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Research Associate (Black British Children's Literature)

Requisition ID:  7961

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Part Time
Posted Date:  11-Jun-2021


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: £30,942.00 - £44,045.00 

Closing Date: 20 June 2021

The role


The School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics is seeking to appoint a postdoctoral Research Associate to undertake a project that will expand and enhance the work of Black British and children’s literatures at Newcastle.  The post is funded by the British Academy and aims to build on the School’s world-leading research in the areas of African-Caribbean, Black Atlantic, Black British, South Asian and anti-colonial literary/cultural production as well as upon the ongoing collaboration between Newcastle and Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books. 

The successful candidate will work under the guidance of British Academy Global Professor Karen Sands-O’Connor within or across one of these research areas, on a discrete research project that aligns with at least one of the following:

  1. Archival Pathways: this project will develop research pathways through the archives at Seven Stories, particularly the Valerie Bloom, Grace Hallworth, and/or John Agard and Grace Nichols material, and will help to organise a symposium on ways of exploring race and diversity in archives and museums.
  2. Young People’s Regional Reviewing Project: this project will consider underrepresentation in the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children’s book medals, in terms of racial diversity in books and young people’s voices in the medal judging process, particularly through the use of tool kits for shadowing groups.

Our expectation is that the research – which will be mentored and supported by Karen Sands-O’Connor as the PI of the larger British Academy project – will lead to high-quality outputs as well as to one or more applications for substantial external research funding.


About us: The Children’s Literature Unit (CLU) at Newcastle University (Children's Literature - English Literature, Language and Linguistics - Newcastle University (ncl.ac.uk)) is an internationally leading centre for children’s literature studies, focusing on archival and historicised approaches. It sits within the School of English, ranked 3rd in the UK (1st for impact) at REF2014.  Newcastle University has an established collaboration with Seven Stories, the UK’s National Centre for Children’s Books. The two organisations play a national role in shaping academic and public understandings of children’s literature. They work together to build the national collection, and to engage the public through innovative exhibitions and outreach programmes.  Additionally, the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics has key research strengths in Postcolonial and Black Atlantic literature (https://www.ncl.ac.uk/elll/research/literature/postcolonial/).


The School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics actively encourages applications from Black and minority ethnic candidates.  All applicants should feel free to communicate to the selection panel circumstances that have had an impact on their career path, including those related to Covid-19 restrictions. Newcastle University is committed to developing a fully inclusive global University community in which staff and students from all sectors of society can thrive equally. See the University’s institutional EDI strategy here: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/media/wwwnclacuk/whoweare/files/NU%20-%20EDI%20Strategy%2028022020%20FINAL%20w.Logo.pdf


For further inquiries please contact Professor Karen Sands-O’Connor, British Academy Global Professor of Children's Literature at karen.sands-o'connor@ncl.ac.uk  or Professor Jo Robinson, Head of School  at jo.robinson2@newcastle.ac.uk 


This post is part time at 50% fte and fixed term for 12 months duration.


Key Accountabilities


  • To develop an original research project leading to high quality research outputs
  • To contribute to one or more applications for external research funding
  • To expand, connect and enhance the work of Black British and children’s literatures at Newcastle
  • To contribute to engagement/impact activities relating to the School’s partnership with Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books

The Person


Knowledge, Skills and Experience (Essential)

  • Research interests which demonstrably align with one of the two designated research themes.
  • Firm and feasible plans for a substantial, rigorous and significant research project that aligns with one of the designated research themes.
  • Understanding of the importance of the wider significance of research on children’s literature/Black British literature.
  • Excellent organisational abilities and time management skills, and the ability to prioritise workload and work to deadlines.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with a wide range of different audiences.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience (Desirable)

  • Experience working in archives or with archival materials.
  • Experience of contributing to or writing applications for research funding, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Experience of working with non-academic partners for the dissemination of scholarly research and the development of impact commensurate with career stage.
  • A track record of high quality research publication commensurate with career stage.

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Ability to work independently as well as part of a team.
  • Willingness to engage with both academic and non-academic audiences.


  • PhD awarded (in a relevant subject area).


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


The School holds a bronze Athena SWAN award in addition to the University’s silver award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 7961