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Collaborative Activity


Dr Miranda Anderson is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and an Associate Lecturer with the Open University in the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She is affiliated with the Mind and Cognition group in the Philosophy department at the University of Edinburgh.

She completed her MSc and PhD in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, after several years travelling and working in Europe and Asia, following on from her BA (Hons) in History at University College London. Her travel abroad has included several years in Japan, first as a Monbukagakusho Research Scholar, supported by the Japanese Embassy in London, and later as a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Dr Anderson was awarded an Early Career Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust in order to pursue work on a book, The Renaissance Extended Mind, which explores parallels (and contrasts) between recent philosophical theories on the embodied and extended mind and analogous ideas in literary, philosophical, and scientific texts circulating between the fifteenth and early-seventeenth century. 

Current Research Interests

Dr Anderson is currently working on a monograph exploring ideas of the mind and self in contemporary literature and culture, and has a related article forthcoming on Steve McQueen's Small Axe series.

She was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Art of Distributed Cognition project (£98,886) which involves a collaboration with Talbot Rice Gallery, and the creation of a contemporary art exhibition, The Extended Mind. The exhibition explores an array of ways in which aspects of the world beyond our brain, such as our bodies, objects, language, ideas, other people and environments can, and often do, expand our cognitive capacities. Along with the History of Distributed Cognition project, this provided an impact case study for REF 2021: Introducing Distributed Cognition to New Audiences (Changing how galleries and museums think about themselves and how people think about them).

Dr Anderson initiated and was a Research Fellow on the AHRC-funded project A History of Distributed Cognition (2014-18). The project explored the expression and suppression of the paradigm of distributed cognition from classical antiquity to the mid-twentieth century and she is an editor on the four volumes published by Edinburgh University Press (2018-20). 

Research Interests

Dr Anderson combines specialization in Renaissance literary, philosophical, and scientific texts, with a broader interest in investigating paradigms of the human mind and self across disciplinary and historical spans, along with related ethical issues.

She edited an interdisciplinary book on the history of the mirror as an object and as an image in art and texts, The Book of the Mirror. She has also published several papers on her research in Japan with Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro; these explore the implications of robotics for understandings of human nature. More generally, her recent publications examine relations between research in philosophy of mind and cognitive science and in the arts and humanities, and considers the ways in which these disciplines can inform each other. She is also interested in how the digital humanities can contribute to our reading of literary texts, particularly in terms of assessing the attribution of aesthetic qualities.

Research activity

As conceptual lead on the development of the prototype mobile and web app 'Palimpsest: Literary High Street' she came up with the idea for the AHRC-funded project. Palimpsest enables users to access fictional and historical texts set in Edinburgh either via the webpage or via their mobile while exploring the city. The outcome of this project, now renamed Lit Long, can be found here:​ . The project was awarded a British Library Labs 2015 Award for Research.

She was invited to particpate in Scottish Crucible in 2017, and in the inaugural European Crucible in 2021.

Research Groups

Dr Anderson was a collaborator on network grants funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the AHRC on the 'Cognitive Experience of Verbal versus Screen-based Narrative and the Potential Role of the Episodic Memory System'.

Dr Anderson was an Associate Researcher on The Balzan Project, based at St John's College, Oxford, and directed by Prof. Terence Cave. This interdisciplinary project explored the topic of ‘Literature as an Object of Knowledge’ and focused on cognitive approaches to literary studies. 


• Advanced Research Methods (SPS/EFI) Workshop

• Mind, Subjectivity and Literature

• Critical Practice: Performance

• Dissertation Supervision

• Shakespeare’s Comedies: Identity and Illusion

• Shakespeare: Modes and Genres

• MSc in Design and Digital Media

• Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities Workshops (2022, 2023)

• External Examiner, English Literature PhD, University of Strathclyde (2023)



Visiting and Research Positions

Dr Anderson will be an EFI Fellow at Edinburgh Futures Institute between September 2024 and February 2025. She was a Guest Lecturer, co-teaching a seminar on Nature and Poetry at Volda University College, Norway (2023) and on the Visual and Verbal Signs MA at Stavanger University (2022). She was an Anniversary Fellow in Philosophy and Literature (2018-21) and a Lecturer in English Literature (2021) at the University of Stirling. She was a Nominated Fellow at IASH from March to September 2018. 



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