Skip to main content

Dr Agnes Woolley

  • Overview



    Dr Agnes Woolley is Lecturer in Transnational Literature and Migration Cultures at Birkbeck, University of London. Before joining Birkbeck in 2017, she was Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, and has also taught at the University of Lincoln, the University of Derby and the University of Leeds.

    Agnes's research interests are in contemporary and postcolonial literature, theatre and film, with a focus on concepts of migration and diaspora. She is the author of Contemporary Asylum Narratives: Representing Refugees in the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and has published extensively on asylum, refugee arts, climate change and contemporary literature. Her current research examines the interrelationship between contemporary screen cultures and geopolitical refugee discourses in the forthcoming book Moving Images: Refugees in Contemporary Screen Culture (Bloomsbury, forthcoming, 2022). She is a regular contributor to openDemocracy, reporting on migration issues and works with grassroots refugee organisations in London.


    • Ph. D.,, University of Leeds, 2011
    • M. A., , School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2004
    • B. A., , University of Leeds, 2003

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Programme Director of the MA Migration Literatures and Cultures
    • Admissions Tutor for the BA Liberal Arts
    • First Year Tutor for BA Liberal Arts

    Professional activities

    Mentor for the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) Syria Programme 

    Member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College

    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

    Member of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies and the Postcolonial Studies Association. 

    Member of the editorial boards for NuBE, Nuova Biblioteca Europea and Frontiers. Review Editor for Frontiers: Refugees and Conflict. 

    Honours and awards

    • Teaching Excellence Award for undergraduate course 'Seeking Asylum in the Twenty-First Century', Royal Holloway, University of London, November 2016
    • College Performance Award, Royal Holloway, University of London, November 2016
  • Research


    Research interests

    • Refugee arts
    • Diasporic literature and film
    • Contemporary, postcolonial and transnational literature and culture

    Research overview

    I work on the literature and culture of migration, with a special interest in forced migration. My research is interdisciplinary and collaborative, drawing on refugee and diaspora studies as well as literary and cultural methodologies.  

    Research Centres and Institutes

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who are interested in undertaking research in any of my areas of research interest. Prospective students should submit an informal inquiry, followed by a proposal of 2,000 - 4,000 words, including an indicative bibliography.

    Current doctoral researchers



    Teaching modules

    • Theorising the Contemporary, Contemporary Theorising (AREN095S7)
    • Connecting the Arts (AREN126S5)
    • Doing English (AREN208Z4)
    • The Creative Critical Seam (AREN221S6)
    • BA Liberal Arts Dissertation (AREN246S6)
    • Storytelling: Narrative Archetypes, Forms and Techniques (AREN256S4)
    • The Post-War: 1945 to the present (ENHU050S7)
  • Publications




    Book Section

    • Woolley, Agnes (2023) Re-orienting the gaze: visualising refugees in recent film. In: Lê Espiritu Gandhi, E. and Nguyen, V. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives. Routledge. ISBN 9780367674762. (In Press)
    • Woolley, Agnes (2019) Docu/Fiction and the aesthetics of the border. In: Cox, E. and Durrant, S. and Farrier, D. and Stonebridge, L. and Woolley, Agnes (eds.) Refugee Imaginaries: Research Across the Humanities. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9781474443197.
    • Woolley, Agnes (2018) Asylum. In: O'Gorman, D. and Eaglestone, R. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction. Routledge Literature Companions. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. ISBN 9780415716048.


    • Jeffery, L. and Palladino, M. and Rotter, R. and Woolley, Agnes (2019) Creative engagement with migration. Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture 10 (1), pp. 3-17. Intellect. ISSN 2040-4344.