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Summary: Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Reform and its impact on ecclesiastical and cultural life.
My research interests are chiefly in the Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Reform and its impact on ecclesiastical and cultural life. In studying the vernacular writings of Ælfric, I examine the ways in which he accessed patristic material through Carolingian compilations, his modes of composition, and his interaction with a complex and well-established intertextual tradition. These issue raise major questions about the way in which we identify and categorise sources, and lead me also to work on the manuscripts and textual traditions of the Anglo-Latin exegete Bede and Carolingian authors and compilers. I also work on the Reform consuetudinary, the Regularis Concordia, the interface between the monastic and secular church, and the work of bishops such as Wulfstan and Leofric. I was a founder-member of the Fontes Anglo-Saxnici project, and with Professor Malcolm Godden in Oxford held a three-year research grant for this project from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Find out more about the project from our website: http://fontes.english.ox.ac.uk/. This will also give you access to the current version of the database, which is searchable in many ways.
I gave the Toller lecture in 1996, the Jarrow Lecture in 1998, and the British Academy Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture at the British Academy in 2004, and in 2007 gave address on the contribution of the Anglo-Saxons to the development of European culture at the Treaty of Rome anniversary celebrations in Italy. The printed version of the Gollancz lecture (Proceedings of the British Academy, 2005) was awarded the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists' prize for the best article on any aspect of Anglo-Saxon studies published between 2005 and 2007.
At Leeds I have been Director of the Centre (now Institute) for Medieval Studies, Professor of Old and Middle English Language and Literature, Head of the School of English, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor. In 1993 I was elected to the Quatercentenary Fellowship at Emmanuel College Cambridge, and I have also held Visiting Professorships in the USA and Italy.
In 2001 I was appointed as founding Director of the Higher Education Equality Challenge Unit, a joint venture of the Higher Education Funding Councils in England, Scotland and Wales, the Department for Employment in Northern Ireland, Universities UK and the Standing Conference of Principals. I retired from the ECU in 2005, and then worked in an advisory capacity nationally and with the EU member states and the European Commission. At the same time, I remained very active in research, and my simultaneous appointment as Visiting Professor through to 2008 meant that the University of Leeds, through the School of English and the Institute for Medieval Studies, continued to be the base for my academic work.
The University awarded me the title of Emeritus Professor in 2008.
From 2000 to 2007 I served on the Arts And Humanities Research Council's panel for English language and literature, from 2004 to 2007 I was the Panel Chair and also Deputy Chair of the AHRC's Research Committee, and was subsequently, until the end of 2016, a frequent member and chair of the new overarching panels for grant awards and fellowships. Additionally, I represented the AHRC on the Management Board of the Arts and Humanities Data Service from 2003 to 2007. I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1997 and a Fellow of the English Association in 2001. In 2005 I was made an honorary life member of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, and in 2006 I was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford Brookes University.