News and events

The English and Language Studies Department is delighted to announce the following news and events:

Women Writers of the Fin de Siècle International Conference

Convened by Dr Adrienne Gavin and Dr Carolyn Oulton and  held at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, in June 2010, this was a highly successful literary conference attracting 120 delegates, from 11 countries, giving 80 papers. Plenary addresses were delivered by two of the leading scholars in the field: Professor Linda Peterson of Yale University and Professor Lyn Pykett of Aberystwyth University. Admiring the 'ambitious aim' of the conference to 'explore women's writing across a range of genres between the years 1880-1900,' a review of the event in the journal The Michaelian praised 'the wide variety of work on offer at this bustling, densely-packed conference' and 'how inspiring it was to witness the sheer amount and multiplicity of high-quality research being conducted on such a wide range of women writers.'


Childhood in its Time: The Child in British Literature International Conference

Held at Canterbury Christ Church University in March 2009 and co-convened by Dr Adrienne Gavin from our English Literature team and Dr Andrew Humphries from the Department of Education, this conference attracted 80 delegates, from over 16 countries, who delivered 47 papers that traced the ways in which childhood is reflected and portrayed in British literature from the Renaissance to the present. Including keynote addresses by leading scholars Professor Warren Chernaik, Professor Hugh Cunningham, and Professor Kimberley Reynolds, the conference received excellent feedback.

International conference for the language teaching profession

The Department of English and Language Studies held its second 'Cutting Edges' international conference for the language teaching profession in June.

More than 130 international participants listened to 43 presenters from 22 different countries, providing a variety of perspectives on language teaching and learning.

Professor Paul Dalton, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Dean of Arts and Humanities), welcomed the audience before the first plenary speaker, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor of Education and Linguistics at the University of Michigan, opened the conference with an engaging discussion on the role of practice in language teaching.

The second main speaker, Rosamond Mitchell, Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Southampton, gave an enlightening talk on language teaching in British state schools.

To close the conference, Scott Thornbury, Associate Professor of TESOL at New School University, New York, and author of a number of influential books on the teaching of English, gave a thought-provoking presentation.

Dr John Kullman, Senior Lecturer in English and Language Studies, said: "Feedback from speakers and participants was very positive. The third 'Cutting Edges' conference will take place next June and details will be posted on the website."

Short course for English language teachers

The Department of English and Language Studies hosted another successful short course for English language teachers in May.

The 16 primary school English Language teachers from Madrid attended a four week intensive course. It included a balance of theoretical input on language acquisition, bilingual education, content and language integrated pedagogy and opportunities for investigating pedagogical practice. The teachers also benefited from a five day attachment to a local school.

Charlotte Franson, joint project coordinator with Pam Aboshiha and Antonia Lineham-Fox, said: "Content and language integrated learning has become a major focus of language education internationally. Many countries are not only introducing additional modern languages at an early age, but also introducing language learning through curriculum areas, to develop greater depth of knowledge, proficiency and fluency in the additional language."

Links lead to more Malaysian students at the University

The Departments of Primary Education and English & Language Studies have been building on their successful working relationships with the Malaysian Ministry of Education.

In May, Richard Cullen, Head of English and Language Studies, received confirmation that a proposal for a twinning programme arrangement between the University and the Malaysian Ministry of Education had been accepted.

The new arrangement started in July and will run for five consecutive years. Each year, 50 students will participate in a BEd TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) pre-service programme. On successful completion, the students will be awarded a BEd TESL degree by Canterbury Christ Church.

Prospective secondary school English teachers will first take a two-year Foundation course at an Institute of Teacher Education in Kuala Lumpur. They will study with the Department of English and Language Studies for years 1-3 and then spend their final year at the Malaysian institute.

Richard received the official letter of award from the Minister of Education whilst he was at an international conference, "Strengthening Teacher Education", in Kuala Lumpur with Sue Kendall-Seatter, Head of Primary Education.

At the conference Sue was invited to contribute to the international roundtable discussion on the challenges and opportunities in teacher education in Malaysia. She said: "We drew on the experiences and insights gained from the successful primary teacher education programme which the department runs in collaboration with other UK and Australian universities. The seminar was an important opportunity to extend and enhance the University's profile in the country."

Annual Renaissance Colloquium

The second annual, interdisciplinary colloquium Reading and Writing Practices in Provincial Society 1300-1700, convened by Dr Claire Bartram , will be held in on 29 March 2008 at Canterbury Cathedral Archives/Library.

Gaskell Society Conference


Dr Peter Merchant

Dr Peter Merchant, Acting Head of English, welcoming delegates to the Gaskell Society Conference

The English department is delighted to report that the Gaskell Society held a very successful international conference at Canterbury Christ Church University on 27-30 July 2007.

