Exploring literature, film, media and other forms of culture within and across disciplinary boundaries.

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The Culture-Media-Text Research Centre formalises a broad range of Arts-based research.

Research strengths

  • Ethnicity and representation
  • Gender and sexuality
  • National identity
  • Cultural icons
  • The links and relationships between literary, material and visual culture

Researchers in the Centre were also instrumental in the establishment of Winchester University Press.

The centre hosts visiting lectures and performances, as well as an annual symposium exploring a topic of current critical interest from interdisciplinary perspectives.

News and events

VariAbilities Conference 2023 unites human sciences with humanities

VariAbilities is a gathering of disability studies scholars and other medicine and health scholars from around the world. An inclusive event, the organisers go to lengths to make sure that all of the participants and attendees are comfortable with the format and location. The theme of this year's conference is "Bridging the Gap: Bringing the Human Sciences together with the Humanities" and will take place at the Hunterian Collection of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, in collaboration with the University of Winchester, on 19-21 July 2023.

To find out more, see the tabs below.

2023 CMT Symposium 'Identities, Borders, Communities'

The Culture-Media-Text Research Centre invites colleagues and research students to share their research at this hybrid symposium on 20 April 2023. The loose theme of ‘Identities, Borders, Communities’ is intended to be as open and inclusive as possible.

CMT expert draws on own experience to tell story of 18th-century academic

The life of a blind professor was the focus of a talk by Prof. Chris Mounsey, Professor in Eighteenth-Century English Literature, at Wellcome Collection on 25 October 2022. Chris, who is  partially sighted, drew on his own experiences to tell the story of Nicholas Saunderson, who was a Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University between 1711 and 1739.

In his talk The Blind Teacher, Chris explored a set of lecture notes by Saunderson on Isaac Newton's 'Principia Mathematica', held within Wellcome Collection, Denis Diderot's 'Lettre sur les Auvergles', and Saunderson's own 'Elements of Algebra'. As well as revealing how Saunderson helped his students to think about mathematics in a spatial way, Chris also introduced his own concept of 'variability' as a way of understanding disability.

The Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library that aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health.

Chris said: "I am proud to have been asked to speak at the Wellcome as part of their exhibition In Plain Sight, which explores the experience of blindness. I am also delighted that my Access to Work research associate Stan Booth will read my lecture before I answer questions on it, just as Nicholas Saunderson always taught with his demonstrator, Mr Williams, at his side."

Chris and Stan are currently organising the 2023 VariAbilities conference, in collaboration with the Hunterian Collection at the Royal College of Surgeons. The Call for Papers is now open. To find out more, see the tabs below.

The lecture The Blind Teacher is now available for catch-up via this link and below.

CMT Spring Symposium 2022 explored Nature, Culture and the Arts

The latest CMT symposium focussed on the intersections between Nature, Culture and the Arts. It took place take place on 20 April 2022, in the run-up to Earth Day on the 22nd. For full details, see below.

Meet the Convenors

Dr Daniel Varndell, Senior Lecturer in English, Co-Convener

Prof. Laura Hubner (Film and Media), Co-Convener

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News and Events

VariAbilities Conference 2023: Call for Papers

VariAbilities is a gathering of disability studies scholars and other medicine and health scholars from around the world. An inclusive event, the organisers go to great lengths to make sure that all of the participants and attendees are comfortable with the format and location. This year's conference theme is "Bridging the Gap: Bringing the Human Sciences together with the Humanities".

VariAbilities 2023 will take place at the Hunterian Collection of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, in collaboration with the University of Winchester, on 19-21 July 2023.

What does the body mean to you?

How do we understand our bodies? Our own bodies might be the first we experience as children, but how do we use this lived experience to understand the bodies of other people? The bodies of everyday folks we meet on the street, bodies that may range from healthy to diseased, able to disabled, sports fit to couch potato, real to represented, cared for to cared by, and everything you can think of in between—how do we think about people who are like us but also somehow different? What knowledges do such encounters between variAble bodies create? 

Our conference location, the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, has at its heart the anatomy and pathology collections of the eighteenth-century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter. The venue invites us to encounter the full range of humanity that has been and is still the subject of study, and exhibition. But what is this study, this exhibition? 

As John Hunter suggests: “Some Physiologists will have it that the Stomach is a Mill; others, that it is a fermenting Vat; others, again that it is a Stewpan; but in my view of the matter, it is neither a Mill, a Fermenting vat nor a stew-pan, but a STOMACH, Gentlemen, a Stomach.” We all have experience of a stomach, but embedded in Hunter’s statement is metaphor (the object of study of the Humanities) and an apparently directly understandable truth (the object of study of Science). Is there a discussion possible between the way we, as lay people and as surgeons, understand one another?

In this conference we turn explicitly to the experience of specific and variAble bodies and their humanity. The conference itself will give space for papers about individual bodies in their particular histories, approached from whatever methodology seems to be the most appropriate, written in common language that all may share. The histories may be any, from classical antiquity to the contemporary, and the methodology of approach from contextual to theoretical, or whatever combination of these.

Please send your proposal (300-500 words) by 8th January 2023 to chris.mounsey@winchester.ac.uk and stan.booth@winchester.ac.uk.

