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Meet our postgraduate research community

My current research explores the possibilities for producing alternative forms of transdisciplinary environmental ‘knowledge’ at the intersections between contemporary poetics and the ecological sciences. It aims to join an emergent critical conversation exploring the role of collaborative praxis between the humanities and sciences in developing anti-anthropocentric, anti-colonial and non-extractive methods for understanding, attending to and disturbing reproductions of ecological harm. Specifically, the project examines the role of a series of twentieth and twenty-first century poets in providing material to map these relations.

Taking scientific and critical tools as subject, my approach might best be described as a process of entangling methodology with praxis, rather than more customary eco-theoretical applications to textual matter. My current project draws lines of comparative analysis—and cross-pollination—between close-reading and close-listening practices from (eco)poetics and observational microscopy and microphony techniques from the ecological sciences: illuminating the useful points of contiguity between these modes of disciplinary analysis, and pointing towards how they might be mobilised as disruptive, interruptive technologies for queering the ways in which knowledge is produced in the neoliberal university.

Email Debs:

The study of the relationship between people, the past and identity has received increasing interdisciplinary scholarly attention. Historians have either used historical figures or landscapes as case studies to examine historical culture in nineteenth-century Britain. Adding a new dimension to this literature, this thesis will introduce British castles into the discipline by addressing the almost unknown long nineteenth-century history of the castles of Edward I. It will establish the changing roles the fortresses played and seek to understand the reception of the ruins and their cultural and environmental histories among local people and tourists in the period. Drawing attention to the significance of historical buildings and architecture at a time of increasing nationalism, this study argues that the physical relics of the medieval past played a critical key role in defining nineteenth-century Welsh local and national identity. The domination of the Welsh landscape by English-built castles, and the shared turbulent history of conquest that enshrouded the construction of these fortresses, makes an exploration of their influence on Anglo-Welsh relations, and their reception in the modern period, vital to the history of both nations and our understanding of landscape and ruination.

Email Holly:

I am a part-time masters student studying International Heritage Management and Consultancy on the Penryn Campus. Inspired by a module I took last year in Heritage and Environmental change, I have decided to write my dissertation on Heritage and Nuclear Waste, focusing on visualising toxic landscapes and the juxtaposition between wastelands and wilderness that toxic landscapes often inhabit. Having studied for a degree in Drawing at Falmouth University, I want to explore the role of contemporary art in visualising hazardous waste and using arts-based research as a method within my dissertation.

Email Alice:

My PhD project explores notions of identity in the Cornish-Mexican diaspora of the city of Pachuca (situated in Hidalgo, Mexico). Despite Cornish mining-related migration to this part of Mexico dating back to the 19th Century, Cornish imprints on the area’s tangible heritage remain salient. Taking a transnational perspective, this project aims to examine how locals interact with these multimodal spaces, bringing in notions of ‘intangible’ heritage which are yet to be examined within Cornish diaspora contexts. Drawing on a combination of innovative sociolinguistic approaches, this project examines the dynamics between ‘group’ and ‘individual’ notions of community.

Email Katy:

Transitioning to a low carbon economy: the role of Cornish Rights of Way. Rights of way (ROW) and particularly footpaths are not nostalgic heritage but an answer to many modern-day concerns. My research proposes that footpaths have an important role to play in helping local societies adapt to and mitigate the effects of the climate and ecological emergency. The network of Cornish ROW is an important community and parish asset that has a variety of uses, for example: for physical and mental health; as biodiversity corridors; for carbon sequestration; and connecting communities through local, county and national transport policies. The practice of walking, however, is often given lip service to any future proposals of how to transition to a low carbon economy. The thesis will act as a consultative document for the incorporation of the ROW network into any future county transport plans. My methodology involves walking interviews and questionnaires. Important areas of research will also include land ownership, climate language and definitions, climate psychology and behaviour change. I am exploring a field study area of twelve local parishes surrounding Mabe, where I am now a parish councillor.

Email Paul:

The coast has always been an attractive place to live, work and visit. The testament to this lies in the rich and diverse coastal heritage assets that appear all around Britain’s coastline. However, coastal heritage is in danger of being lost through natural processes, such as erosion, which will only be exacerbated further by the effects of climate change. Though the loss of heritage is not unusual it is nevertheless extremely emotive. My project looks to combine qualitative geographical methods with filmmaking techniques in order to create an interactive documentary. This novel approach intends to create as space where dialogues between heritage professionals and the wider public on the loss of heritage can be initiated. The aim is conversely not, how to save but instead how to lose better. Through engaging with these discussions in a unique way it is hoped that the transformative opportunities associated with an ever changing coast maybe embraced rather than resisted.

Email Tanya: