Literature & Ecocriticism 

Prof John Holmes is a Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture. His research focuses on the relationship between scientific ideas and cultural forms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including poetry, architecture and the visual arts. Prof Holmes is a supervisor for Forest Edge student Dion Dobrzynski. Dion's draft PhD title is 'Forest Ecology in Fantasy Fiction: Mobilising the Imaginative Resources of Fantasy Fiction for Living with Forests'. 

Prof Alexandra Harris enjoys thinking and writing about British art and literature of all periods, especially in relation to landscape, locality and the presence of the past. Dr Matthew Ward's work focuses on British Romanticism, and the literature and intellectual history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Prof Harris and Dr Ward are supervisors for Forest Edge student Thomas Kaye. Thomas's draft PhD title is 'Reading the Grain: The Patterns of Wood Rewilding Contemporary Prose & Poetry.'

Dion explains his research 'Forest Ecology in Fantasy Fiction'
Thomas Kaye - Reading the Grain

'No Wealth but Life': The Role of the Arts and Humanities in Tackling the Climate Crisis' - by Dr John Holmes and Dion Dobrzynski

See the COP26 Images of Climate Innovation entry "Fantasy Fiction and Forest Ecology



Dr Louise Hardwick is a Reader in Francophone Postcolonial Studies and AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow. As BIFoR Interdisciplinary Leadership Fellow for Ecocriticism, her work on ecocriticism contributes to the institute’s research into how to improve our understanding of the societal values surrounding forests and biodiversity.

How can we innovate and think beyond the traditional barriers of what it means to study ‘Modern Languages’ and – via the prism of another language – other cultures?

Modern Langauges, and the Humanities more generally, have the potential to contribute to the study of human interactions with the environment, particularly in an era of climate change and increasing concerns about environmental catastrophes. The study and mastery of a foreign language exposes us to other ways of thinking about the environment, and to a new range of problems – and potential solutions – regarding how humans interact with the natural world.

In her own field of research, Francophone Caribbean studies, Louise analyses the tensions, conflicts and paradoxes which have arisen as a result of Europe’s colonial past. She focuses in particular on Martinique, a French Caribbean island which is both Caribbean and European. Martinique is in one of the regions designated as a global ‘biodiversity hotspot’ (Myers et al, Nature, 2000) – an area of stunning natural biodiversity which is under immediate threat and which needs to be protected by the international community. 

As part of BIFoR’s interdisciplinary agenda, Louise is committed to engaging the international public with forest research.  You can see more about Louise's activities on her blog:

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