Dr Caroline Ardrey MA, MSt, DPhil, PGCE, SFHEA

Photograph of Dr Caroline Ardrey

Department of Modern Languages
Associate Professor in Modern Languages

Contact details

Room 109, Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Caroline Ardrey is a lecturer in French, specialising in nineteenth-century French poetry and its interaction with other art forms and media, in particular music and fashion.

As a researcher, Caroline is Senior Research Associate on The Baudelaire Song Project, directed by Professor Helen Abbott with Research Associate Dr Nina Rolland. As part of this work, Caroline specialises in co-developing and implementing digital humanities approaches to analyse song settings of the work of Charles Baudelaire, across a range of languages and musical genres. 


  • 2018 – PGCHE (Distinction) – The University of Birmingham
  • 2015– PGCE in Secondary English teaching – The University of Exeter
  • 2014 – DPhil in French -  St Anne’s College, Oxford
  • 2010– MSt in French (Modern) – St Anne’s College, Oxford
  • 2009– BA in Modern Languages – St Anne’s College, Oxford


Caroline completed a DPhil at St Anne’s College, Oxford, in 2014. Her thesis examined the work of the nineteenth-century French poet Stéphane Mallarmé, looking at the role which his fashion magazine, La Dernière Mode (1874) played within the evolution of his poetics. 

Following her doctoral studies, Caroline trained as a secondary school English teacher, working at an academy in Bournemouth. In September 2015, she joined the AHRC-funded Baudelaire Song Project, as Research Associate, specialising in the development and application of digital methodologies for analysing the interaction between poetry and music in song. 

Caroline joined the University of Birmingham in 2016 and was appointed as Lecturer in Modern Languages in September 2017. She continues to work as part of the Baudelaire Song Project team, now as Senior Research Associate, alongside her own research, teaching and administrative commitments. For the academic year 2017/2018 Caroline is Deputy Director of Undergraduate Studies and also works within the Modern Languages Admissions team, as a Deputy Admissions Officer.


Caroline is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy  and holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE) with Distinction.

Actively involved in the provision of research-led teaching Caroline supervises Year 4 independent study modules on a range of topics relating to nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature and culture. 

With a particular interest in Digital Humanities and the use of technology in the classroom, Caroline is module lead on the final-year, research-led module ‘From Text to Tech: Digital Humanities and Modern Languages’ and is part of the College of Arts and Law’s Digichamps team. She is also co-ordinator of the second-year vocational module ‘Language Learning in the Classroom’, running for the first time in 2018/2019.

Postgraduate supervision

Caroline is available for supervising doctoral work, and would welcome enquiries from prospective students working in the following areas:

Nineteenth-century French poetry
Nineteenth-century literature and fashion
Fashion magazines and the feminine press in France
Digital humanities in the study of French literature, culture and history

Find out more - our PhD French Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Caroline’s research focuses on nineteenth-century French literature, in particular poetry, and its intersections with other art forms. She is especially interested studying the links which poetry during this period had with musical culture, fashion and social life.

Her doctoral thesis looked in particular at the work of the nineteenth-century French poet, Stéphane Mallarmé, who published a fashion magazine, entitled La Dernière Mode during the second half of 1874. Caroline’s thesis argues that 1874 and, more specifically, the eight issues of La Dernière Mode represent a turning point in Mallarmé’s aesthetic. Through a comparative study of the text and typographical conventions in the fashion magazine and in Mallarmé’s theoretical writings and notes, she makes a case for seeing La Dernière Mode as a testing ground for some of the key principles which form Mallarmé’s ideal book, known as the Livre

Caroline’s current research is linked to her work as part of The Baudelaire Song Project, focusing in particular on popular song settings and appropriations of Baudelaire’s poetry. She is especially interested in the socio-cultural and political conditions which serve as a backdrop for appropriations of Baudelaire’s texts in genres including black metal and experimental pop. She is currently in the process of preparing a monograph which looks at song settings and appropriations of Baudelaire’s poetry in modern pop, rock and rap music.

Caroline is also pursuing new avenues in her research, looking at social and professional networks in nineteenth-century Paris. Her future research outputs seek to build on her expertise in digital humanities and apply techniques drawn from fields including the social sciences and statistics to the study of literature and culture. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, forthcoming projects involve using social network analysis  (SNA) techniques to tease out alternative historical narratives and re-evaluate sites of artistic cross-pollination in late nineteenth-century France.

Within the context of her research, Caroline is particularly committed to public engagement, exploring new ways of using technology, in particular mixed reality tools, to communicate scholarship to a wider audience.

Other activities

Deputy Director of Undergraduate studies in Modern Languages (2017/2018)

Joint Honours lead for Modern Languages (2017/2018)

Admissions Tutor in Modern Languages (responsible for BA Modern Languages with Open University Pathway)


Chapters in books

  • “Interior decoration and bricolage in the French feminine press of the 1870s, from La Ménagèreto Stéphane Mallarmé’s La Dernière Mode”, Space in France and Belgium: Art, Literature and Design (c. 1850 – 1920), ed. by Claire Moran,(Bloomsbury, forthcoming, 2018)
  • ‘“Sounds and Perfumes Turn in the Evening Air”: Sense and Synaesthesia in Popular Song Settings of Baudelaire’, Nocturnes: Popular Music and the Night, edby Geoff Stahl and Giacomo Bottà, (Palgrave, forthcoming)




Blog posts

Music and memory : how singing could make you a better linguist

Professional affiliations

  • Member of the Société des dix-neuviémistes
  • Member of the Society for French Studies
  • Member of the Society for French Historical Studies
  • Member of Humanistica (L’Association des humanités numériques francophones)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

View all publications in research portal