Arts and Humanities Department Update

Back to “Alumni Section Addenda”

Last Updated: June 15th 2018

The Department of Arts and Humanities brings together the four subject areas of Drama, English and Creative Writing, History, and Theology and Philosophy.

Staff in the Arts and Humanities Department have long been proud of their research and we continue to develop our research strengths. Historian Dr Emma Folwell has recently received a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to the USA and in June this award will be formally recognised at a reception in the US embassy in London. By winning this prize Emma joins a small, highly-distinguished band of scholars and she will have the opportunity to teach at Elon University, North Carolina during the academic year 2018-19. In English, Dr Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s poetry collection, Swims, was highly commended in the Forward Prize and Dr Ian Cawood, Head of History, has won a British Academy Rising Star Award for his work on corruption in nineteenth-century Britain. This research profile will play a key role in Newman’s plans to achieve Research Degree Awarding Powers (RDAP) and will continue to boost our growing numbers of MA, MPhil and PhD students.

Our teaching programme grows from our research and enables us to offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. At the annual ‘Excellence Awards’ ceremony, organised by the Students’ Union, Drama won the prize for Best Department and David McLoughlin, Senior Lecturer in Theology, was given the award for always putting students first. This is a fitting tribute to David who will be retiring later this year after a long career of ‘putting students first’. We are sure that many alumni remember him fondly and will want to wish him a happy and fruitful retirement. Building on these teaching strengths we are currently developing new programmes. We now have a Foundation Year in the Humanities enabling students to study a broad programme in the first year before going on to specialise in a named degree and this will be running from September 2018. We are also in the process of developing BA Liberal Arts, an exciting new programme which will bring together the shared interests of staff across all of the subject areas.

The Department maintains excellent external partnerships with, among others, the Birmingham and Midland Institute, Black Country Living Museum, Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Queen’s Foundation and Writing West Midlands. Drama maintains a prominent profile in the City through regular student performances in professional spaces, and through CADLab’s innovative hospital bedside theatre work, supported by BBC Children in Need.

Dr Fiona Reid was appointed as the Head of the Arts and Humanities department in January 2018. She has previously worked at the University of the West of England, the University of Cardiff and the University of South Wales (previously the University of Glamorgan). She is an historian of modern war and medicine and has published widely on shell shock and facial injury in the First World War and on refugees and Displaced People in the Second World War. Most recently, she has published Medicine in First World War Europe: Soldiers, Medics Pacifists (Bloomsbury, 2017). Fiona is interested in developing the alumni network to support current and newly-graduated students so if you are interested in remaining an active part of Newman University please contact her on

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