The Letters and Photographs of Charles Dickens: Private and Public Exposure of the Celebrity Persona

Impact: Cultural Impact, Economic Impact, Quality of Life Impact, Societial Impact, Other Impact

Description of impact

This research, based on the Dickens Letters Online Project (, and on journal articles, raises the profile of Dickens as a celebrity persona in the public domain. Peaking at the time of his sesquicentenary (2020), it generates heightened interest in his cultural legacy in new and unique ways. Exhibitions staged both in Britain and abroad, combined with unique, free-to-access digital resources, based on the author’s personal letters and photographic portraits, serve to activate the general public concerning the cult of celebrity, and also highlight key contributions to visual and communication technologies. The impact carries benefits for tourism, creates economic prosperity, and inspires both those interested in humanities and in STEM.


A pilot exhibition was held in Carrara, Italy in July 2017, to coincide with the Dickens Fellowship international conference.
A second pilot exhibition is being held in Tübingen, Germany, in July-August 2018, to coincide with the Dickens Society Annual Symposium.
Visitor Survey data is being captured from these exhibitions.

Large-scale public exhibitions are planned for 2020 at the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Charles Dickens Museum in London.
Impact statusIn preparation
Impact date01 Jan 201731 Dec 2020
Category of impactCultural Impact, Economic Impact, Quality of Life Impact, Societial Impact, Other Impact
Impact levelEngagement