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English and Creative Writing

Photo of Dr Lucy Mercer

Dr Lucy Mercer

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (RENEW)


Lucy Mercer is a Postdoctoral Fellow whose creative-critical research practice will inform the Communities strand of RENEW. Her debut poetry collection Emblem (Prototype, 2022) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was featured on BBC Radio 3. Her poems have been published in magazines such as Poetry Review, Poetry London and The White Review, and essays in Art Review, Granta and others. Her doctoral thesis devised a speculative philosophy of obscurity in relation to early modern emblems.

Lucy's research interests include contemporary literature, material histories and neglected artefacts, visual cultures, ecological thinking. She often collaborates with visual artists and is currently working on several interdisciplinary projects concerned with poetics, literary value and material histories. Before joining Exeter, Lucy taught creative writing and visual cultures at Goldsmiths and University of Westminster.

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My research interests are interdisciplinary; contemporary literature (with a focus on poetry, critical poetics and the cultural production of poetry), material histories, visual cultures, critical theory and ecological thinking. My doctoral thesis developed a speculative philosophy of obscurity in relation to early modern emblems, focusing on emblems' materiality and relation to biodiversity, and I frequently collaborate with visual artists to make text-image works. 

I am currently researching the environmental and cultural histories of wax, mortality and the properties of solid-fluids through a creative-critical lens.

Research through practice

Most of my research outputs are informed or driven by creative methodologies and practice-based research. 

Research collaborations

My current research collaborations are:

- Contemporary literature

The Leverhulme funded project 'Poetry and Indiscipline', for which I am a Co-Investigator. 

Co-editor and co-presenter of a forthcoming Royal Society of Literature funded podcast and publication: Too Little/ Too Hard: Writers on the Intersections of Work, Time and Value.

- Text-image works

Previous work with visual artists includes collaborative works for Glasgow International, Koppe Astner and Kunstverein Freiburg, the pamphlet Renewal (Kelder Press, 2021), as well as making candles as art-objects (Croydon Candles).

- Cultural Geography

I am currently considering the properties of solid-fluids and the relation of wax to ice and heat, as well as everyday environments.

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I am open to discussing research proposals on any relevant subject. I am especially happy to consider working with candidates with interests in the following areas:

  • Poetry and poetics
  • Environmental humanities
  • Visual cultures
  • Creative-critical practices
  • Material histories

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