Salford academics secure over £80k in new funding to decolonise English studies

Categories: Research, School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

A project led by a University of Salford academic to decolonise English Studies in Further Education has received funding of over £80,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). 

Decolonising English Studies in and Beyond the Classroom, a new project led by Jade Munslow Ong, Professor of World Literatures in English, has been successful at receiving follow-on funding of £84,099 from the AHRC to create a world-class and freely available online educational resource about South African literature, hosted on a bespoke platform. It follows on from the success of Professor Munslow Ong's existing AHRC-funded project, South African Modernism 1880-2020

The platform will have two distinct streams of work - one will be academic-led to create expert audio, video and written content and lectures delivered by academics and writers alongside other interactive resources such as quizzes, video lessons and downloadable classroom resources. The other will be co-produced content with international 16-18 year-old learners, which may consist of podcasts, videos, online galleries, visual texts and blogs.

Professor Munslow Ong is the project's principal investigator and will lead the team, who will be travelling to South Africa, Sweden and Australia over the next 15 months to complete the work for the new platform.

It is expected to deliver major new benefits by capitalising on and greatly exceeding the impact of the original project, which is generating educational, social and cultural benefits for 16 to 18-year-old learners and their teachers across the UK by supporting changed content and methods of teaching of the English Literature A-Level.

The team currently work with 16 FE providers, predominantly based in the Greater Manchester area, as well as the English officers from A-Level exam boards AQA and WJEC Eduqas. 

Professor Munslow Ong said: "We're thrilled to receive follow-on-funding from the AHRC and look forward to working with 16-18 year old learners, their teachers, UK exam boards, and colleagues from across the world to support decolonising efforts in English Studies."

The newly-funded activities will seek to advance the diversification and decolonisation of English Literature teaching and content in the UK and internationally by introducing new topics, texts and pedagogies into classroom settings. It will also aim to generate further meaningful educational, cultural and social benefits for 16 to 18-year-old learners as well as increase public awareness and interest in South African literary cultures. 

The team's co-investigators are Simon Stanton-Sharma, programme leader for MA Drama Production for Film, TV and Digital Media at the University of Salford, Maire Tracey, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for MA Documentary Production for Film, TV and Digital Media at the University of Salford, and Andrew van der Vlies, Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, Australia. The project's affiliates are Dr Emma Barnes, Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the University of Salford, Dr Hannah Helm, Impact and Engagement Fellow at the University of Salford and Sanja Nivesjö, an Associate Senior Lecturer at Uppsala Universitet, Sweden.

Since the inauguration of the South African Modernism 1880-2020 project in 2021, the team have delivered over 170 hours of teaching, workshops, podcast production and training to over 1300 students and teachers from both the UK and abroad.

It has engaged academics through notable articles in English: Journal of the English Association in 2021 and English in Education journal in March 2024. 

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