Call for Expressions of Interest to Join the IES Advisory Council

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Located in Senate House, Russell Square, the Institute of English Studies (IES) is one of the nine specialist Institutes that comprise the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS). Specialising in the humanities with core funding from the Higher Education Funding Council, the School has a mission to sustain research in its component disciplines, facilitate humanities research nationally, act as a centre for the humanities worldwide, and support, supervise and train postgraduates.

Each institute operates autonomously within the School. Each has an independent Advisory Council composed of academics in the discipline concerned and organisations related to it such as libraries, subject associations and connected professions. The Chair of the IES Advisory Council is Professor Dinah Birch, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Liverpool.

The composition of Advisory Councils follows SAS guidelines and members are appointed by the Dean. The structure includes four places reserved for academics in English from the colleges affiliated to the University of London, and five places for academics in English based across the UK (not including representatives from subject associations). As SAS’s remit is national, it is particularly important that the IES Council has strong representation from across the UK which is broadly representative of the large range of institutions and specialisms that contribute to English as a discipline.

The IES Council is looking to recruit new members due to periodic retirements and, in this call, invites expressions of interest from potential members in two categories:

  1. Three representatives from UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from outside the University of London. NOTE: early career researchers are encouraged to apply.
  2. A postgraduate representative currently studying for a doctorate in English at any UK HEI. (A second PG member will be recruited in 2018.)

In making new appointments, the Advisory Council will seek to achieve as much balance as possible in terms of HEI type and location, subject specialism and equal opportunity criteria such as gender or ethnic background. We are especially keen to recruit at least one early career researcher under category one. There are currently two non-London members serving on Council. They are Professors Ian Gadd (Bath Spa) and Greg Walker (Edinburgh).

The role of the Advisory Council is to: offer impartial advice on strategy, policy and operations, and on any issues that may arise from time to time; give assurance that the Institute’s operating plans are achievable; and ensure that IES remains in touch with key developments in the discipline nationally and internationally. The Council also offers advice on the IES’s academic functions, monitors its national role, and acts as a sounding board for new plans and ideas.

Council meets three times a year in London; meetings last around two hours. Members are expected to be in attendance at each meeting. Reasonable travel expenses, and if necessary accommodation, are covered subject to University of London financial regulations. HEI members will serve for three years in the first instance with the possibility of one renewal; postgraduate members serve for two years. 

Expressions of interest in the role are invited by a closing date of Monday 20 February. You should send a brief letter and a short CV (no longer than three pages), outlining your reasons for applying, relevant experience, and an indication of the qualities you feel you will bring to the role. These should be sent to the Institute Administrator Christopher Adams at

Criteria for selection will focus on the strengths of individual applicants but also include those mentioned above in order to create a Council balanced as far as possible in terms of HEI type and location, specialism, and diversity of membership. IES recognises that early career applicants are unlikely to have as full a range of experience and achievement as more senior colleagues and this will be recognised in selection.

If interviews are required, they will be held on 10 March 2017 in London.

For informal discussion of the role, you might approach the Chair of Council Professor Dinah Birch ( or the IES Director Professor Rick Rylance (

There will be separate calls for new members in other categories later.


About the IES

The IES has a core of permanent academic staff and growing body of postgraduate actvity, as well as an extensive Fellowship, both established and visiting. The breadth of expertise among the Fellowship enables support of a considerable range of research in English Studies. Staff research in IES has distinctive strengths in a number of areas including all aspects of the history of the book, the history of publishing, the history of reading, palaeography and textual editing. IES is currently looking to expand its work in digital scholarship in collaboration with other institutes across SAS. It runs a highly successful MA in the History of the Book, the flourishing London Rare Books School, and summer schools in palaeography and the work of T. S. Eliot. It is looking to develop these and other programmes. Overall, IES is looking to expand the range of its activities under its new Director, Professor Rick Rylance.