Professor Charles Mundye

Could you tell us about your contribution, Charles?Prof. Charles Mundye

The Professorship recognises my outstanding contribution to Academic Citizenship and Leadership (AC&L), Research and Innovation (R&I), and my significant contribution to Teaching and Learning (T&L).

I am Head of the Department of Culture and Media, and a world-leading expert in twentieth century literature and culture, focusing on Robert Graves and his wider circle. My leadership is underpinned by a belief in the transformational power of education for our students and communities, and everything I do as an academic leader relates to this.

I am President of the Robert Graves Society, and, since 2015, an elected Fellow of the English Association in recognition of my educational and scholarly contribution to the field of English. In all my university and external roles, it is important to me to encourage and enable excellence in the work of others in addition to striving for excellence myself. Looking back, I am particularly proud of an occasion when my contribution to scholarship and our Sheffield community came together through a talk I gave to the 2017 Off the Shelf Festival of Words on ‘Robert Graves and the Road to War’. This gave me a chance to present my research, and my edition of Graves’s War Poems to a large Sheffield audience, with illustrative poems read by actor and singer Natalia Farrán Graves, Robert Graves’s granddaughter. At the heart of my contribution is engaging audiences who would not otherwise think literature or universities are for them. A theme is clear in my trajectory: literature matters, engagement matters, and opening the riches of the University to those who do not traditionally have access, matters.

What does it mean personally to you to be a professor at Hallam?

I was the first person in my family to get A Levels and go to university, and it means a great deal to have this formal recognition of the transformative power of education on a personal level.

Tell us a bit about your career story so far.

I studied at the universities of Warwick and York and have lectured at King’s College London and the University of Hull, where for several years I was Head of English at the Scarborough Campus, and Deputy Head of the Scarborough School of Arts. I came to Sheffield Hallam in 2014 as Head of Academic Development for the Department of Humanities, and subsequently became Head of Humanities. I feel deeply privileged to be the first Head of our new Department of Culture and Media.

If you could go back in time and give yourself some career advice, what would it be?

It all goes very quickly, so make the most of every minute. Take more time to reflect, rather than just do. Have a medium and long-term plan and keep on top of it.

What’s next? How do you want to further develop your contribution?

Leading the new Department of Culture and Media, and enabling excellence in T&L and R&I across a complex portfolio will be a significant part of my contribution in the next few years.

I continue my work on Robert Graves and his wider circle, with particular focus on his large, and largely unpublished, correspondence, and I am planning the next International Robert Graves Conference, which will be held at St John’s College, Oxford in 2024.