CMT Annual Symposium, 20 April 2022: Intersections between Culture, Arts and Nature

The University of Winchester Culture-Media-Text Research Centre hosted a one-day symposium on ‘Intersections between Culture, Arts and Nature’.

The recent lockdown saw many of us finding solace in the natural world for its restorative attributes, and nature has long been celebrated and exploited as a unique selling point by marketing and advertising industries as a signifier of untainted health, wellbeing and truth. This symposium seeks to explore our changing relationship with nature and our place within it, encouraging an interdisciplinary focus on diverse identities from local, national, transnational and global perspectives.

‘Nature’ has long found expression through literary, sensory, material and audio-visual arts and media, just as cultural practices and texts channel meanings of ‘nature’ as both a sign of lost traditions and a force for regenerative progress or change. The arts redefine the natural world, creating new ways of framing and perceiving its qualities.

The symposium aimed to encourage conversations about new possibilities of sustainable media, accessibility and equality, and the relative impacts of cultural phenomena such as ‘rewilding’ or ‘living wild’. Through cross-disciplinary considerations of ecological/environmental concerns, looking at lifestyle and industrial structures and boundaries, together with cultural discourses and representations of ‘nature’ and ‘the natural world’, the symposium allowed space to reflect on these richly varied and complex human connections to nature, in the hope of instigating meaningful dialogue and change.

The symposium encouraged cross-disciplinary dialogues related to intersections between nature, arts and culture, including (but not limited to):

  • Conservation or Intrusion?
  • Ecocriticism/Theories of Nature
  • Equality and a ‘Just Transition’
  • Nature and Philosophy
  • Nature and the Pandemic
  • Nature as Brand/Commodity
  • Nature, Health and Wellbeing
  • Natural Limits: Borders, Lines
  • New Pastoral
  • Pollution
  • Representations of Nature/the Natural World
  • Rewilding/Living Wild
  • Science, Arts and Nature
  • Sustainable Media


Welcome and Opening Remarks (Laura Hubner and Daniel Varndell)

Marilene Cardoso Ribeiro (Visiting Research Fellow, University of Winchester and Visual Artist): ‘Photography-based Research and the Environmental and Political Agendas’

Panel 1, chaired by Daniel Varndell

Chris Mounsey (University of Winchester): ‘Sarah Hall, The Wolf Border: Fact and Fiction’

Gary Farnell (University of Winchester): ‘Organicism at the Intersection of Culture, Art and Nature’

Panel 2, chaired by Laura Hubner

Abigail Whittall (University for the Creative Arts and University of Winchester): ‘Monstrous Mycelium: Exploring the Contemporary Fungal Gothic in Resident Evil: Village (2021) and Mexican Gothic (2020)’

Daniel Varndell (University of Winchester)


Research Clusters

Film Cluster

The film research cluster encompasses a range of interests regarding a variety of filmic practices, diversely identified formally, stylistically, historically and/or with respect to national or trans-national structures and boundaries. Research undertaken and in process includes work on British and European cinema, classical and post-classical Hollywood cinema, African and Third Cinema, animation, film genre, film authorship, the intersection of film, politics and culture, and the larger theorisation and critical reception of the filmic medium.

In addition to individual and collaborative work published and presented at conferences and other symposia, members of the cluster have organised the highly successful international conferences 'Violent Film' (2006) and 'Framing Film: Cinema and the Visual Arts' (2009) at the University of Winchester.

Identity and Culture Cluster

Research in this cluster interrogates the representation and construction of identity across different cultural forms. We are particularly interested in cultures of ethnicity and the use of material and visual culture in connection with national identity, in examples such as Nigerian television and the official sanctioning of art-historical narratives in national portrait galleries and museums. Our approaches engage with debates over the trans-Atlantic and the post-colonial, and over gender and sexuality.

The Arts Council England-funded project The Boat, by Prof. Andrew Melrose and Jonathan Rooke, is an example of current topical research in this theme. A collaboration between the University and four primary schools, it is designed to show how the creative arts and education can help promote social justice on the subject of (im)migration and refugees. Visit the The Boat website.

Journalism, Media and Culture Cluster

The journalism and media research cluster encompasses media theory and critical investigation of contemporary journalistic practice.

Ongoing research projects include:

  • A volume on crime, capitalism and the media
  • A special issue on Brexit and the rise of populist celebrity politicians in contemporary Europe
  • A special issue on the TV show Friends
  • A book on Generation X and 1990s popular culture
  • A collection on Nigerian media
  • A monograph on media and information literacy in the 21st century

Language and Society Cluster

Research in this cluster focusses on the cultural aspects of language use in constructing and defining identity.

Current projects include:

  • Research into contemporary performances of medieval drama
  • Identity construction through attitudes to language and dialect in NE Scotland and Bavaria

See also the Centre for Research into Language.

Literature and Culture Cluster

Research in this cluster explores the relationship between written texts and the cultures from which they emerge and within which they are interpreted. Viewing literature as one cultural practice among others, we are particularly interested in the relationships between literary texts and the following: urban space, globalisation, gender, and political activism.

Members of the cluster specialise in periods from the eighteenth century to the present, and in genres including literary naturalism, Jewish writing, detective fiction in literary, cinematic and televisual forms, and 'chick lit' and 'chick flicks' from Britain and the USA.