We define narrative very broadly and are concerned with examining it as a structuring mechanism across multiple media and disciplines. We are also interested in exploring how narrative interacts with and impacts on cultures and communities.  As an interdisciplinary research centre we bring together a range of diverse approaches and methodologies from members across the University.

NCCR book covers
Recent books by NCCR members

Formerly a research cluster in the Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community, since its inception in 2008 the Narrative Research Group (NRG) has provided an inclusive and supportive space for staff, ECRs and PGRs from multiple disciplines who approach narrative from a range of methodological, critical and creative perspectives. The new Centre, launched in 2019, provides an organisational structure for members’ research and professional practice activities, including funding bids, publications, seminars, workshops, and conferences. It also aims to ensure that the development of research proceeds in a strategically informed way, providing support for individual researchers and encouraging new initiatives.

Literatures and Laws Symposium 2024 Call for Papers

Black and white photo of stone posts leading to dark path and lit lamp post

Call for Papers: Literatures and Laws

A one-day symposium hosted online by Bournemouth University, UK, held on 13th April 2024. 

Department of Humanities & Law, and Narrative, Culture, and Community Research Centre

‘Literatures and Laws' considers law as literature, and law in literature. The first considers how law constructs narratives to make sense of and process non-legal events and experiences. Thus personal experiences of an event or dispute with another have to be translated into their legally relevant features so that a legal narrative can be constructed. Additionally, barristers when presenting a case in court seek to build a narrative to persuade juries. The second explores how law, courtroom spaces and rhetoric, justice, and legal systems and infrastructure (and their associated politics) are represented in (or excluded from) literature.

At a time where legal frameworks and understandings are increasingly contested, it is important that we consider how storytelling enables to the law to operate and how storytelling represents law and affects our understanding of law. An important component of a successful judicial system is the general trust the public have in that system. We want to explore both legal and literary perspectives on how that trust relates to storytelling and fictionality, and how both fictional literature and law construct stories about us as participants within a legal system. 

At Bournemouth University, literature studies and law sit within the same department; inspired by this contiguity, we are inviting research and/or creative papers that explore the ways storytelling and narrative intersect within representations of law, justice, and legal systems. 

Broad themes considered within the symposium, then, may include but are certainly not limited to

  • Law and literary genre, for instance papers that focus on representations and significant instances or structures of law and legality in crime and detective fiction, Gothic and historical fiction, procedurals, ecological fiction
  • Inventions of law and legal systems in speculative fiction
  • Courtroom drama
  • Law, politics, and the state in literature
  • Historical case studies
  • Precedent and storytelling: Cases as links in a storytelling chain
  • Lay terminology to legal terminology: Lay and legal understandings
  • Genres of law: Conceptualising law as genre
  • Storytelling conventions in strands of law: Criminal, civil and human rights
  • Fictionality and media framing of law: Sensation, celebrity and perception

Please submit a 200-word abstract for a 15-minute presentation and a brief biographical note to [email protected] no later than February 22nd 2024. You may direct general queries to the same address.

Keynote speakers:

Professor Hywel Dix (Bournemouth University, NCCR member)
Hywel is interested in the relationship between culture and social and political change, especially in relation to political devolution in the 4 nations of the UK, as well as autofiction and cultural memory. Recent publications include Compatriots or Competitors: Welsh, Scottish, English and Northern Irish Writing and Brexit in Comparative Contexts (University of Wales Press, 2023). 

Dr Caroline Derry (Open University)
Caroline Derry joined the Open University in April 2017. She is a senior lecturer in law, teaching subjects including criminal and evidence law. Her other roles include Law School EDI Champion. 
Caroline qualified as a barrister, practising in criminal defence law, and as a solicitor in a large, central London legal aid practice. She then taught for fifteen years at London Metropolitan University, where she was a senior lecturer in criminal and evidence law and gender & law, and course leader for the LLB Law. She has been a visiting lecturer in criminal law at SOAS and at Paris Descartes (Masters in Common Law).

Symposium organisers

Dr Rebecca Mills is Senior Lecturer in English and Communication at Bournemouth University. Her publications include work on crime and detective fiction, particularly of the interwar era. Please contact Rebecca if you have any questions about developing a literary topic for the symposium: [email protected]
Dr Samuel Walker is Senior Lecturer in Law at Bournemouth University. He researches the notion of embodiment in law, and how literature explores our understanding of law and justice. Please contact Sam if you have any questions about developing a topic on law-focused topic for the symposium: [email protected]

Recent projects

DRIVE (Digital Reading for Inclusivity, Versatility and Engagement)

DRIVE is a new network that brings together academics, NGOs, stakeholders and practitioners from Kenya and the UK to explore the impact and application of digital technologies for development challenges in Africa.

Picture credit – Worldreader

The network brings together academics, industry, NGOs, policymakers and practitioners from Africa with UK partners to maximise digital technologies to address development challenges including health, energy and accessibility to online resources. Bournemouth University (UK) are working in partnership with the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Kenya), Chuka University (Kenya) and Worldreader.

Find out more about this research


Project PI Professor Bronwen Thomas has recently been the receipient of a prestigious award for her academic research work on literacy in the digital age. The announcement was made at the World Literacy Awards hosted by the World Literacy Foundation with 5,300 attendees from 52 countries who joined the online ceremony. Find out more and watch the World Literacy Awards 2021 ceremony.

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