Newman’s Dr Burnett receives Research Grant Scholarship

13/09/2018 by Sinead Staunton

Dr Elizabeth-Jane Burnett of Newman University, Birmingham has recently received the news that she has been successful with her application to the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant Project.

The grants are available to support primary research in the humanities and social sciences and are one of the British Academy’s highest profile programmes with awards in 2017/18 made to academics working at around 100 institutions around the UK. In order to be successful in their application applicants must be postdoctoral scholars (or equivalent) and require the approval of their employing institution.

Dr Burnett is a poet and academic with a specialism in contemporary innovative writing and is also a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newman University. Dr Burnett’s poetry has been highly commended in the Forward Prize and the recent poetry collection Swims was a Sunday Times Poetry Book of the Year in 2017.

Dr Burnett was successful in her application to the British Academy, submitting a research proposal entitledCreative Writing on Climate Change: Moss, Wetlands and Women’.

The abstract of the proposal states: Climate change is an urgent environmental challenge, with flooding, drought, disease, famine and war set to escalate unless action is taken. One of the biggest, yet little-known, opportunities for mitigating the effects of climate change is the management of wetland environments. However, lack of wetland awareness means not enough is being done to safeguard them. I aim to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands through creative writing. Crucial to this will be a re-conceptualisation of beauty in the Anthropocene, elevating wetland landscapes to more appealing habitats, encouraging more people to think and care about them. Consultation with scientific experts will ensure the writing performs an educational function concerning the role of wetlands, while personal testimony from farming women, including women of colour, in wetland areas will add diversity to depictions of these environments.

On news of her successful funding application Dr Burnett comments:

“I’m delighted to receive this support and grateful to the funders. I believe that developing a wetlands literature with wide appeal could be a significant tool in mitigating climate change and as such is important work to be engaged in.”