University English AGM 2023

London's Senate House occupied by students | Times Higher Education (THE)

We are delighted to be back in person for the first time since 2019. Join us on April 14-15th for a programme covering the use of technology in teaching; the ongoing impact of the pandemic on students and how best to support them; working with data; content warnings, and developing research environments. We will have a keynote speaker on the current state of English, and the UE Book Prize will be awarded. We will also be holding a business meeting where we can update you on UE activities and our responses to the current difficult context in which many departments are finding themselves.

Delegates’ fees are £100. If any ECR colleagues wish to attend, and you are unable to have your costs covered by your institution, we have a limited number of travel bursaries for which you can apply. Please contact Gail Marshall ( with details of your anticipated travel costs.

Please check the website for updates on the full programme.

Please book here.

University English AGM 2019

Provisional Programme

The Berrick Saul Building, University of York

Friday 12th April

13.30-14.00 Registration (tea and coffee available)

14:00-15:15 Panel Session 1 (organisers: Alex Thomson, Jennifer Richards)

Scaling up: larger grants in English Studies

This panel will examine data on AHRC applications in English in order to explore the problem of scale as it applies to research funding bids in English Studies. With close involvement from the AHRC we hope to analyse the problem and encourage colleagues in English to ‘think big’.

Professor Jennifer Richards (AHRC Advisory Board, Director of Newcastle University Humanities Research Institute)

Jessica Clark (Strategy and Development Manager, Languages,Literature and Area Studies, AHRC)


15:15-16:15 Plenary Session

“Studying English Literature in post-Brexit Britain”

Debbie McVitty (editor WonkHE)

16:15-16:40 tea/coffee

16:40-17:55 Panel Session 2 (organisers: Ben Davies, Nigel Wood)

English among the Languages

Given a continued decline in Humanities enrolments and a cultural climate of ‘anti-intellectualism’, this panel will ask what can English learn from colleagues in other disciplines such as Classics and Modern Languages. How might we work together to promote English and related disciplines by thinking more broadly about the study of languages, texts and literatures? In the wake of Brexit especially, how might we collaborate within and beyond the UK, so as to develop and promote the study of languages and literatures as effectively as possible?

Olga Gomez-Cash (University Council of Modern Languages, and Head of Department, School of Languages and Cultures, Lancaster University)

Helen Lovatt (Chair, Council of University Classical Departments, University of Nottingham)

Matthew Townend (School of English and Related Literature, University of York)

18:00 Wine Reception / Book Prize

19:30 Dinner

Saturday 13th April

09:30-10:25 Plenary Session

REF2021: Briefing and Q&A

Ann Heilmann (Deputy Chair, sub-panel 27, REF2021, Cardiff University)

10:25-10:50 tea/coffee

10:50-11:30 Business Meeting

University English AGM Business Meeting

11:30-12:55 Session 4

Does English need a Professor of Public Understanding? (organisers: Susan Bruce, Ros Ballaster)

In the context of recent decline in English A-level enrolments, concerns about recruitment at HE, and the increasing characterisation of English as a frivolous discipline in the media and in political discourse, this panel will examine the benefits that a dedicated focus on ‘public understanding’ has brought to disciplines outside our own. It asks whether English is as well-understood outside the academy as we once thought that it was, and explores how we might enhance its perception in the public eye.

Geoff Cubitt, (Director of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past, University of York)

Angie Hobbs, (Professor of Public Understanding of Philosophy, University of Sheffield)

Harriet Barnes, (Head of HE and Skills, British Academy)

13:00 Buffet Lunch

14:00 CLOSE

14:00-15:30 University English Executive meeting


 Our 2018 AGM (13th -14th April) was held at the University of Lancaster.           

Friday 13thApril

 9.30                 Registration for Heads of Department and Subject Leaders’ Networking Day

Refreshments in Faraday Foyer

12-1pm             Buffet lunch

From 2.30pm  Registration for University English’s Annual General Meeting University; tea and coffee

3.00pm            Panel 1: All change?: challenges for English and the humanities.

