The hub's research is centred around four major themes:
- Environmental Humanities
Engaging with pressing environmental questions is at the heart of the Hub's activity, as well as exploring the long history of literary interest in the topic. Our research interests include communicating climate crisis (Hannah Little; Sam Solnick); historical conceptions of ecology (Gillian Rudd, Liam Lewis) and weather (Georgina Endfield); Alternative Arctics (Daniel Abdalla’s project about marginalised figures in the exploration of the polar north); and Energy Humanities – particularly the past, present and future of Solar and Oil (Greg Lynall; Solnick).
The hub has strong track records in the emergent, interdisciplinary field of Environmental Humanities; as well as in environmental public engagement and impact projects including our award nominated schools climate-education programme and the Tempest Historical Weather Database.
- Decolonizing Literature and Science
Our work addresses how the legacies of colonialism shape both literature and science. Abdalla's current monograph traces the role of evolution in African-American literature; Loh is working with English Heritage on Decolonising English Heritage properties through transnational creative practice to address intergenerational trauma stemming from transatlantic slavery and racism; Lynall has published on science and colonialism in the eighteenth century; and Solnick's new research deals with environmental justice in the "plantationocene", particularly in relation to the commodity histories of Liverpool.
- Health and Medicine
The relation between literature, health and medicine is an emergent area for the research centre, and is central to our impact and outreach activities. We have collaborated with the NHS on several initiatives including on the Life Rooms, a project run by Mersey Care NHS Trust and Everyman & Playhouse Theatres which uses arts-based activities to support wellbeing, mental health and recovery. Additionally, Loh manages a number of wellbeing and literature projects. As part of the faculty's collaboration with NHS R&D North West, she is preparing a pilot project to work with acute pain physiotherapists, again using literature as a platform to allow patient and clinicians a 'third space' to discuss pain.
- Interdisciplinarity and the Frontiers of Knowledge
Much of our work is interested in the boundaries of literature and its relationship to other disciplines, with a particular focus on the relationship between science and other forms of knowledge. We also work closely with the Olaf Stapledon Centre for Speculative Futures and the Centre for Health, Medical and Environmental Humanities.