We will celebrate the discipline’s intellectual strength, diversity and creativity and explore its futures in the nations of the UK and across the world.

English: Shared Futures 2020
Manchester/Salford June 26-28th 2020
hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester, and Salford University.

Plenary Speakers are:

For Creative Writing: Kate Clanchy, MBE, award-winning poet and teacher

For Literature: Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights

For Language: a panel of Professor Devyani Sharma, Professor Jennifer Smith and Professor David Adger


Confirmed: Ali Smith reading from her last seasonal quartet novel, Summer.

Salon: David Crystal, Bart Van Es, Priyamvada Gopal, Sandeep Parmar , Barbara Bleiman

Focus on the link between secondary and Higher education

Lots of local involvement

Panels by and for ECAs

Many academic publishers coming

Bursaries available (thanks to English)

 An academic conference with a festival feel English: Shared Futures is the largest event for academics in English literature, language and creative writing. It is run by the major organisations of the discipline: The English Association and University English, and supported by the National Association of Writers in Education with Institute of English Studies and National Association for the Teaching of English.
English: Shared Futures 2020 will have 750 attendees (roughly a third of academics in English literature, language and creative writing in the UK).  There will be plenaries, salons, panels and sessions on emerging research and practice from across literature, language and creative writing. As the call for panels and papers demonstrates we also have some additional special themes.
There will be sessions on learning, teaching and pedagogy, and on aspects of professionalization.  We will be running our mentoring scheme; a strand of panels for, and organised by, early career academics; sessions organised by learned societies; attendance by major academic publishers and small presses; workshops on digital skills and technologies; panels on writing grant applications; sessions for Heads and colleagues at all career stages. We’re also keen explore alternative forms of scholarly engagement, such as shared readings; pop-up workshops; staged conversations; masterclasses; roundtables; interviews; dialogues; ‘research in progress’ sessions; ‘in situ’ events around Manchester; and any other new forms of event.
The first English: Shared Futures conference in Newcastle in 2017 had 600 attendees drawn from nearly every Department of English in the UK, over 150 panel sessions, with sessions from sixteen scholarly societies, and a vibrant cultural fringe (including readings from three poets laureate).  Stefan Collini wrote that the event “contributed to a real lift in morale”; Amanda Anderson praised the “extremely rich and important array of talks and sessions”; others found it a “field-defining event of huge significance at this political moment”.
English: Shared Futures
English: Shared Futures fosters inclusivity and diversity. We encourage representation and participation from minorities, and are proactively working to reduce physical, social, and economic barriers to participation, and to develop an environment rooted in equal respect for all.

The conference will include:

  • State-of-the-art research from all areas and periods of literature, language and creative writing.
  • Panels, salons, plenaries, work-shops, master-classes, research in progress sessions, and other forms of engagement.
  • Panels on pedagogy and professional development.
  • Dedicated strand on early career issues, organised by early career colleagues.
  • Leading plenary speakers.
  • Creative writing strand.
  • Celebrating collegiality across the range of the profession.
  • Exciting cultural fringe drawing on Manchester’s literary scene and heritage.
  • UK’s leading academic publishers and small presses.
  • Conference-specific mentoring scheme.
  • Making links between higher and secondary teachers of English.
Image of a Manchester skyline for conference registration.

The central venue will be Royal Northern College of Music, with further use of rooms at Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester and Salford University.


The conference is organized by the English Association and University English and supported by the National Association of Writers in Education, the Institute of English Studies and the National Association for the Teaching of English.