In conversation with Dr Ruth Livesey

Ruth's background

Ruth developed a passion for reading Victorian Literature at a young age, having grown up in an area shaped by the history of that time, and she went on to study for a BA in English at Oxford.  She then moved into Women’s Studies at Warwick University for Masters and Ph.D. degrees, and is now a Reader in 19th Century Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she has worked since 2002.  Ruth is just about to complete research on her current project ‘Writing the Stagecoach Nation, 1780-1870’ for which she was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. She is also an Editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture.

Ruth's research

Ruth’s journey into academia first followed a very traditional route.  When she moved into Women’s Studies her research became more interdisciplinary, providing an insight into the differences in methodologies between different disciplines.  This interest in interdisciplinarity has also helped shaped her research and teaching, which although grounded in the close study of text, reaches out to larger political and social questions, as demonstrated by her current research which comprises a number of articles, including ‘Communicating with Jane Eyre: Stagecoach, Mail, and the Tory Nation’.

Becoming a Peer Review College Member

Ruth became a Member of the AHRC Peer Review College in April 2012.   Part of her motivation for applying was to draw on the skills employed in her ongoing editorial work at the Journal of Victorian Culture, and to extend those skills in a different direction, in a sense ‘giving something back’ to the process of peer review at the AHRC.

She hopes too that this process will be reciprocal, in that she will have the opportunity to share best practice with Royal Holloway, with a view to making a positive impact in the institution.

At a PRC Induction day Ruth met other College members from a variety of disciplines and remarked: ‘Attending such events outside your own Research Organisation provides a collective strength in research and perhaps the chance to be involved in the ‘strategic thinking of Arts and Humanities development’.

Ruth is also looking forward to acquire a greater understanding of the peer review process, from seeing how applications are put together, particularly with regards to creativity, and to being part of her first panel meeting.