Expanding the English Faculty’s Great Writers Inspire Podcasts: A Pilot Study
Oxford plays a starring role in the history of fantasy literature. A huge number of beloved fantasy authors studied or taught at the university over the course of their careers, including J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Alan Garner, and Philip Pullman, to name just a few. Fantasy is arguably one of the most important contemporary literary genres: extraordinarily popular, constantly expanding and diversifying, testing the boundaries of style, structure, and genre. Since 2018 the English Faculty’s fantasy research cluster, headed by Prof. Carolyne Larrington and Dr Stuart Lee, has sought to draw on Oxford’s rich resources to foreground exciting new work on fantasy literature and showcase new authors in podcasts, videos, and lectures accessible to the public. From The Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones to N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth Trilogy, Oxford faculty and students are producing a huge range of scholarly responses to field-defining fantasy.
This project begins a new series of the popular Oxford Fantasy podcast, featuring interviews and lectures with Oxford faculty and students, discussions with authors and archivists, and more. Watch this space for the publication of a comprehensive handlist of Oxford’s fantasy-related archival holdings, as well as the release of a series of teaching resource packs with assignments, lesson plans, and reading lists revolving around fantasy texts by Oxford authors, produced by project research officer Dr Caroline Batten.
This project also seeks to test drive a public engagement model for the English Faculty: mapping out the process by which a research cluster can streamline the creation of podcasts to increase public engagement with research, solicit contributions amongst research students and professional support staff, and engage younger students with Faculty research activities and resources. At the conclusion of the project, we’ll release a report and public engagement guide available to all members of the English Faculty, evaluating our project's workflow and impact and providing a blueprint for other research groups to create their own public engagement projects, including a guide to podcasting.
We are very interested in your feedback on the fantasy literature podcasts. If you are using them please take a few minutes to complete our survey at: https://oxford.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/oxford-fantasy-podcasts