Facilities and Opportunities
The Department is located in the Hugh Owen Building, which also houses the main University library, the Hugh Owen Library. As well as an eclectic rare books collection and the Horton Collection (over 800 items relating to Eighteenth and Nineteenth century children’s literature), research at Aberystwyth is supported by extensive resources including access to a wide range of electronic materials.
The University is very fortunate to have the National Library of Wales– one of only five copyright libraries in the UK – located just five minutes walk from the campus. This is an exceptional resource for postgraduate study: the National Library holds roughly 6 million books as well as extensive collections of journals and newspapers - and the number is constantly growing. It has incomparable collections of primary texts, including the Hengwrt MS of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, an internationally prestigious collection of Welsh writing in English, and a vast stock of Renaissance, eighteenth-century, nineteenth-century, and twentieth-century literatures. In addition, it holds extensive historical archives – comprising personal papers of public figures and organisations, church records, census data, legal and municipal records, printed material, sound recordings and electronic records – which range in date from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The National Library’s manuscript collection is the biggest and most important collection of Welsh manuscripts in the world, although it also includes many historical items that have no connection to Wales. It houses close to a million photographs and over a million maps, from the latest electronic mapping to 16th century maps and charts on vellum. It is also home to the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, which contains a comprehensive collection of films, television programmes, videos, sound recordings and music: from news to history programmes, politics to soap operas, oral history to the latest music videos.
The department’s research centres act as a focus for its diverse research activities, supporting the development of innovative research projects and initiating a variety of high quality publications. Our staff publish in a wide range of fields within literary studies and in a variety of genres in creative writing; many of them are at the cutting edge of their disciplines or are pioneering new forms of transdisciplinary research. Postgraduate students are valued contributors to this research environment, and are warmly encouraged to get involved in its activities.
The David Jones Centre supports research on the history and impact of Modernism in Wales and, more broadly, on the creative interaction of word and image, the textual and the visual. The centre hosts an annual conference and a seminar programme, as well as seeking to promote the exciting possibilities for new research offered by the literary and artistic archives at the National Library of Wales.
ContemPo investigates contemporary poetics and poetry as part of a collaboration between Aberystwyth University, Bangor University and the University of Brighton. It aims to develop knowledge about contemporary poetic practices, about the interface between the word and the visual, and to examine differences in practice between experimental and traditional poetic forms. It hosts a regular series of videolink seminars and contemporary poetry workshops.
The Centre for Cultures of Place is a forum for interdisciplinary research on the cultural meanings of place. Our aim is to explore how such meanings are articulated or contested in all forms of cultural expression, including literature, drama, film, photography, painting, and performance. Equally, we investigate the specific kinds of experience and knowledge of places that culture affords. The Centre brings together scholars and practitioners in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to share ideas, collaborate, and develop new research initiatives. It runs a regular seminar series.
The Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) is part of a research and enterprise initiative between Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities. It was launched in 2006 and is a collaborative interdisciplinary research institute. IMEMS brings together researchers and postgraduate students from both Universities working in the fields of history, literature, music, theology and Celtic studies, in the period 500-1800.
Its core activities include a fortnightly video-link research seminar which is broadcast live across Wales. IMEMS organizes programmes of conferences, workshops and colloquia, which are attended by scholars from around the world. With its regular programmes of research seminars, student led workshops and postgraduate training sessions, IMEMS offers a supportive and stimulating context for postgraduate work in medieval and early modern studies.
Staff/Postgraduate Research Seminars
The department hosts a series of Research and Work-In-Progress seminars where academic staff, visiting speakers and postgraduates can share new and cutting-edge research and creative work. The Institute of Literature, Languages and Creative Arts offers additional research seminars which feature expert speakers exploring topics in related disciplines such as the visual arts, film and television studies, modern languages, and Celtic studies.
Each year a team of postgraduates from across the Department’s PhD and MA schemes host a Conference or Literary Festival on a theme of their choice, with guidance and financial support from the Department. These annual events draw together postgraduates, academics and writers from across the UK and give the whole team experience in planning and organising academic or literary events, as well as offering excellent networking and collaboration opportunities
USA PhD Exchange
Spend a semester of your PhD in the United States! Drawing on existing research affiliations, the Department runs an Exchange Programme with Texas A&M University and Auburn University, Alabama. All PhD students may apply to work for a semester with a specialist supervisor at Texas A&M or Auburn – a fantastic opportunity to travel, and to experience American academic and graduate culture.
Creative Writing Anthology
Each year the MA Creative Writing students produce and launch a Creative Writing Anthology with an open submissions policy. This is a great opportunity for hands-on experience of editing, designing, publishing and marketing – or seeing your own creative work in print. The anthology is launched annually at an event in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Publishing Assistant Placements
Each year, three 12-week, paid Publishing Assistant Placements are available with Wales’s leading arts journal, New Welsh Review, which has close connections with the Department. These placements include opportunities to interview writers and attend major literary events such as The Hay Festival.
New Writer’s Prize for Fiction
Every year the Department runs a competition for the New Writers’ Prize for Fiction. The prize is awarded to the student from the Department who is considered most likely to produce a publishable work, based on their entry. The winner will be offered professional advice and guidance as well as an opportunity to meet with a top literary agent.