Nineteenth-Century Matters Fellowship 2020-21

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Nineteenth-Century Matters is an initiative jointly run by the British Association for Romantic Studies and the British Association for Victorian Studies. Now in its fifth year, it is aimed at postdoctoral researchers who have completed their PhD, but who are not currently employed in a full-time academic post. Nineteenth-Century Matters offers unaffiliated early career researchers a platform from which to organise professionalization workshops and research seminars on a theme related to nineteenth-century studies, and relevant to the host institution’s specialisms. The focus should be on the nineteenth century, rather than on Romanticism or Victorianism.

For the coming academic year, Nineteenth-Century Matters will provide the successful applicant with affiliation in the form of a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for Victorian Studies at the University of Exeter. The fellowship will run from 21 September 2020 – 1 September 2021. The fellow will draw upon and contribute towards the research culture of the CVS, which comprises one of the largest existing institutional grouping of nineteenth-century studies scholars in the UK. The CVS has an international reputation for its innovative, interdisciplinary and transnational research and teaching in wide-ranging aspects of nineteenth-century literature, media and culture. It comprehends the Victorian period in geographically and historically extensive terms; its researchers move beyond an island’s literature and culture to its global interdependencies and beyond Victoria’s reign to its antecedents and legacies.

In addition to intellectual exchange and collaboration, the successful fellow will benefit from the rich and extensive variety of sources relating to nineteenth-century literature, culture, and society held by the University of Exeter. The library has extensive primary holdings in nineteenth-century literature, poetry, history, and journals, together with large contextual holdings of more recent critical works. The collection is augmented by several major archival collections, especially the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, Hypatia Collection, and Chris Brooks Collection. The university has also invested heavily in large digital archives, including the British Periodicals Online, Victorian Popular Culture Portal and 19th Century British Library Newspapers.

This fellowship includes a University of Exeter e-mail address, and access to its library and electronic resources for the full academic year. Professor Paul Young, Director of the CVS, will also provide mentorship to the appointed fellow. There is no requirement to live in the Exeter area during this time. The primary purpose of the fellowship is to enable the successful applicant to continue with an affiliation and remain part of the academic community. It is a non-stipendiary post, and the fellow will need to support themselves financially during the academic year. The fellow will, however, be financially supported by BARS and BAVS with a £1,500 travel and research budget to help with the organising of a research and professionalization event on a theme relevant to Exeter’s collections and/or research interests. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this event is expected to be delivered online. It is also expected that the fellow will acknowledge BARS, BAVS, and the University of Exeter in any publications that arise from their position.

Application Process

Applicants should submit a CV with a two-page proposal of their research topic and event, and explain why they would benefit from the fellowship. Applicants who have pre-existing connections to the University of Exeter are welcome to apply, but they should explain what additional benefits they would gain from the fellowship. Applications should be sent to Briony Wickes ( and Paul Stephens (

The deadline for applications is Monday 31 August (23:59 GMT), and the decision announced shortly thereafter.