Shelfie with Dr. Dave Forrest



I’m cheating a bit with my ‘shelfie’ because this is a less a shelf, and more a pile of books in my house. I’m currently on research leave (until February 2016) and, in an attempt to gain some focus, I’ve taken some key texts from my office at Jessop West to my home in Meersbrook, in the South West of the city. I’ve got a three bits of research on the go: a monograph (co-written with Sue Vice) about the Barnsley-born writer Barry Hines, most famous for his novel A Kestrel for a Knave; a volume of essays on cinematic representations of suburbia (co-edited with our very own Jonathan Rayner, and Graeme Harper who works at Oakland in the US); and a chapter for a book on class and TV drama that I’m co-editing with Beth Johnson (Keele University). These projects are united by my interests in issues of space and place, class, and everyday life (and lives) on British screens, and the books here reflect that. There’s also a fair bit on the ‘shelf’ from other disciplines like cultural geography, economics and sociology, and one of the pleasures of my leave so far has been rediscovering the joys of interdisciplinary thinking – drawing on insights from academic areas outside my own to ask new questions of familiar subjects.

Leave has been a good but slightly disorientating experience. After three pretty intense but very enjoyable years of teaching where I’ve been squeezing bits of research into the odd day here and there, having my focus solely on scholarship has represented quite a change from routine. On one hand, I’ve relished the opportunity to read and write in silence and solitude for sustained periods, and to find the space to think in the long term again, I’ve also loved being able to have more freedom over my time and structuring my work around keeping fit, which for me has meant playing more football and getting out into the countryside for runs in the daytime rather than at night. On the other hand, I’ve missed teaching (well, perhaps not the marking) and the joys of a good seminar discussion, and I’m really looking forward to bringing ideas from my research leave to the classroom next semester once I’ve got these projects out of the way – on that note, I better get back to the books…






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