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Emily Timms

LAHRI Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Areas of expertise
postcolonial literature and film; world literature; ageing Studies; medical humanities; dementia studies; critical gerontology; Black and South Asian Poetry Performance; contemporary poetry and ‘little’ magazine culture
Clothworkers South Building, University of Leeds Campus / Austria
Arts, Humanities and Cultures
Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute

I am a LAHRI Postdoctoral Fellow in English, having completed my doctoral studies at the School of English at the University of Leeds in 2021. My research was supported by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities. My thesis, entitled ‘Postcolonial Representations of Age and Ageing in Aotearoa New Zealand and Caribbean Texts’, considered how Māori and Caribbean literature, film and television imagines resurgent forms of intergenerational care, elderhood, and dementia-experienced lives. The thesis critically examines the convergences and faultlines between ageing studies, dementia studies, medical humanities, post- and decolonial thought, and Indigenous studies to advance postcolonial ageing studies as an important field of enquiry. During the course of my research I was fortunate to work in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand with Nga Tāonga: Sound and Vision and the J.C. Beaglehole Room, Victoria University of Wellington, as well as with the Alma Jordan Special Collections, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago. I also collaborated with Shivanee Ramlochan and the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the Caribbean’s premier literary festival, on developing their festival archives.

I plan to use the LAHRI fellowship to complete my first monograph Postcolonial Ageing in Literature and Film: Elderhood, Care, Dementia. It would be the first full-length monograph exploring the transformative impact that postcolonial thought can have on our cultural conversations on ageing. While ‘global’ ageing is cited as one of the most significant challenges of our times, rarely have interventions in gerontology and age studies focused on later life outside the (white) Global North. In response, the book asks: how have lived experiences of old age become entangled with colonisation? How do postcolonial writers and directors imagine ageing otherwise beyond colonial, racialised, ableist, and productivist norms framing ageing in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries?

Since completing my thesis, I have held short-term postdoctoral researcher positions with LAHRI and the Wellcome Trust-funded Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research network. For the latter I conducted groundwork for my next major research project, which focuses on the intersection of anti-ageism and anti-racism in various Anglophone texts and activist histories to envision new understandings of intergenerational health, wellbeing, and care. I also joined the Black Health and the Humanities network. At present, I am a postdoctoral researcher on the European Research Council-funded ‘Poetry Off the Page: Literary History and the Spoken Word, 1965-2020’ project (PoP), based at the University of Vienna. My PoP research concentrates on the vital contributions of Black and South Asian poets, practitioners, and programmers to British poetry in performance.

Outside of my various research projects, I am a former editorial assistant of Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings (2016-2021) and for Stand Magazine (2012-2018) . As part of my work with Moving Worlds, I organised public engagement events including a women’s spoken word workshop and public panel discussion, which took place at the 2018 Ilkley Literature Festival. Along with fellow researcher Sofia Aaktar, we co-founded and directed the New Voices in Postcolonial Studies Network, which is still running today.

Teaching is a significant and incredibly rewarding part of my academic life, and I taught across many undergraduate modules at the School of English as a Postdoctoral/Postgraduate Teaching Assistant. My teaching practices won the student-nominated LUU/Leeds University Partnership award for Postgraduate Researchers who Teach or Demonstrate for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Cultures in 2021. I am also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I currently convene my module ‘Global Medical Humanities’ as an External Lecturer in the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Vienna.



Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Timms, E.K., ‘Postcolonial Ageing Studies: Racialization, Resistance, Reimagination’, in Bloomsbury Handbook to Ageing in Contemporary Literature and Film, ed. by Sarah Falcus, Heike Hartung and Raquel Medina (Bloomsbury, in press), pp. 1-20.

Timms, E.K., ‘“I Could Turn Viper Tomorrow”: Challenging Reproductive Futurism in Merle Collins’s The Colour of Forgetting (1995)’, Literature and Ageing: Essays and Studies, ed. by Elizabeth Barry and Margery Skagen (Cambridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020), pp. 105-27.

Timms, E.K., ‘“Everything is a Search for Light”: Indigenous Ageing and the Future of Intergenerational Health and Wellbeing in Patricia Grace’s Chappy’, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writing (Literature, Medicine, and Health), 19.2 (2019), 56-71.

Timms, E.K., ‘“Our Stories Could Kill You”: Storytelling, Healthcare, and the Legacy of the “Talking Cure” in Patricia Grace’s Baby No-Eyes (1998) and Georgia Kaʻapuni McMillen’s School for Hawaiian Girls (2005)’, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 54.5 (2018), 627-40.

Further Publications (selected)

Blog ‘Returning to Beryl Gilroy’s “On Black Old Age… The Diaspora of the Senses?”’, Black Health and the Humanities [25 August 2022].

Encyclopaedia Entry ‘Intersections of Race/Ethnicity and Age in Film and Literature’, Encyclopaedia of Gerontology and Population Aging, ed. by Danan Gu and Matthew Dupre (New York: Springer, 2019), pp. 1-14.

Interview ‘An Interview with Vahni Capildeo’, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings (Women Write Now), 18.1 (2018), 17-27.

‘Vahni Capildeo Venus as a Bear / Shivanee Ramlochan Everyone Knows I'm a Haunting’, Stand, 16.3, (2018), 96-99.

Blog ‘“We Wouldn’t be a People”: Kaumātuatanga and Tangata Whenua (1974)’, Gauge: The Blog of New Zealand’s Audiovisual Archive [18 September 2018].

Invited Talks and Conferences (selected)

2022 Conference ‘Aerial Ellipses: Re-Reading Dementia-Gain and Narrative Care in Postcolonial Fiction’, Bucharest Aging 2022: Reflexivity in Aging Studies, National University of Bucharest, Romania

2022 Symposium Presentation ‘Postcolonial Ageing Studies: New Directions in Cultural Gerontology’, Still Aged By Culture? Current Trends in Cultural Gerontology, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

2021 Lecture ‘Elderhood, Dementia-Gain, and Indigenous Wellbeing in Witi Ihimaera’s Whanau II (2004)’, SELMA Medical Humanities Series, University of Turku, Finland

2019 Conference ‘“Another Diaspora?”: Imagining Postcolonial Ageing in Aotearoa New Zealand and Caribbean Fiction’, Take Back Aging: Power, Critique, Imagination, Trent University, Canada

2019 Conference ‘“My Heart Brittle – Like Eggshell. It Easy to Break” Reimagining Affective Economies of Care in Beryl Gilroy’s Frangipani House (1986)’, Ageing, Care, Illness Conference, University of Huddersfield and Keio University, Japan

2019 Conference ‘“This isn’t Africa”’: Ageing, Care, and Intergenerational Trauma in Caribbean Women’s Writing’, (Post)colonial Health: Global Perspectives on the Medical Humanities, University of Leeds

2018 Symposium Presentation ‘“My Husband Was Always a Mystery to Me”: Excavating Patricia Grace’s Literary Archives’, J.C. Beaglehole Literary Archives Symposium, Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand