Discover more about our past student-led research clusters.

Figures in the Landscape

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
  • 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 a

  • The Eden Project
  • The Coleridge lectures
  • The Bristol Green Capital partnership

Read more about Figures in the Landscape

Follow on Twitter: @inthelandscape

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Rethinking Community

Rethinking Community is a network of researchers whose research interests, projects, methods, and/or backgrounds broadly interact with the idea of community. The cluster welcomes researchers of all disciplines and time periods. It encourages us to think critically and reflexively about:

  1. Conceptual and methodological concerns, acknowledging our identities, biases, assumptions, and power when working with/researching communities
  2. ‘Community’ as a broad and messy term/activity
  3. Ideas of togetherness, inter-relationality and sociality

The cluster asks:

  1. How do politics, culture and society affect and shape our ideas of community?
  2. How can we enact systemic change to move academia to a more equal, diverse, and inclusive community?
  3. Who is left in and who is left out? And who is using/projecting these terms?
  4. What methods can we use to explore community? How can we sensitively explore this concept?
  5. What benefits can it bring to impact-focused academia?

The cluster runs a range of activities, including monthly discussion groups and work-in-progress sessions. For the academic year 2021-2022, they are planning a seminar series of guest speakers and are looking to establish our own blog. We also host regular coffee mornings to check in and chat with colleagues!

All welcome! Please get in touch at via

Cluster lead

  • Nyle Bevan-Clark (University of Southampton)

Follow on Twitter: @swwdtp_rcn

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Gender and Sexuality

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

Cluster leads

  • Abby Ashley (University of Bristol)
  • D’Qrill (University of Bristol)

Read the Gender and Sexuality blog

Follow on Twitter: @swwgender

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Understanding Change

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.

Cluster leads

  • Mark Higgins (University of Bristol)
  • Elisa Ramirez Perez (Cardiff University)
  • Maria Rupprecht (University of Bristol)

Follow on Twitter: @changecluster

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Pre-modern Encounters

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.

Read the Pre-modern Encounters blog

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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?

Read the STEAM blog

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Theory and Research in Practice (TRIP)

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?

Read more about the TRIP Cluster

Follow on Twitter: @TRIPcluster

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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.

Read the Embodiment blog

Follow on Twitter: @EmbodimentDTP

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Translation, Representation, Adaptation and Mobility (TRAM)

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.

Follow on Twitter: @TRAMcluster

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Politics, Community, Culture

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?
  • 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.

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