English at Brunel has one of the strongest research profiles in the United Kingdom in the field of contemporary writing. The Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing (BCCW) facilitates, promotes and disseminates cutting-edge creative, critical and socially-engaged work within English Studies and affiliated fields. Reflecting the changes that are taking place in the way that Arts and Humanities research is conducted and funded, BCCW research projects and events are designed to produce published outcomes and to maximize both their socio-cultural and academic impact. An example of this approach is the ongoing Contemporary British Fiction Decades Seminar Series and associated book series (under contract with Continuum). At the same time, the BCCW has responded radically to new conditions by expanding its range beyond conventional literary study since 2009 by pursuing a five-year Socio-Cultural Narrative Research Initiative that is designed to combine literary techniques with qualitative social research and thereby reunite intellectual enquiry with everyday life. Its position at the forefront of this new style of innovative socio-cultural research is demonstrated by the NDA-funded Fiction and the Cultural Mediation of Ageing Project (FCMAP) and its hosting of the Narrative Lives Seminar Series.
The BCCW also hosts major international conferences such as the annual conference of the International Association of Philosophy and Literature in June 2009, the annual Literary London Conference in July 2008 and the B S Johnson Conference in October 2009 (held in conjunction with the British Library and funded by Sotheby’s): see the Past BCCW Events page for further details. The Inaugural London Intermodernism Seminar was also hosted on 13 May 2011. BCCW staff teach on the following popular MAs: MA in Contemporary Literature and Culture and MA in Creative Writing: The Novel. All staff welcome informal queries as regards MPhil/PhD study/applications.
The BCCW brings together the many research interests of its staff in order to:
- Facilitate the production of high quality research that is recognized as being of national and international significance
- Pioneer innovative forms of socio-cultural research with a literary or narrative context
- Promote the development of research networks between the Centre and external partners
- Create an environment which strengthens and supports postgraduate students
- Where possible, facilitate wider public involvement in academic research
Research in the BCCW is organized around five key areas of contemporary writing:
- Creative writing and practice-based research
- Contemporary prose
- Poetry and poetics
- Popular genres and fictions
- Postcolonial literatures and theory
We do not see these as discrete units but rather as mutually informing areas of interest out of which new and exciting research can develop. The Centre’s research programme converges on the interface between critical and creative writing and theory which distinguishes English at Brunel, and it seeks to dismantle the boundaries between critical and creative thought.
Creative Writing within the BCCW aims to achieve two distinct research outcomes: (1) a strong ongoing record of publication across the spectrum of genres including fiction, poetry, drama and screenplay; (2) a research emphasis on the role of Creative Writing in other sectors of education and in the community at large both in the UK and elsewhere, which may include projects with those with limited experience of HE and who have not previously published creative work.
As well as applying for funding for academic research and projects, the BCCW undertakes applied and interdisciplinary research, and also seeks financial support specifically to work with communities outside of the university sector.
The BCCW hosts the following:
- South Asian Diaspora Literature Literature and Arts Archive (SALIDAA)
- Archive of the Now
- John Burnett Archive of Working-Class Autobiographies
Research Seminars and Public Readings
- Writers Talking
- Research seminars