Dr Matt Hayler PhD (Exon), MA, BA (Hons), AFHEA

Photograph of Dr Matt Hayler

Department of English Literature
Lecturer in Post-1945 Literature

Contact details

Room 147, Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I’m a lecturer in post-1945 Literature in the Department of English Literature. My research interests focus on e-reading, materially experimental writing, digital humanities, critical theory, technology, and embodiment. I’m particularly interested in how the materiality of our artefacts impacts upon our culture, daily practice, and cognition. My most recent research has been into the relationship between the ethics and artistic representation of transhuman modification of the body with technology. Beyond English Studies, my research draws on cognitive science, post- and classical phenomenology, philosophy of technology, and object-oriented ontology.


  • PhD English Studies (Exeter, 2011)
  • MA Criticism and Theory (Exeter, 2007)
  • BA Hons English and Creative Writing (University of Wales Aberystwyth, 2006)


I completed my PhD on e-reading and technological use at the University of Exeter in 2011 and went on to lecture there for three years as a teaching fellow. In that time I taught a wide range of contemporary literature, ran the first year whole cohort criticism and theory module, and introduced a module in Digital and Cyberculture Studies. I joined the University of Birmingham as a lecturer in September 2014.


In 2014-15 I’ll be teaching first year Critical Practice and Literary Aesthetics after 1800 and second year Making it New and Literature in Britain Since 1945. I’ll also be lecturing on Transatlantic Literary Relations and the dissertation module as well as supervising dissertations at undergrad and MA.

Postgraduate supervision

I’m keen to hear from any students with interests in or related to: critical theory, digital humanities, experimental literature, videogames, 21st century fiction, embodiment, technology, post-/transhumanism, cognitive science, phenomenology, object-oriented ontology.


My research to date has focused on e-reading and the move from printed page to e-reader screen and how an exploration of the concerns around this shift might inform us about our attitudes to technology more broadly. I’m interested in the embodiment of both user and device and how they might intertwine and reciprocally affect one another over time. These concerns have led, more recently, to an interest in post- and transhumanism and the intentional modification of the body through technology.

Other activities

My research led me to become network coordinator for the Cognitive Futures in the Humanities AHRC research network and I now sit on the AHRC Digital Reading network steering committee and act as management committee member for the UK for the COST European E-READ network. With the AHRC’s REACT knowledge exchange hub I’m working with the RSC and two artists on a project melding digital and print technology. I also act as the Staff Liaison Officer for the school.


Books and Chapters:

  • Challenging the Phenomena of Technology (Palgrave 2015).
  • Research Methods in the Digital Humanities(Edinburgh University Press 2015) - lead editor and chapter contributor, two volumes developed alongside series editor (Gabriele Griffin, York): Research Methods in Reading Digital Texts and Research Methods in Writing and Curating Digital Texts.
  • “Hardware, Software, Wetware: Cognitive Science, Transhuman Modification and the Digital Humanities” - chapter in Cognitive Humanities(Palgrave 2015).
  • “Another Way of Looking: Digital Technologies and How They Change the World” - chapter in Theatre Performance and Cognition(Methuen 2015).
  •  “Digital Humanities and The Future of English” - chapter in Futures in English(Palgrave 2015), co written with Marilyn Deegan.


  • “The Extent of Text: Producing Meaning Beyond Intuition.” Writing Technologies. (Issue 4: Summer 2012).
  • “Translating to Digital.” PEER English:Journal of New Critical Thinking. (Issue 5: Autumn 2010).
  • “Digital Writing and Pedagogy: How Do We Teach, What Do We Teach?” Wordplay: The English Subject Centre Magazine. (Issue 4: Autumn 2010).