Research Community and Regular Events

Regular events and networks can be a great way to connect with other researchers, sharing ideas and discovering new approaches. This page includes links and information about regular events, including groups that meet at different intervals throughout the academic year and are likely to be of interest to postgraduates in English Literature. If you would like to share a regular event or network on this list, please contact

The list below showcases postgrad-led initiatives, but there are also many department and school events throughout the academic year. These include our weekly Page Breaks reading group in English Literature, and regular events organised by research centres in EDACS. You can find out more about Page Breaks here, and follow @EDACS_UOB and check the EDACS Events listing page to find upcoming Research Centre events.

Further info

  • If you’re thinking of starting your own reading group, research network, or other activity, please see this advice page. In particular, you might find it helpful to reach out to one or more of the EDACS Research Centres for practical advice and support.
  • EDACS Research Centres events include visiting speakers, seminars, screenings, and other events. For a list of upcoming events, please see the EDACS Research Events page. To find out more about Research Centres in EDACS, browse details of different centres on the EDACS web pages.
  • Please note that due to Covid-19 some regular events have paused or have moved online – contact organisers to find out more about future plans.

Postgrad-led Groups and Networks

There are many fantastic postgraduate-led initiatives within English literature and beyond. Below you can find details of some groups and networks with regular meetings and updates.

CTRL Network (previously Contemporary Theory Group)

Timothy the Octopus (our old but not forgotten mascot)

This is a postgraduate-led theory-focused international network based in EDACS. If you are interested in contemporary theory, or just sharpening up on secondary reading for upcoming essays, articles, or presentations, we highly encourage you to join!

Email for reading list and more info:

Twitter:  @Theory_UoB

Forum and Discord Link:


GOTHICA is an interdisciplinary, postgraduate-led reading group interested in the ever-present role of the Gothic in popular fiction and culture. Texts will typically range from the nineteenth century to the contemporary as we trace the long history of the genre and its spectral appearance in fantasy, horror, and science fiction. We will meet once per month to discuss some short readings that explore a particular theme, subgenre, or context of the Gothic.

Reading will be circulated via email, please contact to be added to the mailing list. Please also look out for posts on the English blog and follow our Twitter @Gothica_UOB for more information. All staff and students welcome!

Study States

Study States hosts regular sessions where you can meet fellow researchers in all areas of American Studies, across literature, art, history, and any other discipline. In a friendly, informal environment, we’ll look at a specific theme or historical movement in American culture and unpack some key writing and art from that period, as well as discuss our own research, conferences, journals, and lots more. Refreshments will be provided! This is open to any postgraduate student, particularly if you’re working on a dissertation or thesis related to American studies!

If you want to know more, please email

PGR Feminisms


PGR Feminisms: examining feminisms in their diversity. A monthly 1-2 hour reading and discussion group covering aspects of academic feminisms and current affairs – for postgraduates and others! Starting mid October, we will be discussing short texts and excerpts which speak to feminist terminologies, but with some time to mingle also. The co-organisers, Marie and Alice, are PGRs from EDACS who are passionate about feminist discourse. Marie is working on the impact of psychoanalytic discourse on Virginia Woolf’s works with feminist, queer, and phenomenological lenses. Alice is studying anglophone poetries and contemporary pastoral aesthetics. We wish to foster a low pressure group with a zero tolerance approach in terms of hate speech. Concepts we wish to visit include terminologies like ‘intersectionality’, and ‘gaslighting’.

Please get in touch if you are interested in joining our mailing list! Email

Romance Reading Group


The Romance Reading Group runs bi-monthly, postgraduate-led sessions. These sessions will all focus on the undervalued yet meaningful popular genre: romance. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between romance and romantic fiction? Or questioned whether a romance novel can be feminist? Or speculated as to whether this genre is sexist, heterosexist or racist? Or pondered about the sexualisation of male predators? All these important considerations will be discussed, and potentially answered, in our free, helpful and fun reading group sessions. Our aim is to debate, analyse and discuss the history of romance and its’ impact on society’s culture today. We are meeting every two months, will provide snacks and, of course, stimulate your mind with thought-provoking, intriguing discussions all relevant to the brilliant genre of romance. So, no matter what stage you are in your academic careers (undergraduates, postgraduates, post-docs and staff) and regardless of your college or school, come along to one of our sessions and debate, analyse and learn about romance fiction, critics and theorists. Texts will range nineteenth-century fiction to contemporary literature and the theories we will discuss include feminism, queer and postcolonial.

Dystopias Reading Group


This is a postgraduate-led, text-focused reading group centred on the best genre of all literature: dystopian literature! Fascinated by the end of the world? Intrigued by totalitarian regimes? Enchanted by awful societies not too far from our own? Then this reading group is for you!

Please feel free to email the founder of the reading group, Liam, with any questions or queries that you may have. His email address is 


Play/Pause was initially born out of a desire from 3 postgraduate students to broaden the academic consideration of videogames and virtual reality across academic disciplines: away from the consideration of them as niche, relatively new technologies, towards mediums that have the capacity to encourage and create academic discourses that reflect the cultures they are created in: just as literature, film, music, drama and other mediums are considered to be academically viable aspects of culture, why can’t VR and videogames be, too?

We understand that new media studies and game studies have been asking (and answering) these questions for a number of years: we now want to bring these discussions to the University of Birmingham. Thus, we devised this new, extracurricular seminar series at the university in order to facilitate the discussion of two relatively new technological mediums.

Modern and Contemporary Forum


The MAC forum is part of the Centre for Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Birmingham, and is run by postgraduate researchers from a range of disciplines within the university.
The forum encourages discussion and networking across disciplines, and institutions, for those who have an interest in modern and contemporary history. The events hosted by the MAC forum are an informal space in which research can be discussed and shared – welcoming experienced scholars, early career researchers, and postgraduate students, the forum facilitates interdisciplinary discussion and debate.

Midlands Network of Popular Culture


An interdisciplinary group of students and researchers working within the sphere of popular culture. Primarily based in Birmingham, we aim to build an inclusive community throughout the Midlands whose areas of interest pertain, however broadly, to the study of popular culture, whether mainstream or alternative. The Network will be hosting a variety of monthly events, ranging from seminar-style workshops to larger forums. Through the exchange of ideas these events encourage, we will provide a much-needed space for those who feel that existing networks and research centres are too heavily predicated on periodisation or canonicity. The Network will be a space, not only for scholarly collaboration and debate, but for gaining friends and taking pleasure in a shared love of popular culture. 


EDACS Postgraduate Seminar

The EDACS Postgraduate Seminar is a postgrad-led initiative with  frequent meetings. To find out more about the EDACS PG Seminar, see the facebook page.

DH Lawrence Studies

Research network based at the University of Birmingham. We hold regular events and a monthly reading group. Join our mailing list: