Matthew Lear

Thesis title: Gathering the Mess: Repurposed Poetics and Anthropocene Time


Matthew studied English as an undergraduate at the University of Exeter, receiving the Dean’s Commendation for Exceptional Academic Performance. After working as an English teacher in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, he studied for an MPhil in English Studies: Criticism & Culture at the University of Cambridge.

He is a second year PhD student and his project on 'Repurposed Poetics and Anthropocene' Time is funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership. A recent Scotland-based scholar selected for the British Council’s international 'EARTH' scholarship programme, Matthew is also a convenor of the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network.


MPhil English Studies, University of Cambridge, 2021.

BA (Hons) English (1:1), University of Exeter, 2019.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Postgraduate Convenor - Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

SGSAH Doctoral Research Committee - Discipline+ Literature Catalyst

Assistant Editor - FORUM: Postgraduate Journal

Member - ASLE-UKI

Research summary

Matthew's research focuses on natural archives and the notion of ‘repurposed’ poetics, whereby writing is recycled – both textually and materially – to think more dynamically about environmental contexts. He is interested in how literature engages with the temporal and ontological theories generated within Anthropo-scene discourse.

Past research interests

Matthew has previously worked on the Philosophy of Attention in the works of Iris Murdoch, Miklós Vető, and Simone Weil. He has also presented conference papers on identity, property and infrastructural crises in Celtic Tiger Irish fiction.

Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship (2022-2026)

Past project grants

Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network PhD Lab - University of Edinburgh Student Experience Grant (2023)
Una Europa One Health Deep Dive Programme: KU Leuven, Belgium - University of Edinburgh Trust Fund Grant (2023)
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford - Research Grant: Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge (2021)


  • Una Europa One Health Deep Dive Summer Programme - KU Leuven, Belgium (31 July - 02 August 2023)
  • British Council SGSAH EARTH Scholarship Programme - Scotland (16th - 28th April 2023)
  • 'Thinking with Water: Climate & Colonialism' Launch - Paul Mellon Centre, Yale University, London (23 February 2023)

Papers delivered

  • 'Constructing Collapse' - What Happens Now: British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS), University of Birmingham (8th September 2023)
  • 'Thick Language and the Ecological Stuplime' - Transitions: ASLE-UKI, University of Liverpool (30th August - 1st September 2023)
  • 'Ghost Estates and Literature after NAMA' - Haunted Landscapes: Nature, Super-Nature, and Global Environments, Falmouth University (4th - 6th July 2023)
  • 'Housing and Infrastructure in Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones' - British Society for Literature and Science Annual Conference, Edinburgh Napier University (13th - 15th April 2023)
  • 'Housing and Infrastructure in Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones' - Work In Progress Papers: Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network, University of Edinburgh (24th March 2023)
  • 'Rewriting the House: Property and Institutional Crises in Post-Celtic Tiger Irish Fiction' - Graduate Research Papers: Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge (May 2021) 


In the press

British Council SGSAH EARTH Scholarship 2023 Report:

Co-organised Cove Park 'Retreat' - Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network:

Cove Park Artists Residency Profile: 

Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network Members: