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Personal profile


I work across the critical, cultural, heritage and creative sections in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing and have an interdisciplinary profile researching and teaching with colleagues across the HUM faculty and beyond. Prior to UEA, I held a Lecturership at the University of Nottingham, was the Bloomfield Visiting Fellow at the University of Harvard, USA, and held a Medieval Academy of America grant at SUNY, Binghamton, USA. The Queen's University of Belfast is where I completed my BA(hons), PhD and PGCHET.

Key Research Interests

Interests include medieval and early modern literature, contemporary creative and cutural responses to the premodern, critcal heritage studies and Medical Humanities. In particular, digging deep into Norfolk's early archives enables me to shine light on the untold stories, through inter-disciplinary approaches and practice-led methodologies. The 15th to 17th century Paston Letters are my primary focus at present.

Impact legacies are evident through 'Paston Footprints', a civic heritage partnership programme with over 60 organisations, of which I am Co-Director, with Dr Knee. Winner of the First Nature 2023 Prize and UEA's Innovation and Cultural Impact 2022 award: Dr Karen Smyth: Paston Footprints - YouTube, co-productions have resulted in immersive Heritage Walks | Paston Footprints and an interactive Paston portal at: This Is Paston: Welcome to the World of the Pastons New research-led practice is focusing on how people with disabilities often have a unique lens to interpret spaces, through their embodied, sensory and situated knowledge, see: Exploring Health through the Medical Humanities - CreativeUEA 

As Co-PI (with Professor Andrew Power, Southampton) of the AHRC 'Preserving Place' project, I researched the intangible community health benefits of heritage projects. Prior research included the relationships of place and identity through the impact of collective heritage storytelling in my work on the AHRC ‘All Our Stories’ project with UEA’s landscape historians. This had built on a decade's experience of multiple community co-production projects on East Anglian authors. My first monograph, a co-edited collection (with Prof. Isabelle Cochelin, Uni. of Toronto) and numerous articles, examined medieval and modern transitions in culturally constructed time expressions in fourteenth and fifthteenth century literature.

Teaching Interests

The creative-critical interface in my research informs my teaching practices. Currently, I teach on the year one literature modules, and convene a final year module that explores how a medieval legend, King Arthur, is culturally translated across the centuries. I also supervise dissertations. My interdisciplinary teaching includes 'Digital Storytelling' and the MA in Medical and Health Humanities

Postgraduate Research Opportunities

Please get in touch to discuss potential MRes or PhD supervision. Successful completions I have supervised have been in Late Medieval literature, Medievalism, creative-critical and critical heritage. 

Administrative Posts

LDC International Placements Co-ordinator, 2023 - ongoing
LDC Library Liaison, 2019 - ongoing
Personal Advisor, 2007 - ongoing
Eastern Arc Digital Humanities UEA Lead, 2015-18
HUM Research Ethics Committee, 2016-17
University Data Management Committee, 2014-16
LDC Public Engagement Director, 2014-15
LDC Promotions Committee, 2014 - 15
Medieval & Early Modern seminar series organiser, 2012-14
CHASE (PhD consortium) Medieval & Early Modern UEA lead, 2012-14
Q300 (BA English Literature) Course Director, 2008-12
Erasmus Co-ordinator, 2012
LDC Plagiarism Officer, 2011
Level 4 Curriculum Review Committee, 2011-12
Q200 (Comparative Literature) Course Director, 2009
LDC Disability Officer, 2008-10

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities