John Thompson
1991 …2023

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Chair of English textual Cultures; Director, Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities.

Research interests include early book history and the history of printing and publishing; English literary production and reception, c. 1300-1600; anglophone Ireland, c. 1300-1800; textual editing and textual afterlives


For appointment, please contact the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities Office. Tel: +44 (0)2890 97 2524


Research Statement

  • Much of my most recent recent research activity has been collaborative, inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary in nature since I believe in the challenges and possibilities of research cross-fertilization.
  • I am a founder member of The Irish Humanities Alliance ( ) which was formed in September 2013. It is a joint initiative of Humanities researchers within eleven higher education and research institutions, including all of the universities, North and South, Dublin Institute of Technology and the Royal Irish Academy.  The IHA is working to generate public awareness of the importance of humanities teaching and research in higher education and society at large. It is concerned also to inform and shape public policy in both jurisdictions and in the EU.  Our aim is to engage productively with policymakers and funders in the wider interests of the university systems in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Disciplinarity and Collaboration in Research: before the Medieval and after the Post-Modern 

  • I have no difficulty in justifying my current research role as a twenty-first century medievalist in Belfast where our Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities supports a strong team of similarly-minded colleagues and students who need little or no persuading of the cultural importance of re-membering the past, working comparatively and collaboratively, and learning how to understand where we come from with appropriate humanity and humility. Through the Institute (http/, we will always welcome academic and other vistors who share some or all of these interests and goals and who want to learn more about the nature and impact of our latest research and projects in collaborative Humanities.




  • Building on the success of both projects I am now an editorial board member of the JISC-funded project:  'Manuscripts Online: Written Culture 1000-1500' (


New Communities of Interpretation: Contexts, Strategies and Processes of Religious Transformation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.

This Action aims to coordinate research activities being currently developed at several European universities and research institutes and create a (virtual) centre of expertise for the study of religious culture in late medieval and early modern Europe, a period traditionally depicted as one of great cultural discontinuity and binary oppositions between learned (Latin) and unlearned (vernacular) and ecclesiastical hierarchy and the lay believers. Challenging stereotypical descriptions of exclusion of lay and non-Latinate people from religious and cultural life the project will concentrate on the reconstruction of the process of emancipation of the laity and the creation of new "communities of interpretations". The Action will therefore analyze patterns of social inclusion and exclusion and examine shifts in hierarchic relations amongst groups, individuals and their languages, casting new yet profoundly historical light on themes of seminal relevance to present-days societies.


The research and postgraduate experience for medievalists in the UK and Ireland

I am an enthusiastic co-director of the 'Quadrivium' initiative that brings together senior and junior colleagues across a number of UK institutions and disciplines with the express intention of supporting postgraduate and postdoctoral research and training in medieval and early modern English textual cultures. 'Quadrivium' was originally funded by the AHRB Doctoral Training Scheme (3 years with colleagues from QUB, Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow (host), York, and Queen Mary, University of London).  For further details see




Medieval literature

Codicology and book history

History of editing, publishing and reception

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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