I am Professor of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham, and specialise in nineteenth-century French poetry and music. My research explores ways of writing about word-music relationships (in poetic language, and critical theories and methodologies), focusing on poets such as Gautier, Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Mallarmé, and all types of music from classical (vocal, choral, orchestral/instrumental) through to chanson and contemporary pop genres including electronica and gothic rock.
Working on poetry and music means I am involved in a number of collaborations with other musicians and academics. Some of the key people I work with are the Oxford Lieder Festival and the SongArt research group.
My research and other academic roles mean that I am particularly interested in the wider reach of academic research (often known as ‘impact’) and ways of achieving this through (social) media, collaborations with creative industries / practitioners / artists, and community workshops.
Alongside researching and teaching, I am also committed to promoting the study of Modern Languages at all levels.
I was previously Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Sheffield (2012-2016) and Lecturer in French (and Head of French) at Bangor University (2006-2011). I conducted my PhD research at King’s College London (2003-2006, funded by the AHRC), following on from an MA (also at KCL, 2002-2003, also funded by the AHRC). In between my undergraduate studies in French and Italian (Christ’s College, Cambridge 1997-2001), I worked as an MA analyst for Lazard investment bank in the City.
This is a research blog which sets out to explore my personal research interests and collaborations. My professional page, including publications and contact details, can be found on the University of Birmingham website: Professor Helen Abbott