Tree silhouette

Hubert Nicholson and Sunk Island

Engaging the public to demonstrate how research in the humanities is making a difference.

The Challenge

Our challenge: to arrange an interdisciplinary public event for a non-academic audience to demonstrate how research in the humanities is making a difference on a local, national and global scale. The theme of Being Human 2017 was 'Lost and Found'.

The Approach

Our approach: Literature and Human Geography were brought together to focus on the 'lost' novel by Hull-born writer and journalist Hubert Nicholson Sunk Island. Set in an area of reclaimed land on the unstable coastline of Holderness in East Yorkshire Sunk Island was inspired and published after the Great East Coast Flood of 1953 and dramatises issues of flooding and rural migration which are still pertinent today. The principle investigators have expertise in twentieth century literature (Professor Jane Thomas) and land management Dr Briony McDonagh: research strengths at the University of Hull.

The Impact

Our impact: there was an impassioned plea for more such interdisciplinary events and participants drew attention to how the event had led them to see familiar places and issues afresh. Cultural identity through shared activities - especially reading, walking and sharing food - was reaffirmed and the importance of literature and art in this process.Working with community partners such as Sunk Island Heritage Centre and its trustees, local photographers and event organisers was especially rewarding for all concerned. 

Start and expected completion date

18 November 2018



The project is funded £1,500 by AHRC 'Being Human'/ British Academy.

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