                        Convenors: Kathryn White and Susan Bruce

A decline in A-level recruitment; changing patterns of UCAS applications across the humanities; the subject level TEF pilot; the review of higher education funding, the pensions crisis, strike and looming staff cuts: these are among the factors which will shape the landscape of English over the next five years. This panel brings together speakers from a range of perspectives to look at specific aspects of these developments and attempt to formulate an overview. It focuses in particular on the ‘pipeline’ for English from school through to teacher-training; on recruitment issues to HE across the humanities; on the first iteration of a subject level TEF; on the experiences of colleagues in institutions under threat, and on strategies for the humanities in the current pensions crisis.

  • Dr Jenny Stevens (The Godolphin & Latymer School, EA/Common English Forum)
  • Professor Jan Jedrzejewski (Ulster University)
  • Professor Suman Gupta (The Open University)
  • Professor Susan Bruce (Keele University; co-chair of the Arts and Humanities Alliance)

[4.55pm           short break: deadline for receipt of nomination forms for committee]

5.00pm            PLENARY SESSION: REF2021 Q&A

  • Professor Greg Walker (University of Edinburgh; Chair, Sub-panel 27 & Member, Main Panel D, REF2021)

6.15pm            Wine Reception; University English Book Prize award

7.30pm                        Conference dinner

Saturday 14thApril

9.30am            Panel 2: The Long Professor: Mentor, Manager, Emeritus

                        Conveners: Will May and Helen Fulton

The professionalization of HE has transformed the role of professors, which can vary widely between institutions and departments. REF2021 guidelines and legislation on retirement age continues to shift the goalposts. Professors might be creative writers on fractional contracts, active researchers taking on significant management roles, or younger academics who have had a substantial impact in their field. Yet despite the diversity of professorial work, women and BME academics make up less than 25% of the professoriate. This panel surveys the new landscape, and considers the role of the professor in our subject community and beyond.

  • Professor Katharine Cockin (University of Essex)
  • Professor Peter Knight (University of Manchester)
  • Professor Sandeep Parmar (University of Liverpool)

10.45am          Tea & Coffee

11.00am          Panel 3: A Good Life: Citizenship, Skills and Employability

How can English Studies overcome instrumentalism when it comes to the employability agenda? Is it possible to move beyond having to prove that our degrees are good value because they lead to good careers? Can we work together with students to consider how to live ‘good lives’ through education?  This panel attempts to beat the buzzwords and showcase some of the exciting ways that individuals and departments are connecting students with the wider world. Speakers have experience in creating work-placement modules, leading research-based teaching projects, and building interdisciplinary approaches to English Studies that have new applications outside of the classroom.

                        Convenors: Alison Waller and Alex Thomson

  • Dr Clare Egan (Lancaster University)
  • Dr Fiona Douglas (University of Leeds)
  • TBC
  • Dr Dawn Watkins (University of Leicester)

12.15am          AGM Business Meeting

1.15pm            Lunch

 2.15pm            Finish

2.00-3.30pm    Executive Committee meeting and refreshments

Twitter: @UnivEnglish

AGM Hashtag: #UEAGM18

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2017 took place at

St. Hugh’s College, University of Oxford
Wednesday 12th – Thursday 13th April 2017


Wednesday 12th April

From 3.00pm Registration; tea and coffee

3.40pm Panel 1: The future of security? The changing shape of an academic career.
Convenors: Elspeth Jajdelska and Natasha Alden

Discussions around academic career paths have tended to focus on the challenges facing Early Career Researchers; high awareness of such issues is reflected, for example, in responses within the subject community to proposals in the Stern Review around portability of research outputs. This panel aims to widen this discussion by considering academic careers in English more broadly, exploring the forces reshaping academic career paths, and asking how to manage and resolve concerns at all career stages.

[4.55pm short break: deadline for receipt of nomination forms for committee]

5.00pm Keynote Address: Shearer West [] – Open Access and the Monograph
Shearer West (Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield; Chair OA Monograph Working Group)

6.30pm Reception; University English Book Prize award

7.30pm Conference dinner

Thursday 13th April

9.00am Panel 2: The Impact of Impact
Conveners: Alison Findlay and Alison Waller

This panel explores changing landscapes of English research in light of the impact agenda, offering an overview of how the discipline has responded to REF requirements as well as discussing examples of excellent practice. Panelists will debate how far individuals, project teams, and universities are tackling broader philosophical and ethical questions about the utility of their work outside of academia.

10.15am Tea & Coffee

10.30am AGM Business Meeting

11.30am Tea & Coffee

11.45am Panel 3: Schools of thought: English, HE and secondary education
Convenors: Will May and Ben Davies

Over 60 UK universities sponsor schools in the UK, and the government wants to see numbers increase. Recent initiatives have also forged new links between university research and the classroom, from the Researchers in Schools programme to the Academics in the Classroom project. This panel will explore the new landscape of HE and school collaboration, and what it might mean for English.

1.00pm Lunch

2.00pm Finish

2.00-3.30pm Executive Committee meeting


The AGM is open to delegates from all member institutions. Please contact Will May (w.may at if you would like to check whether your subscription is up to date.

Registration closes on Friday March 24th. Bookings cannot be accepted after this date. We can accept online payments, or take payment on the opening day of the conference.

1 x member delegate £160

1 x member delegate (non-dining rate) £135

1 x postgraduate rate £60

The 2016 AGM of University English was held at St Anne’s Oxford in the Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre from the afternoon of Monday 11th April till Tuesday 12th April.

The programme was as follows:



St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford
Monday 11th – Tuesday 12th April 2016
Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre

Monday 11th April

From 4.00pm Registration; tea and coffee

5.00pm Keynote Address by Rick Rylance, (Director, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London)

6.30pm Reception; University English Book Prize award (Ruth Deech Building)

7.30pm Conference dinner (Dining Hall)

Tuesday 12th April

9.30am Panel 1: Changing Geographies of UK Higher Education
Conveners: Delia Da Sousa Correa and Alison Waller

This panel explored the possible outcomes of this year’s Referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, and ongoing consequences of devolution in the UK for the discipline. We also explored the impact of changing government policies on admissions to English across the UK, and across the sector, and presented a first look at the results of University English’s survey of admissions figures for the last six years.

• Pierre Lurbe (Université Paris-Sorbonne; President, Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur);
• Graham Caie (Professor emeritus, University of Glasgow);
• Katharine Baxter (Programme Director (English), Northumbria University).
• Fiona Douglas (University English; University of Leeds)

10.45am Tea & Coffee

11.00am Panel 2: Bridging the gaps: transition and integration in English Studies
Conveners: Natasha Alden, Fiona Douglas and Clare Hurley

This panel considered how we, and our students, might best negotiate the interfaces between school and university, and across different areas of the subject. How can we equip our students to succeed? How might we help them to improve their academic literacy? Would a more integrated view of our discipline help or hinder?

• Eleanor Trafford (Bradford Grammar);
• Integrating English project: Billy Clark (Middlesex University); Marcello Giovanelli (University of Nottingham).
• John Hodgson (University of the West of England, Research Development Officer at the National Association for the Teaching of English.)

12.30pm Lunch

1.30pm AGM Business Meeting

2.30pm Tea & coffee

2.45pm Panel 3: Universities at War?
Conveners: Susan Bruce and Alex Thomson

This panel scrutinized the proposals contained in the BIS Green paper on higher education, as well as the wider policy changes affecting the sector in this time of uncertainty: what does TEF mean for us? What will proposed changes to the infrastructure of research funding mean for English? What is the future for part-time study?

• Thomas Docherty (University of Warwick)
• Andrew McRae (Head of English, University of Exeter)
• Richard Brown (Interim Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts, Open University)
• Katherine Cox (Head of English, Sheffield Hallam University)

4.00pm Finish

4.00-5.30pm Executive Committee meeting