My research focuses on literary geographies: the ways in which creative writers (primarily poets) think geographically; and the ways in which contemporary theoretical thinking on space, place and landscape can inform critical practices. These interwoven interests are reflected in my role as a founding co-editor of the new international, open access journal, Literary Geographies
): a journal for which I am also currently serving as Book Review Editor. In April 2014, I also hosted a symposium – funded by the Higher Education Academy – dedicated to 'Teaching Landscape Writing: Interdisciplinary Approaches & Innovations' which was held at MMU Cheshire.
To date, much of my own research has used the multi-layered cultural geography of the Lake District, and its difficult-to-define edgelands, as grounds on which to test out theoretical ideas and interdisciplinary approaches. This work on the literature of space, place and landscape is situated in three, frequently intersecting fields of interest: post-war/contemporary British and Irish landscape writing (with a particular focus on poetry); literary cartography and digital mapping; and, increasingly, the relationship between critical and creative practices.
Post-war/contemporary British and Irish landscape writing
I am presently working on a critical monograph, Lake District Literary Geographies
, which explores the relationship between post-war literary representations of this culturally over-determined landscape and various strands of contemporary geographical thought. With Neal Alexander (Aberystwyth University), I co-edited Poetry & Geography: Space & Place in Post-war Poetry
(Liverpool University Press, 2013); and I have published several journal articles on the landscape writing of the twentieth-century Cumbrian poet, Norman Nicholson. I am also drawing upon my interest in post-war/contemporary literature in the 'Literary Geographies of Testimony': a three-year collaborative project co-ordinated by Sheila Hones (University of Tokyo) and funded by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research programme administered by the Japanese government.
(Digital) Literary Cartography
I have also published extensively in the emerging field of digital literary cartography; and, in collaboration with Ian Gregory (Lancaster University), I have particularly tested the possibilities and problems associated with the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology for mapping out literary texts. In addition to a series of journal articles, I am co-editing – with Christopher Donaldson (University of Birmingham) and Patricia Murrieta-Flores (University of Chester) – Literary Mapping in the Digital Age
for Ashgate's 'Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities' series.
Critical and Creative Practices
Thirdly, I have become increasingly preoccupied with the synergies – and tensions – between critical and creative approaches to landscape, space and place. I have begun to examine the relationship between criticality and creativity in some of my research on literary geographies. Alongside this, I have contributed a critical-creative chapter to Mount London
: a book which brings together 'writers, poets and urban cartographers' to explore the verticality of the city.
Lake District Literary Geographies: Mapping the Post-Romantic Spatial Imagination (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, forthcoming)
Literary Mapping in the Digital Age, ed. by David Cooper, Christopher Donaldson & Patricia Murrieta-Flores (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015)
Poetry & Geography: Space & Place in Post-war Poetry, ed. by Neal Alexander & David Cooper (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013)
Journal Articles & Book Chapters:
'Introduction: Digital Literary Geographies' (with Christopher Donaldson & Patricia Murrieta-Flores), in Literary Mapping in the Digital Age (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015)
'"Setting the Globe to Spin": Digital Mapping and Contemporary Literary Culture', in Literary Mapping in the Digital Age (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015)
'Spatializing Digital Corpora: Texts, GIS, Places' (with Ian N. Gregory, Andrew Hardie and Paul Rayson), in Spatial Narratives and Deep Maps: Explorations in the Spatial Humanities, ed. by David J. Bodenhamer (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015).
'Crossing Boundaries: Using GIS in Literary Studies, History and Beyond' (with Ian Gregory, Alistair Baron, David Cooper, Andrew Hardie, Patricia Murrieta-Flores & Paul Rayson), Keys for Architectural History Research in the Digital Era (2014).
'Introduction: Poetic Geographies' (with Neal Alexander), in Poetry & Geography: Space & Place in Post-war Poetry, ed. by Neal Alexander and David Cooper (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013)
'Envisioning "the Cubist Fells": Ways of Seeing in the Poetry of Norman Nicholson', in Poetry & Geography: Space & Place in Post-war Poetry, ed. by Neal Alexander and David Cooper (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013)
'"The Post-Industrial Picturesque"?: Placing and Promoting Marginalized Millom', in The Making of a Cultural Landscape: The Lake District as a Tourist Destination, 1750-2010, ed. by John K. Walton and Jason Wood (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013)
'Geographical Technologies and the Interdisciplinary Study of Peoples and Cultures of the Past' (with Ian N. Gregory), Journal of Victorian Culture, 18, 2 (2013).
'Literary Cartography: Texts, Maps & a Coleridgean Notebook', in Mapping Culture(s): Place, Practice and Performance, ed. by Les Roberts (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
'The Processual Intertextuality of Literary Cartographies: Critical and Digital Practices' (with Gary Priestnall), The Cartographic Journal, 48 (2011), 250-62
'Mapping the English Lake District: A Literary GIS' (with Ian N. Gregory), Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 36 (2011), 89-108. The article was republished in August 2011 in 'The Geographical Imagination': a special 'virtual issue' of Transactions, edited by Stephen Daniels, featuring thirteen 'landmark papers' published in the journal between 1955 and 2011
'GIS, Texts & Images' (with Ian N. Gregory), The Poetess Archive, 2 (2010)
'Thomas Gray, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Geographical Information Systems: A Literary GIS of Two Lake District Tours (with Ian N. Gregory), International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, 3 (2009), 61-84
'"Matter Matters": Topographical and Theological Space in the Poetry of Norman Nicholson', Yearbook of English Studies, 39 (2009), 169-85
'The Poetics of Place and Space: Wordsworth, Norman Nicholson and the Lake District', Literature Compass, 5 (2008), 807-21
'Telegraph Hill', in Mount London: Ascents in the Vertical City, ed. by Tom Chivers and Martin Kratz (London: Penned in the Margins, 2014)
'Walking, Witnessing, Mapping: An Interview with Iain Sinclair' (with Les Roberts), in Mapping Culture(s): Place, Practice and Performance, ed. by Les Roberts (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
'"Resting Restlessly": Placing Nicholson's Poetry', in Outside the Glass: Perspectives on Norman Nicholson (Carlisle: University of Cumbria, 2008). [Booklet published to accompany exhibition held at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, and Alexandra Gallery, Lancaster.]
'Planning Live Events', Living Writers in the Curriculum: A Good Practice Guide, ed. by Vicki Bertram and Andrew Maunder (London: The English Subject Centre, 2005), 16-20
2007-9: 'Mapping the Lakes: A Literary GIS'. PI: Professor Ian Gregory, Lancaster University. Funder: British Academy.
2009-10: 'Landscape, memories and cultural practices: a GIS/GPS digital heritage mapping network'. Co-ordinator: Dr Julia Hallam, University of Liverpool. Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council.
2012 - 16: 'Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Places'. PI: Professor Ian Gregory, Lancaster University. Funder: European Research Council.
2014: 'Teaching Landscape Writing: Interdisciplinary Approaches & Innovations'. Funder: Higher Education Academy.
2014-17: 'Literary Geographies of Testimony'. PI: Sheila Hones (University of Tokyo). Funder: Japanese government.