Research Clusters

SWW DTP students participate in cross-disciplinary research clusters to extend their research development and training beyond each programme’s immediate research field. The clusters have been developed around themes and questions of wide resonance that will enable cross-disciplinary dialogue and knowledge exchange.

How the research clusters work:

  • SWW DTP research clusters are student-led, with academic support and advice.
  • Students can get involved with multiple clusters.
  • The clusters are adaptive to the needs of each cohort and we encourage students to set up new interdisciplinary clusters based on their research interests. The DTP is currently supporting ten clusters, six of which were student-designed: ‘Memory Studies’, ‘Gender and Sexuality’, ‘Embodiment’, ‘Figures in the Landscape’, ‘Translation, Adaptation, Representation and Mobility (TRAM)’ and ‘Politics, Community, Culture’.
  • Students engage in discussion and debate across institutional boundaries using the SWW DTP’s research cluster Facebook group and at the biannual cohort days.
  • Students organise and run research cluster activities and events, with academic and DTP admin support where needed.
  • The cross-disciplinary activities bring together students, academics and representatives from our external partners to interrogate topics and resources of common interest.
  • Possible activities include conferences, workshops, seminars, poster sessions, screenings, public events, performances, visits and walks…the list goes on!
  • Students apply to the SWW DTP for funding to support activities.


Current SWW DTP research clusters

How is change conceived, imagined, experienced and evaluated?

‘Understanding Change’ examines a question at the heart of much Arts and Humanities research: how, why and with what effect does change occur?

Discussion explores political, social, economic and cultural transformation in the past, present and future and critiques theoretical and empirical approaches made across disciplines.

Twitter: @changecluster

How have pre-modern ideas and materials been received and reinterpreted over time?

‘Pre-Modern Encounters’ considers conceptual and practical approaches to materiality, to the identification and interpretation of heritage objects, and the imperative for a productive exchange between academic and public priorities.

Pre-modern Encounters blog

How have, and will, the arts and humanities inform our understanding of science and technology?

‘STEAM Subjects and Objects’ considers to what extent scientists learn from researchers in the arts and humanities, and how might the arts and humanities be used as a way of communicating and thinking about scientific discovery?

STEAM blog

What can theory learn from creative practice and vice versa?

‘Theory and Research in Practice (TRIP)’ explores the following questions: what is the nature of practice as research? Is it different from practice-led research or creative practice research? To what extent can creative and critical research practices be understood as forging a new paradigm for knowledge generation?

TRIP Cluster website

Twitter: @TRIPcluster

Created by our students, this interdisciplinary cluster brings together scholars across the arts and humanities to analyse how events are remembered and memorialised. Addressing topics including history versus memory, collective memory, memoryscapes, trauma, national identity, counter-memory, commemoration, and museum studies, the research cluster seeks to understand the impact of memory on culture, society and politics.

Memory Studies website

Twitter: @MemoryStudiesSW

Created by our students, the cluster explores gender and sexuality related themes across a range of disciplines.

Gender and Sexuality blog

Twitter: @swwgender

Created by our students, the cluster takes the body as its theme and embraces it in all its different modes of being and ways of being studied. This includes:

·         Body as the third-person object of science or other analytical studies

·         Body as the grounding of first-person experience and action in practice based subjects

·         Body as a conduit between the human and culture in the social sciences.

The initial key research focuses identified, include:

·         The relationship between mind, body and world

·         How we experience our embodiment through both the senses

·         How mind and body can be alienated from one another through new media and virtual platforms.

Embodiment blog

Twitter: @EmbodimentDTP


This research cluster draws together a number of interconnected ideas and concepts, including: ecocriticism, animal studies, landscape history, theories of place, topography and cartography, nature at war, field work, conservation and heritage, farming and agriculture, soundscapes and acoustic environments, theories of dwelling, landmarks and mark making, edgelands, marginal territories, raw materials, paths and tracks, landscape and labour, rural and folk culture, localism, environmentalism, and material culture.

The aim of the cluster is to explore the relationship between human beings and the natural world over time, across disciplines, and beyond the confines of academia. It assesses the impact of humans and animals upon the environment, and examines cultural representations of what has come to be known as ‘landscape’. One aim of the cluster is to build on the reputation of the South West as a locus of environmental activism and green ideas, as exemplified by initiatives such as the Eden Project, the Coleridge lectures, and the Bristol Green Capital partnership.

Figures in the Landscape website

Twitter: @inthelandscape

The ‘TRAM’ cluster’s core aims are to consider notions of translation, representation, adaptation, and mobility in increasingly globalised settings. Given the ever-changing current political climate, the cluster comes together to look at different modes of (self)-representation, and how these have been embodied and re-fashioned primarily in literature, visual culture, social media, and the press. Today’s radically shifting political contexts and ideologies make the values of this cluster all the more relevant and engaging.

Twitter: @TRAMcluster

The ‘Politics, Community, Culture’ cluster focuses on political/politicized communities and cultures, as well as the politics of culture and community more broadly. The cluster aims to bring together interests in grassroots organizing, identity construction and collective narratives. These can be formed in different localities, and in response to different political events, movements and processes.
The cluster asks questions such as: what does it mean to be political and how do we become politicized? In what ways are political communities formed and what kind of stories do they offer? How do we examine their experiences? Why has this focus on culture and community gained traction in recent political discourse? And how do we position ourselves as political beings within our research?
The cluster explores these themes through a variety of approaches, ranging from participatory, practice-led and community-based methodologies, to those more conventional in academia.


The SWWDTP is proud to support two journals that have been designed and created by members of our student body.

Question is an academic journal designed for mainstream audiences and funded by the SWW DTP. Twice a year, the team publish a selection of new essays, creative writing, art and research drawn from over two hundred early career academics and writers. Their contributors include historians, literary critics, playwrights, artists, archaeologists, poets, musicians, philosophers, scientists, lawyers and linguists from universities around the UK.

Twitter: @QuestionJournal

Gendered Voices is the magazine of the Gender and Sexuality cluster.

Twitter: @swwgender

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