We are extremely proud to celebrate the achievements of our new professors, whether they have been internally promoted or appointed externally. The inaugural lectures provide an opportunity for our most prolific and successful researchers to update us on their current projects and future research plans, and to share their research insights with the wider public. All lectures are free and open to all.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities are planning an extended series of Inaugural lectures for the academic year Sept 2017 – June 2018, follow us on social media or join our mailing list to receive updates and news.

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Past Inaugural Lectures

Term One:

Professor Dale Townshend - From ‘Castles in the Air’ to the ‘Topographical Gothic’: Architecture, History, Romance, 1760–1840

Date: Thursday 20th October 2016

Time and Location: Wine Reception at 5.00pm in Geoffrey Manton Atrium. Lecture at 6pm in Geoffrey Manton lecture Theatre 2, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6LL

Tickets: FREE – See Eventbrite for tickets 

This lecture explored that process in which Gothic narratives of the late eighteenth century, though once played out against the backdrop of imaginary ruined castles and abbeys in Continental Europe, eventually came to be set in the ‘real’ Gothic ruins of Great Britain.  It began with an account of Ann Radcliffe’s architectural imagination, and proceeded to map the concerted ‘relocation’ of the Radcliffean mode in the fictions of a number of lesser-known Gothic romancers, the lecture charted the aesthetic, political and ideological consequences attendant upon the shift from fictional ‘castles in the air’ to what it terms the ‘topographical Gothic’ between the years 1760 and 1840.

The respondent to this lecture was Professor Fred Botting (Kingston)

Fred Botting is Professor of English Literature at Kingston University, London. Prior to that he held Chairs at the universities Keele and Lancaster. He has published widely on Gothic Fiction and Literary Theory, including Making Monstrous,Gothic, and Limits of Horror.

‌Dale Townshend is Professor of Gothic Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University. His publications include Gothic: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies (with Fred Botting, 2004); The Orders of Gothic: Foucault, Lacan, and the Subject of Gothic Writing (2007); Gothic Shakespeares (with John Drakakis, 2008); The Gothic World (with Glennis Byron, 2014); Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic (with Angela Wright, 2014); Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination (2014); and Romantic Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (with Angela Wright, 2016). The recipient of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship (June 2015–December 2016), he is currently completing, among other projects, a monograph entitledGothic Antiquity: History, Romance, and the Architectural Imagination, 1760–1840.

This was event is part of Manchester Gothic Festival. See the full schedule of events here.

Humanity Hallows reviewed the event. You can read this here.

Catch up on all the action from Gothic Manchester 2016 on Storify.


Term Two:

Professor Julie Scott Jones - Tears, Tantrums and Quantative Methods: A Holistic Approach to Growing Students

Date: Monday 16th January 2017

Time and Location: Wine Reception at 5.00pm in Geoffrey Manton Atrium. Lecture at 6pm in Geoffrey Manton lecture Theatre 2, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6LL

Tickets: FREE – See Eventbrite for tickets


Tears, Tantrums and Quantitative Methods: a holistic approach to growing students

Quantitative methods is oft identified as a ‘hard to learn’ subject due to its numerical and technical content.   Therefore, students often struggle to engage with quantitative methods, which they easily stereotype as ‘maths’ and ‘irrelevant’ to their wider studies.  However, in this lecture Professor Scott Jones will examine some of the key barriers to learning quantitative methods and crucially will identify strategies for overcoming them.  Drawing on the work of the Manchester Metropolitan University Q-Step Centre, a holistic model for creating quantitative methods-competent and confident students will be explored.  The lecture will be illustrated with examples drawn from teaching practice with undergraduate students across levels and abilities.  

Professor Julie Scott Jones is Associate Head of Department and Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests fall into two main categories:  religious worldviews and identity, and teaching methods. Her focus is on improving the delivery and learning of research methods, specifically quantitative methods.  Professor Jones is currently engaged in two research projects that are looking at this issue.

The respondent to this lecture will be Professor Malcolm Williams, Director of the Cardiff University Q-Step Centre.

Malcolm Williams is Professor and Director at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences.  His interests are primarily in the area of research methods and methodology and he has published extensively in these areas.  His particular interests are in objectivity, causality and probability, representation and the pedagogy of quantitative methods.

Professor Jones will be introduced by Professor Helen Laville, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Professor Helen Laville is responsible for the long-term strategic vision on education at MMU, as well as contributing more broadly to the leadership and direction of the University. Professor Laville works on all aspects of MMU’s educational portfolio relating to the curriculum, student experience, student outcomes, pedagogy, partnerships, delivery and innovation, developing a transformational and world class educational experience that will enhance students’ career prospects.