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Digital Kent Writers Project

Finding New Ways to Bring Humanities Academic Research into the Classroom

SLBS in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University – Professor Carolyn Oulton.

What do we think we know about the history of local landscapes and how do conflicting perspectives alert us to gaps in representation?

The Digital Kent Writers Project is led by academics from the Centre for Kent History and Heritage, the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers and the Geography research group, at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU). By bringing together expertise from across Humanities and Social Science disciplines they aim to rethink the significance of historic events in the context of social and cultural change, revitalise heritage interpretations for modern audiences, and ultimately stimulate further research.

The project contextualises records of historic events and sets them against fictional accounts in order to ask new questions about the ways in which we interpret and represent the past. This study of Kent history and literature will include representations of: invasion, war, criminality, childhood, vagrancy, leisure, the railway and pilgrimage. But the options for making unforeseen connections are almost limitless.

As well as its social history, Kent has provided a focus for a number of writers, from the famous (Christopher Marlowe, Dickens, Somerset Maugham) to the forgotten (Gladys Waterer, Gabrielle Wodnil), across a range of genres from wartime adventure (John Buchan), seaside crime (Burford Delannoy), romance (Pamela Wynne) and comedy (Jerome K. Jerome’s account of bicycle riding in Folkestone is not to be missed).

Interdisciplinary dialogue lies at the very centre of our work with CCCU as we find new ways to bring academic research into the classroom – and then back out into the world. Academics from CCCU are working with Yr12 students at The Langton who are studying English Literature, History and/or Geography. They give lectures in their areas of expertise and also run workshops in research methods and encouraging students to undertake their own investigations in local archives in their work for their Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs).

by Professor Carolyn Oulton