British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow
Greg Thomas is a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow, undertaking a three-year research project (2014-17) entitled "Judgements and Sentences: Politics in the Life and Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay". Between 2009 and 2013 he completed an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at Edinburgh University, in conjunction with the Scottish Poetry Library, on concrete poetry in England and Scotland, focusing on the work of Finlay, Edwin Morgan, Bob Cobbing and Dom Sylvester Houédard. He previously completed a BA in English Literature at Sussex University (2003-2006) and an MPhil in Culture and Criticism at Cambridge University (2008-2009).
4th Year hons/ Msc option courses
Greg's research focuses on how writers and artists since the early twentieth century have explored the intersections between literature and other media - visual art, music - especially through the avant-garde and modernist movements of the 1950s-70s. He is especially concerned with the ideological stances which underpin such explorations: the understandings of subjectivity, communication and societal organisation that they correlate with.
His current programme of research focuses on political commitment in the oeuvre of the Scottish poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006). It is anchored in a focus on Finlay's public conduct - his actions, demonstrations, communiqués, denunciations - as a primary aspect of his creative practice. Planned outcomes include a monograph and conference.
Greg's PhD thesis provided a broad and context-specific narrative of the practice of concrete poetry in England and Scotland between 1962 and 1975. He is currently converting it into a book manuscript.
Other ongoing research interests include the manifestation of regional identity in British literature and art of the 1950s-70s, especially in the late-modernist verse associated with the British Poetry Revival (ca. 1960-75), and how these identities relate to recent spatial and temporal expansions of notions of modernism.
Across 2015-16 Greg co-organised, with Alex Thomson and the Scottish Poetry Library, the seminar series From Renaissance to Referendum: Poetry Culture and Politics, held at the Scottish Poetry Library and supported by the British Academy and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Edinburgh University. In 2014 he was on the editorial board for a special issue of the journal Ecloga focusing on new work in modernist studies, edited by Andrew Campbell and Dorothy Butchard. Between January and March 2012, Greg staged the exhibition Beauty, Happiness and Play: Ian Hamilton Finlay, Edwin Morgan and UK Concrete Poetry at the Scottish Poetry Library. He has also organised various performances and discussions of concrete and sound poetry at the library since 2009, and between 2009 and 2012, helped to catalogue their collection of Ian Hamilton Finlay ephemera. In September 2011, he co-organised, with Lila Matsumoto and Samantha Walton, the Edinburgh University-sponsored conference ConVersify: Poetry, Politics and Form.