Members’ Projects

Detailed below are projects, networks and events organised by members of our Centre with the intention of utilising, promoting and preserving archival materials and research. 

The Barry Hines Project

Led by Dr David Forrest and Professor Sue Vice from the School of English, this research project explores the works of the South Yorkshire born writer Barry Hines. Hines wrote novels, short stories, radio plays, stage plays, films and television drama. His most famous works are undoubtedly the novel Kestrel for a Knave (filmed as Kes [Ken Loach, 1969]) and the dark, apocalyptic TV play Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984) which won best single drama at the 1985 BAFTAs, yet his oeuvre is rich and varied and contains a number of lesser-known, but equally fascinating works of fiction.

The project makes use of the Barry Hines archive, held at the University’s Special Collections in the university library. The archive is a rich resource that gives a number of insights into the creative processes of Hines’s composition. It contains his primary research, newspaper articles, ephemera, letters, notes on meetings and draft or annotated versions of finished texts, as well as unpublished or unperformed plays and screenplays.

For more details visit the project website or contact Dr David Forrest ( and Professor Sue Vice (


Digital Folk

Digital Folk looks in detail at the uses, distributions and impacts of digital/digitised materials (e.g. recordings/transcriptions/manuscript reproductions) within England’s folk arts cultures. The research involves observing musicians and dancers as they utilise or otherwise engage with various materials, and moves towards building a picture of the ways in which users interact with different types and formats of resource.

It looks to understand how such materials impact on the ways in which folk musicians and dancers interact with each other, and considers the online networks and relationships that emerge between the practitioners, in order to discover how the sharing and exchange of such materials transform the social nature of folk culture. Finally, it examines the ways in which, and extent to which, digitally-oriented activities intersect with face-to-face “real-world” interactions, and how the modernity of such activities is accommodated within new concepts of “tradition”. The project aims to develop a new understanding of the ramifications of digital resources for development and change in the content, concept and practice of folk arts in contemporary England.

Digital Folk is a two-year research project (Nov 2014-2016), hosted by the University of Sheffield, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It represents an exciting new collaboration between scholars from different disciplines: Dr Simon Keegan-Phipps (Principal Investigator; University of Sheffield) is an ethnomusicologist with a research background in English folk music; Dr Cinzia Yates (Research Associate; University of Sheffield) is an ethnomusicologist and ethnochoreologist, with specialisms in Manx and Celtic music and dance; Prof David Gauntlett (Co-Investigator; University of Westminster) specialises in the study of online communities, digital technologies and their transformation of participants’ creative experiences


Follow us on:
Twitter: @DigitalFolkProj
Facebook: /DigitalFolkProj


Opening up the Archive: Cheap Print and Public Discourse, 1540-1789′

In July 2015, Dr Hamish Mathison, Dr Marcus Nevitt, Prof Cathy Shrank and Dr Adam Smith from the School of English will be running a series of three workshops for secondary school pupils in the University Library’s Special Collections Archive, looking at how its cheap, ‘popular’, and often ephemeral publications were used to convey ideas and instigate debate. Pupils will then work with Sarah Christie from Edge of the Universe Printing Press (a Sheffield-based DIY press) to create their own ephemera responding to the collection. The work produced will be showcased at an exhibition at the University in autumn 2015.