Research

I am a PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University where I am fortunate enough to be indulging my two principle passions: creative writing and folklore. At the Centre for Contemporary Legend, I am pursuing a practice-based PhD that explores how – and why – English calendar customs might be used in contemporary fiction and I'm writing a novel where a calendar custom sits at its heart.

 

During my research period, I'm hoping to get along to the customs I've always wanted to witness, such as Padstow's magnificent May Day celebrations, the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, and interview people to understand why they participate – and why they don't. I also hope to interview other writers that have incorporated calendar customs in their work.

 

And if you're ensure what a calendar custom is, then take a look at some of my favourites to give you a flavour:

 

The Saddleworth Rushcart

Goathland Plough Stots' Plough Monday

Marsden's Imbolc Festival

Articles and papers

 

Book reviews

  • Brankin, E., Gilbert, F. And Sharples, C., (2021) Inspire: Exciting Ways of Teaching Creative Writing. London: Gold Publishing. in Writing in Education, NAWE, No. 83 Spring 2021, p. 96

  • (forthcoming Folk Music Journal) Steve Roud, ed. Worthing: Sussex Traditions, 2020. Locating Women in the Folk: Conference Proceedings, Sussex, 2018 

 

Blog posts

 

Conference presentations and talks

  • 'Writing the Seasons: the creative writing PhD', online talk, Sheffield Hallam University creative writing masterclass series, 20 January 2021

  • 'Tameside Folklore', online talk for Tameside History Club and Tameside Local Studies and Archives, 20 January 2021

  • 'Celebrating Christmas with Calendar Customs', online talk, Sheffield Hallam University, 17 December 2020

  • 'Cheese-rolling, Pace-egging, Soul-caking: Can Calendar Customs Engender Stewardship of our Natural Environment?', Earthly Matters conference, Sheffield Hallam University, 7 August 2020 

  • 'Connected through Custom: Well Dressing in Jon McGregor's Novel, Reservoir 13', Enchanted Environments conference, University of Worcester, 6 March 2020

  • 'Writing fiction with folklore', Newer Researchers' Day conference, The Folklore Society, University of Hertfordshire, 29 May 2019

 

I am also a reviewer for NAWE and a peer reviewer for Gramarye, the journal of The Chichester Centre for Fairy Tales, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction.

 

You might enjoy my Pinterest board where I'm collecting nuggets that might come in handy. If you have any suggestions, or would like to contact me about my research, please feel free to get in touch or tweet me.

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