Students studying in Brynmor Jones Library

School of Humanities

About the School

The study of the humanities in universities has been going on for over 1000 years. It is concerned with human society and culture, and seeks to provide critical insights into the past, present and future of peoples and their environments. We are a community of academics that teach and generate research and impact across disciplines: English Literature, Creative Writing and History.

Our teaching engages with the latest approaches to our fields, offers students both breadth and choice within an inclusive and tight-knit community.

We allow you to follow your passion and provide the environment that prepares you for what comes next. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, our research in History and English Literature was graded as 'internationally-excellent'. Our research is supported by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and other charitable and philanthropic sources. We are home to several world-leading research groups and projects including Treatied SpacesRisky Cities and the Larkin Centre. We also make significant contributions to the work of the Wilberforce Institute and the Leverhulme Centre for Water Cultures.

Social Feeds

English Facebook | Twitter

History Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Head of school

Charles Prior

Dr Charles Prior


Athena Swan Bronze Award

Research in the School of Humanities

The School of Humanities has world-leading research strengths in a range of global histories, literatures, and cultures. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, History and English performed extremely well: History was joint 1st in the UK for research impact, and rose 28 places to 18th in the national rankings for overall research quality. English rose 15 places to 24th nationally for research impact with 90% of publications ranked as internationally excellent and world-leading.

Our work is supported by over £3 million in competitive grant funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and a range of other charitable and philanthropic sources. Our focus is interdisciplinary, collaborating across humanities, social sciences, business, and STEM. The reach and impact of our work is extended through a global network of academic, policy, third sector, heritage and community partnerships. Research in the School of Humanities influences thinking, informs policy, and addresses pressing global challenges such as climate change, human rights and the place of 'marginal' peoples, communities and states in a rapidly changing global order.

Research strengths

Writing the Environment

Our ‘Writing the Environment’ research shapes and shift attitudes towards our planet and its future survival. Inherently interdisciplinary, research in this field adopts arts and sciences approaches to explore the power of language, literature, and the creative word.

Our collaborative projects learn from the past, from cultures worldwide and from conversations with the sciences to rethink our relationship with the environment – for now and the future.

Drawing on expertise from across Creative writing, English language, and English literature, our researchers are involved in a number of large, externally funded projects. Examples include analysing parliamentary discourse surrounding renewable energies; and exploring flooding in literature and history through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded project Risky Cities: Living with Water in an Uncertain Future Climate.

Researchers in this group connect with the work of the interdisciplinary Larkin Centre for Poetry and Creative Writing and the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures. They work closely with colleagues in the University’s Energy and Environment Institute.

Our community

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History at Hull

Watch: As History has been taught at Hull since 1928, we have a proud heritage of academic excellence.

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Try Creative Writing and English

Watch: Join Dr Anna Fitzer and Dr Michael Farrelly for a virtual a taster session.

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Hull History Network

The Hull History Network was founded in 2019 to provide a plethora of in-study vocational opportunities that complement our student's degree journey. Students have had the opportunity to work with the Hull: Yorkshire Maritime City Project, the Blaydes Maritime Centre, Hull Museums and Galleries, the Treatied Spaces project and the Department of History. Other members of the network have embraced opportunities to do paid teaching work, volunteer with dementia charity reminiscence therapy, conduct exhibition research, act as tour guides to cultural sites and get involved with the delivery of world class cultural events like the Freedom Festival.

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"The applicant day was really warm and welcoming"

Watch: Maya Tyrrell on why she chose to study English at Hull

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Showcasing Queer voices from the past

Students from the department had an exciting opportunity to help curate content for the Pride in our City exhibition by the Humber Museums Partnership. Their research showcased how Hull is an inclusive space for everyone and drew upon art history modules at the University of Hull. They wrote about the queer identities of art held at the Ferens Art Gallery and this partnership was showcased at a national heritage conference on Queer Voices in Museums featuring the Tate, National Maritime Museum, Queer Britain and our friends at Hull Museums and Art Gallery. Such activity complements our work to embed queer histories and historians throughout our curriculum.

The Fear Talking

Dr Chris Westoby recently published his debut novel The Fear Talking. Chris – Programme Director of the Online MA in Creative Writing – is also a Hull alumnus and credits his experiences as a student here for helping shape his literary career.

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Inspiring Olympians

Watch: our research empowers all communities and embraces the individual identities that make us who we are. During the last two years, History staff and students have been working with Team GB to explore the racial, cultural and religious diversity that have underpinned Olympic success since 1896. This short film produced by Team GB features research by our colleagues Dr Jenny Macleod and Dr Catherine Baker, and students Lewis Carter and Grace Hawkins.

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Research that makes an impact

Our online lectures, regular podcasts, and appearances in the media ensure our work has an impact around the world. Recently Professor Joy Porter from the Treatied Spaces Research Cluster delivered a keynote lecture 'Who Fights for Canada as the Climate Changes?' at the British Library. Meanwhile, webinars by our historians at the Wilberforce Institute on critical issues including the legacy of slavery, human rights and 2020 Black Lives Matter debates have been attended by people from over 50 countries.

Inspiring postgraduates

Our talented pool of graduate students is at the intellectual heart of our research culture. Their research, which covers topics from ancient Rome to contemporary race relations, has the power to reshape how we engage with the past. Research by Victoria Taylor is reframing our understanding of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War and through her appearance on the History Hit, is inspiring audiences to explore the military past. Former PhD student Dr Ryan Hanley won the 2019 Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize for his monograph, meanwhile fellow alumnus Dr Michael Reeve won the 2020 Gordon Fraser Essay Prize for a peer-reviewed article in Northern History that drew upon doctoral research at our Blaydes Maritime Centre and collections held at the Hull History Centre.

