Research themes cover a wide range of topics, ranging from global challenges and internationalisation, to identity issues and cultural diversity.


Our work articulates the University’s research strategy and concern with global challenges and internationalisation.

Landscape with Arabic script carved into stone
Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) is the result of a UK government initiative to build crucial expertise on the Arab World.

We concentrate on the following areas:

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI)
  • Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW)
  • Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies (CEELBAS)
  • British Inter-University China Centre (BICC)
  • Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies (CTIS)


The School has world-leading strengths in the study of identity issues, and there are major concentrations of expertise reflected in our Centre for Jewish Studies and our Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture. 

Theme highlights:

  • Significant research council funding has been won for a project examining transnational queer identities.
  • We have important clusters of expertise in the study of memory and subjectivity, and in national identity and ethnicity in their historical, comparative and theoretical dimensions.
  • Our sociolinguists have produced some highly influential work on the relationship between language and identity.
  • Class, race and gender issues are central to some of the work carried out by historians and scholars of English and American Studies.

Linguistic and cultural diversity

We make a major contribution to research relating to the ecology of world languages, and to linguistic diversity in Manchester and beyond.

The Multilingual Manchester initiative offers innovative ways in combining world-class research, activities demonstrating social responsibility, policy-related knowledge engagement, and research-led teaching.

We secured major research council funding to support projects in the comparative study of European media representations of Islam, as well as contemporary Arab cinema and the role of translation in fostering citizen activism.

Artistic and cultural practice

Man at mixing desk
NOVARS current research strands include game-audio, space in large multichannel systems and interactive art.

Our innovative Centre for New Writing continues to be a leader in its field, benefiting from the presence of internationally famous writers such as Jeanette Winterson, and previously, Colm Toibin and Martin Amis, and offering a range of classes and workshops for aspiring writers.

In our Music Department, the NOVARS Research Centre leads the field in experimental, innovative work in electroacoustic composition.

Meanwhile, our national award-winning 'In Place of War' project features international networks of artists engaged in producing creative performances in response to war.

The Institute for Cultural Practices conducts ground-breaking practice-based research in museology and community arts, cultural management, the digital transformation of the arts and collaborative learning models.

Arts-Science synergies

We are progressing a number of significant initiatives aimed at exploring the potential for synergy between the arts and the sciences.

We have a well-established and growing reputation in researching the history of medicine from classical times through to the recent past and have strong links with the University's Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

We have begun exploring the potential for new collaborative work in the area of Archaeological Sciences, and in the interface between linguistics and cognitive psychology (we work with members of the Psychology Department with complementary interests).

John Rylands Research Institute (JRRI)

A collection in The John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library collections contain some of the most significant printed books and manuscripts ever produced.

The John Rylands Library is one of the country's five research libraries, whose extensive special collections have been designated by the Arts Council as being of outstanding national and international significance.

The University's John Rylands Research Institute, based in the School, enables library professionals, humanities scholars, and scientists from around the world to explore the hidden ideas and knowledge contained in the collections.