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David Whitley


University Lecturer in English until December 2017


01223 747219


David Whitley had a range of teaching experiences before lecturing in Cambridge; from tutoring in medieval literature at Oxford to working with emotionally disturbed adolescents. His current teaching in the faculty focuses primarily on poetry, film, environmental education, and children’s literature. A long-term goal of David Whitley’s research has been to open up new, interdisciplinary perspectives on the way art, especially poetry and film, enables imaginative connections to be forged between human beings (particularly children) and the natural world. This represents a distinctive contribution to the emerging field of ecocriticism, with links to environmental education. His book on Disney animation has been influential in this area. Recently, he has been involved with an international project investigating children’s sense of place and connection to the environment. This has been a very productive collaboration between the Department of Social Anthropology and the Faculty of Education, with the British context focused on primary schools in the East Anglian area ( David is also co-editor of a new series of books on Children’s Literature, Culture and Cognition.

Another significant long-term research interest is in poetry. David has published on major poets, such as Carol Ann Duffy, William Wordsworth and Ted Hughes, and co-edited Poetry and Childhood (2010), with Morag Styles and Louise Joy. He is currently leading a Leverhulme funded project on ‘Poetry and Memory’ with Debbie Pullinger (, which explores the value of memorised poetry and performance.