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Undergraduate multimedia stories

The creativity of our student community is at the core of their success. While we are keen to encourage our students to embrace new ways of learning, we often learn as much from them. Dane Mellows became something of a social media star in the summer of 2020, sharing his digital literacy with his passion for our fantastic campus in a fun way that brought us all some much-needed cheer. Meanwhile, recent Graduate Intern Rebecca Kelly produced #RebeccasGuide, three short films that shared her top tips for bolstering your CV alongside studying for a degree in History. Her advice included making greater use of our wonderful careers service.

Building upon Medieval foundations

The department’s Medieval historians have for decades ensured the spatial breadth of our teaching and research activity remains world class. Building upon pioneering work making the contents of the Domesday Book accessible to global audiences, recent research by Dr Colin Veach is helping to rewrite the history of England’s first overseas colony – medieval Ireland. In this recent recorded lecture he discusses the political role of powerful English magnates in subjugating Irish resistance to early colonisation. His latest work ‘The General Crisis’ will feature in the forthcoming multi-volume New Cambridge History of Britain which trace the causes and consequences of Magna Carta throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Our people

The school is a vibrant community of extremely talented staff and students, who collaborate to craft some incredibly creative work.

staff members in the School of Humanities, arranged alphabetically by last name

PhD students

PhD students in the School of Humanities
Emma Linford

Emma Linford

Romance and finance from Dickens to Christie

Adam Clifton

Adam Clifton

Eyesore: examining allegory in speculative fiction with regards to place as character and socio-political commentary, while challenging the tropes of the “white saviour narrative”

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Jonathan Morton

Men’s power and status in relation to women’s in literature and other media: a comparison between the Middle Ages and present day

David Stanley-Fisher

David Stanley-Fisher

The evil inside: representations of psychopathy in crime fiction

Kath Beal

Kath Beal

Disease, disability and disfigurement as shown in the novels of Wilkie Collins

Sam Laverack

Sam Laverack

“She, who now understood that language but too well”: antiheroines and unruly women writers of early amatory fiction’

Dhanya Mathew

Dhanya Ann Mathew

Beginning to the end: post-colonialism in 20th and 21st century Anglo-Indian novels

Ali Cargill

Ali Cargill

Hedgewicche: appropriation of memoir and novel into novel writing

Matt Commerford

Matt Commerford

Creative writing – memoir and memory – exploring the lost clubland histories of 90's LGBTQ+ London, addiction and survival through writing

James Baker

James Baker

James is working on public education as a means of remembering the forced emigration of British children to Australia, 1913-1968

Emily Birch - History

Emily Birch

Emily is working on Gender and Space in Hampton Court: From the reign of Henry VIII to Queen Anne


Laura Burkinshaw

Laura is a PhD candidate studying navalism and nationalism in inter-war Britain, examining popular enthusiasm for the Royal Navy and the interplay between society, Britishness and the sea.


Adam Cook

Adam is working on identity in Medieval Yorkshire and Northumberland between 1066 and 1216.


Renae Dyball

Renae Dyball is working on the themes of crisis and response in the history of London from the Great Fire to Brexit.


Rebecca Ellis

Rebecca’s project investigates the use of figurative forms in early Celtic Art in England and Wales, in addition to assessing the contribution of publicly recovered tangible heritage to the subject.


Nicola Guy

Nicola’s PhD research examines the differing roles exhibition-making has held in the period since Berlin was unified in 1990

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Michael Haughton

Michael Haughton is researching the study of Hebrew in Tudor England.


Helen Keighley

Helen’s research explores the role of volunteers in the presentation of heritage at heritage sites In England.

Rebecca Nelson

Rebecca Nelson

Rebecca's PhD project, focusses on the ways in which museums in the UK interpret and engage with anti-slavery in both historic and contemporary contexts.


Matt Pooley

Matt is a NECAH-funded PhD student examining how information and intelligence networks helped to develop English/British imperial ambitions in the Western Atlantic (the southern American mainland colonies and the Caribbean) between c.1700-1750.


Ryan Prescott

Ryan’s work investigates the period known commonly as the anarchy of King Stephen’s reign, 1135-54 and its impact on the landscapes of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.


Mary Rehman

Mary’s research centres on eighteenth century masculinity in the contexts of race, slavery and abolitionism.


Joseph Slack

Joseph Slack is a PhD student working on the history of the British Empire in India, with a focus on the conflict between Britain and Russia over control of the region.


Victoria Taylor

Victoria’s PhD thesis explores the tumultuous relationship between the Luftwaffe and National Socialism in the Third Reich: tracing the socio-political permeance of Nazi ideology into the ill-fated air force before, during, and after the Second World War.


Lauren Theweneti

Lauren is working on transformation and socio-spatial change in First World War Leeds from 1911 to 1920.


Sam Wright

Funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Sam is investigating the risks associated with British Distant-Water Trawling from c. 1880 to c.1980, analysing the many factors that influenced this most dangerous of occupations

Library exterior

Brynmor Jones Library

Enjoy 24/7 access to the iconic Brynmor Jones Library which boasts stunning views, cosy reading rooms, cutting edge collaborate spaces and more than a million books.


1. The Complete University Guide 2024.

2. (History, 11th) The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.