Members of the department involved in the conference were Acting Head of Department  Dr Peter Merchant who welcomed delegates to Christ Church and was involved in conference preparations and Dr Adrienne Gavin who is a member of the Gaskell society. Conference speakers included some of most eminent names in Gaskell studies and nineteenth-century literary research:

Professor John Beer, Cambridge University
Dame Gillian Beer, Cambridge University
Professor Elisabeth Jay, Oxford Brookes University
Professor Andrew Sanders, University of Durham
Professor Michael Irwin, University of Kent
Jenny Uglow, Biographer and Gaskell Society Vice-President
Nancy S. Weyant, Gaskell bibliographer
Joan Leach, Gaskell Society Hon secretary
Dr Rebecca Styler, Leicester University

As well as engaging in much lively literary discussion, conference-goers also had the opportunity to take guided tours of Canterbury and the cathedral and visit Down House, home of Charles Darwin and his family.

Speakers at Gaskell Conference

Speakers Dr Rebecca Styler, Professor Elizabeth Jay, Dame Gillian Beer and Professor John Beer taking questions at the Gaskell Society Conference

"Truth will out": Crime, Criminals, & Criminality in England, 1500-1700

This three-day international conference to be hosted by the English department on 23-24 August 2007 aims to provide a forum for scholars who work on various aspects of crimes, the people who commit them, and how such acts and people are imagined in the early modern British Isles.

More information about this conference|

Successful Bid for Funding 

The English Department has been awarded £18,000 following a successful bid to fund a project designed to create closer relationships between teaching and research. The proposal involves the production of an anthology of research papers, written by members of the Department. This will form the core text in a new programme of lectures designed to relate lecturers' research to the research activities of our students.

The aim will be to provide students with a sense of the processes involved in developing ideas, conducting research, planning a structure and refining a finished paper.

Visiting Speaker: Professor Lance Butler

As part of the English Department's visiting speakers series Professor Lance Butler of Université de Pau et des Pays de I'Adour gave a very well received talk entitled  "'Anything Goes: the Detours of Register'- Bakhtinian Ponderings about the Stylistic Possibilities Available to the Postmodern Novelist" on 7 March 2007.

Poetry Competition Win

Carolyn Oulton's poem "Something Like Laughter" was the winner of the Coffee House Poetry Competition 2006 (run by Cinnamon Press). The poem will be published in the January 2007 edition of Coffee House Poetry.

International Symposium: Faith, Myth & Literary Creation Since 1850

The English department is very pleased to be associated with the international Symposium: Faith, Myth & Literary Creation Since 1850, which was organized by our colleagues at L' Université Catholique de Lille and which was held in Lille, France on 18th-19th May 2007. The symposium drew speakers from around the world and generated  enthusiastic discussion of a  wide range of topics related to myth, faith and literature. We warmly congratulate our Lille colleagues on the success of the conference and and thank them for wonderful hospitality they always show their academic guests.

International Symposium

Dr Peter Merchant and Dr Adrienne Gavin of Canterbury Christ Church University and Dr Daniel Verheyde of L' Université Catholique de Lille at the Faith, Myth and Literary Creation Since 1850 conference in Lille

Departmental members Dr Adrienne Gavin and Dr Peter Merchant delivered papers at the conference and are co-editing with conference organizer Dr Suzanne Bray a volume of essays arising from the conference.


More information about this symposium |

As part of the Department's visiting speakers series Dr Gavin Hopps of St Andrew's University gave a very well received talk on "Morrissey and the Light that Never Goes Out" on 8 November 2006.

MA in English programme

In October 2006 the department launched its new MA in English offered in three pathways:

  • MA in English Literature
  • MA in English: Children's Literature
  • MA in English: Literatures Victorian and Modern

For more information please visit our MA in English page |.

Licence ès Lettres/BA Hons Double-degree in English

In September 2006 the department launched its new undergraduate double-degree Licence ès Lettres/BA Hons in English programme, which is run in partnership with the L' Université Catholique de Lille in Lille, France


Programme Designers

Programme Designers Dr Daniel Verheyde and Dr Suzanne Bray of L' Université Catholique de Lille and Dr Terry Clifford-Amos and Dr Adrienne Gavin of Canterbury Christ Church University at the Validation of the programme in Lille in March 2006

For more information please visit our Licence ès Lettres page.


Ritual and Rhetoric of Queenship, 1250-1650

Convened by Dr Liz Oakley-Brown of the English Department and Dr Louise Wilkinson of the History Department, The Ritual and Rhetoric of Queenship, 1250-1650 conference was held at Canterbury Christ Church University on Thursday 24 August-Friday 25 August 2006.

More information about this conference |

Reading and Writing Practices in Provincial Society 1300-1700

The first annual, interdisciplinary colloquium Reading and Writing Practices in Provincial Society 1300-1700, convened by Dr Claire Bartram , was held on 25 March 2006. Drawing together scholars working on aspects of printed book and manuscript cultures, the colloquium examined a range of source material and asked how recent developments in the fields of book history and the history of reading can help us to understand book culture in provincial society.