medicine and Health Research through Law, History, Philosophy, Politics, Arts, Psychology to Computing and Digital Humanities, and of course English and Creative Writing.

The one-hour session took the rhythm of a quick-paced action movie as each presenter rose admirably to the task: every minute brought something new that circled around our central interest in authorship in exciting ways. With pitches ranging from Charlie Gere‘s antidisciplinarity to Shakespeare across cultures and languages with Liz Oakley-Brown and the Chinese puns as a form of resistance to power explored by Astrid Nordin, there was no sense of conference monotony for us! The presentations were followed by more informal chats over lunch.

Despite the obvious differences in methods, approaches, material, and questions, a set of core concepts have emerged that indicate emerging contact zones within an intriguing web of connections between the various interests. We have identified four for a start – with a little taster from the range of research presented:

Narrative dimensions: stories and storytelling through 3D modelling and sandplay to access one’s own experience in Amanda Bingley’s work in Health Research, or Claire Dean’s exploration of environmental storytelling and combining city spaces with digital technology to inspire narratives
Access: again, to one’s own experience, through reading as examined by Liz Brewster in bibliotherapy, or through language and creative writing as practiced by Zoe Lambert, who also problematizes how genre determines the access to readership
Processing: from the cognitive work involved in understanding language and metaphors, with Dermot Lynott’s work on embodied cognition in Psychology to the Digital Humanities approach to analysing large corpora to better understand literary geography and the relationship between landscape and literature with Ian Gregory and Jo Taylor
Modelling: lives and behaviours, as Sam Clark from Philosophy suggests autobiographies might do in serving ethical purposes by accounting for transformative life experiences; stories, worlds, and expressions in fan fiction, an emerging area of investigation in Law, addressed by Catherine Easton; or literature taking models from advertising and vice versa, explored by James Taylor in History.

Click here to download the slide show with the presentations.

We will be following up with a second, related event in the summer term. Please do email us at if you would like to get involved!


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