Edinburgh Research Explorer

Greg Thomas

(Former employee or visitor)

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Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh
Concrete Poetry in England and Scotland, 1962-75: Ian Hamilton Finlay, Edwin Morgan, Dom Sylvester Houédard and Bob Cobbing
Master of Arts, University of Cambridge
MA in Culture and Criticism, Faculty of English Literature
Bachelor of Arts, University of Sussex


Greg Thomas is a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow, undertaking a three-year research project (2014-17) entitled "Judgements and Sentences: Politics in the Life and Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay". Between 2009 and 2013 he completed an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at Edinburgh University, in conjunction with the Scottish Poetry Library, on concrete poetry in England and Scotland, focusing on the work of Finlay, Edwin Morgan, Bob Cobbing and Dom Sylvester Houédard. He previously completed a BA in English Literature at Sussex University (2003-2006) and an AHRC-funded MPhil in Culture and Criticism at Cambridge University (2008-2009).

Research Interests

Greg's research focuses on how writers and artists since the early twentieth century have explored the intersections between literature and other media - visual art, music - especially through the avant-garde and modernist movements of the 1950s-70s. He is especially concerned with the ideological stances which underpin such explorations: the understandings of subjectivity, communication and societal organisation that they correlate with.

His current programme of research focuses on political commitment in the oeuvre of the Scottish poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006). It is anchored in a focus on Finlay's public conduct - his actions, demonstrations, communiqués, denunciations - as a primary aspect of his creative practice. Planned outcomes include a monograph, conference and exhibition. During 2015-16 he is co-organising, with Alex Thomson and the Scottish Poetry Library, the British Academy-funded public seminar series From Renaissance to Referendum: Poetry, Culture and Politics, another outcome of his postdoctoral fellowship.

Greg's PhD thesis provided a broad and context-specific narrative of the practice of concrete poetry in England and Scotland between 1962 and 1975. He is currently converting it into a book manuscript.

Other ongoing research interests include the manifestation of regional identity in British literature and art of the 1950s-70s, especially in the late-modernist verse associated with the British Poetry Revival (ca. 1960-75), and how these identities relate to recent spatial and temporal expansions of ideas of modernism.

Between January and March 2012, Greg staged the exhibition Beauty, Happiness and Play: Ian Hamilton Finlay, Edwin Morgan and UK Concrete Poetry at the Scottish Poetry Library. He has also organised various performances and discussions of concrete and sound poetry at the library since 2009, and between 2009 and 2012, helped to catalogue their collection of Ian Hamilton Finlay ephemera. In September 2011, he co-organised, with Lila Matsumoto and Samantha Walton, the Edinburgh University-sponsored conference ConVersify: Poetry, Politics and Form. He was on the editorial board for a 2014 issue of the journal Ecloga focusing on new work in modernist studies, edited by Andrew Campbell and Dorothy Butchard


2013 PhD in English Literature, University of Eidnburgh

2009 MA in Criticism and Culture, Faculty of English Literature, University of Cambridge

2006 BA in English Literature, University of Sussex


Research students

As a post-doctoral fellow I am not supervising PhD research projects.

Research activities & awards

  1. From Renaissance to Referendum: Poetry, Culture and Politics

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar

  2. Boats and Lemons in the Work of Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  3. Ecloga (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

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