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Name: Lauren Terry

PhD: Critical/Creative Writing

Thesis Title: Museums of Memory: Modernist Poetics, Psychoanalysis, and the Material Object


Thesis Description:

This creative-critical thesis examines the symbiosis of human memory and material objects in modernist poetry. The critical part of my study considers how modernist poets such as Eliot, Stein, Seiffert, Lawrence, Moore, and Loy structurally and linguistically exhibit the connection between object and associative memory in their work. For the creative component of my project, I will compose and curate my own ‘Museum of Memory’ as a poetry collection. Enacting Eliot’s ‘objective correlative’ (1921) – ‘a set of objects’ or ‘chain of events’ that may act as the formula of a ‘particular emotion’ in poetry – my poems consider how multi-sensory interactions with material objects trigger associative memory, and how this is documented in poetic language and form. My study of modernist technique will inform the composition of my poems, written in response to objects in museums, with a particular focus on materials preserved in a state of disrepair.

The project builds on my MA dissertation and my undergraduate dissertation, which received the award for Best Research Project in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Arts and Humanities. Whilst these projects deconstruct a human subject’s interior connection to their objects, this thesis will study the synergy between object, memory, and poetic language through psychoanalytic and affect theory. My project will connect Julia Kristeva’s Revolution in Poetic Language (1984), which offers a framework through which we may understand associative memory’s referential structure and its impact on poetic form, with recent work on the link between the body and emotion (Ahmed 2004, Massumi 2008). Linking psychoanalysis and affect theory to modernist poetics, my project therefore initiates a dialogue between creative and critical writing – interrogating the poem itself as a material object.

My project will additionally offer innovative ways of engaging audiences with museum objects, and the memories and emotions which they may evoke. Working across literary and heritage studies, I anticipate collaborating with local museums to curate exhibitions and deliver creative writing workshops or literary-inspired outreach events which may further engage visitors in their collections.


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr Sarah Jackson (NTU)

Professor Andrew Thacker (NTU)

Dr Andrew Taylor (NTU)



‘The Act’ & ‘Auto-Facial-Construction’, Bystander: An Anthology of New Writing (Nottingham: Laundrette Books, 2017)

‘Baggage Stowed for Take Off’ & ‘Foundations’, The Bystander Effect (Nottingham: UNiM Press, 2017)

‘Marina’, Woman (Nottingham: Mud Press, 2017)

‘Priority’, Restless Minds (Nottingham: Laundrette Books, 2015)

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

NTU Schools, Colleges, and Community Outreach Ambassador (2013 – present)

-          Designed and delivered creative writing ‘Taster Sessions’ for local primary and secondary school pupils

-          Supported annual outreach events such as residential summer schools and ‘Raising the Grade: English’

NTU Research Fair (2016)

-          Presented my undergraduate dissertation, The Nest: A Collection of Poetry and Critical Commentary

Recipient of the Carcanet/PN Review Award for Highest Achieving Student on Nottingham Trent University’s English with Creative Writing course (2016)

Awarded Best Research Project in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Arts and Humanities for The Nest: A Collection of Poetry and Critical Commentary (2016)

Co-editor of The Bystander Effect (Nottingham: UNiM Press, 2017) with Tuesday Shannon

Principal Poetry Editor for Nottingham Trent University MA in Creative Writing’s Bystander: An Anthology of New Writing (Nottingham: Laundrette Books, 2017)


Other Research Interests:

  • Modernist fiction  
  • Experimental forms & literary hybrids
  • Creative writing pedagogy

University email address:



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