The Research Centre for the Humanities (REACH) allows colleagues working broadly within humanities to come together to develop research questions, provide a basis for grant applications across a range of funders and allow greater collaboration across subject areas.

We aim to make innovative, interdisciplinary connections across the College and University as well as enabling smaller groups to come together to plan and develop research goals. Our work is applied and sensitive to the needs of the wider community, committed to providing high-quality research as a way of solving real-world problems.

We promote and celebrate research in humanities, which is broadly defined as the study of human culture(s) using methods which may be theoretical, critical, empirical or combinations of all of these. Rather than be tied down to self-limiting definitions, we are outward-facing and welcoming in our collaborations with a range of partners who might benefit from research areas and methodologies more traditionally used by humanities scholars.

To that end, we position our work as ‘public humanities’, undertaking research that has a direct and meaningful influence on people’s lives.

Centre director: Dr Abigail Boucher

Research Centre for the Humanities

Research areas

Major Research Areas
  • Digital Humanities
  • Public Humanities
  • Medical and Health Humanities
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Humanities and Education
  • Archival, museum, and heritage sectors
  • Media Studies
  • Creative Practice and Industries
Ongoing Projects
  • Genre, Pacing, and Narrative in Police Missing Persons Appeals (with the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics)
  • The Aston University Archives Exhibition
  • Reading Habits in the COVID Pandemic - An Applied Linguistic Perspective
  • British Transport, Engineering, and Modern History
  • Save Me From My Shelf literature pedagogy podcast
  • Counter-technologism in France, 1920-1945
  • Birmingham, Racial Capitalism, and the Slave Trade
  • Decolonising Business Ethics Teaching Through Film: An Accessible Library
Steering Committee
  • Dr Abigail Boucher (English, Languages, and Applied Linguistics) 
  • Dr Joseph Yannielli (Politics, History, and International Relations) 
  • Dr Marcello Giovanelli (English, Languages, and Applied Linguistics) 
  • Dr Annette Rubery (Development & Alumni Relations) 
  • Paula Ghintuiala (English, Languages, and Applied Linguistics) 
  • Dr Vidu Badigannavar (Work and Organisation, Business School) 
  • Dr Chloe Harrison (English, Languages, and Applied Linguistics) 
  • Chinazor Kalu (Informatics and Digital Engineering) 
  • Christina Matthews (Director of Student Experience) 
External Advisory Board
  • Prof. Jaipreet Virdi, University of Delaware (Medical Humanities) 
  • Dr Zoe Bulaitis, University of Birmingham (Public Humanities) 
  • Prof Meredith Martin, Princeton University (Digital Humanities) 
  • Dr Natalia Ermolaev, Princeton University (Digital Humanities) 
  • Dr Carol Chiodo, Harvard University (Librarian for Collections and Digital Scholarship) 
  • Prof. Claude Willian, Rowan University (Digital Humanities) 
  • Dr Shantel Edwards, Writing West Midlands (Creative Practice)

Affiliated research groups

Digital Humanities Research Group

Our world is in the throes of an unprecedented digital revolution with a profound and ongoing impact on culture, economics, politics and social organisation. The Digital Humanities Research Group unites academic and professional staff, postgraduate students, researchers and teachers across Aston University who are interested in new and emerging technologies and their impact on the human condition.

  • How have artificial intelligence, big data and social media shaped our understanding and experience of the past, present and future?
  • How are novel digital methods and practices, such as crowdsourcing, distant reading, interactive databases and virtual learning environments challenging or disrupting traditional modes of research and teaching?
  • What are the economic and intellectual consequences of mass digitisation and algorithmic data mining?
  • How have new forms of online communication and information sharing altered ideas and expectations about privacy rights and data protection?
  • What forms of digital literacy are necessary to navigate the information age?

We engage with these and other questions from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives, including business, computer science, English, history, law, linguistics, politics and translation studies. For more information, please contact the current group leader.