James Walker's role is to teach and facilitate learning in Humanities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and to contribute to the development, assessment and management of academic courses with a focus on digital humanities, civic engagement and employability, in addition to undertaking relevant developmental, research, commercial and consultancy activities.
James's specialism is digital storytelling with an emphasis on multi-collaboration across media platforms. He is developing modules at NTU that enable students to be actively involved in the conception and production of his digital literary heritage projects, such as ENGL30512 English and Creative Industries Project, an alternative to the traditional dissertation. A previous project, Dawn of the Unread, created placements to over 120 NTU students and won the Teaching Excellence Award at the Guardian Education Awards in March 2015.
James is passionate about Nottingham’s literary history and has written about this for the Guardian , Independent , The Space, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4.
He currently teaches on three dissertation modules:
- ENGL30512 English and Creative Industries Project
- ENGL37605: Creative Writing Dissertation
- MCLT34000 Media Dissertation
He also teaches on ENGL20715 Literary Cultures and HUMS20112 Humanities at Work
The below list relates to some of the literary and heritage organisations James has worked with.
- Archivist, D.H. Lawrence Society (2017 - present)
- Organisation Committee, East Midlands Heritage Awards (2017 - present)
- Director, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature (2015 - 16)
- Ray Gosling Archives (2014 - 2016)
- Chair, Nottingham Writers' Studio (2012 – 2015)
- Director, Nottingham Festival of Words (2012 – 2014)
- Alan Sillitoe Committee (2011 – 2013)
- Literature Editor, LeftLion Magazine (2004 - 2016)
James produces innovative and multi-collaborative digital storytelling projects focussed around Nottingham's literary history Paul Fillingham. He describes his work as digital literary criticism. These include:
- D.H. Lawrence: A Digital Pilgrimage (2018 - ) To celebrate the life of D.H. Lawrence, a nomadic and controversial writer, James is creating a travelling memory theatre that will retrace Lawrence’s ‘savage pilgrimage’ and self-imposed exile. The memory theatre will tell Lawrence’s life through artefacts, thereby offering an alternative narrative to the traditional biography.
- Whatever People Say I Am (2017 –) James is currently editing scripts for an online graphic novel created to dispel myths around identity and challenge stereotypes. This is a follow-up to Dawn of the Unread.
- Dawn of the Unread (2014 -) a graphic novel that was created as a response to alarming literacy statistics in the UK and the closure of libraries and independent bookshops. This award-winning project was central to Nottingham’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature. It also pushed the medium of comics by including embedded content. This provided additional context to the panels in the form of video, audio and essays.
- Being Arthur (2014), the first live 24-hour Twitter presentation of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning for the Being Human Festival.
- The Sillitoe Trail (2012 -2013) was a commission for BBC/Arts Council England's multimedia platform The Space. It explored the enduring relevance of Alan Sillitoe's debut novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958) and was voted in the Top Ten of their content.
Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD in the School of Arts and Humanities exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.
For the past decade James has worked voluntarily for various literary organisations, helping to promote and celebrate Nottingham’s literary history. His personal highlight was being part of a consortium of literary organisations who successfully bid for Nottingham to be accredited as a UNESCO City of Literature in December 2015. He is currently working with the D.H. Lawrence Society, helping to develop Lawrence’s former home, Breach House, into a cultural heritage space to be used by arts communities, and digitising their archives. James is passionate about heritage and helps to organise the bi/annual East Midlands Heritage Awards with his colleague Neville Stankley.
Sponsors and collaborators
Current and recent research is being conducted with the collaboration, funding and / or support of:
- The Sillitoe Trail. Walker J and Fillingham P, 2013, Think Amigo, Apple Store
- Dawn of the Unread. Walker J and Fillingham P, 2017, Spokesman Books
- The Long Silver Legs After Midnight. Walker J, Hearing Voices, 2011, Crystal Clear Creators, volume 3
- The Three And A Half Day Parent. Walker J, Route Offline: A Festival Of Short Stories, 2008, Route
- Trying To Find Van Breukelen. Walker J, in (ed) Daley I, Ideas Above Our Station, 2006, Route
- The Cocco-Bella Man. Walker J, in (ed) Daley I, Wonderwall, 2005, Route
- Why I Have To Wear A Pair of Wranglers Everyday For The Rest Of My Life, While I Live On This Street, Walker J, in (ed) Daley I, Naked City, 2004, Route
- The Housewives Tale, Walker J, in (ed) Hazelwood R, York Tales, 2004, Endpapers
- Hamadrayus Baboons and Lisa Lashes, winner Jo Cowell International Short Story Contest, 2003
- Time to Ditch the Traditional Essay! Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, Volume 11, Number 2, 1 September 2018, pp. 267-273(7)
- Dawn of the Unread: A Manifesto, Durham University Beyond Crisis: Visions for the New Humanities, Walker J, 8-9 July 2014
- Le Parkour: The Body as Politics. Walker J, The Public Sphere, Dec/2009
- Chav: The Emergence Of A New Identity. Walker J, Interstice, 2008 1 (1)
- The Hummer: The Return of the Hard Body. Walker J in (eds) E Cardenas, E Gorman, The Hummer: Myths and Consumer Culture, 2007, Lexington Books (USA)
James has been writing about Nottingham’s literary history for the past decade for a variety of publications and has helped form the strategy for various literary organisations, such as Nottingham’s UNESCO City of Literature bid. He is particularly interested in the relationship between digital and literature, digital literary criticism, social media, and literary heritage.