REF2014: Impact Case Study: Victorian Literary Heritage: Promoting Public Engagement with Dickens and Tennyson

Impact: Cultural & Creative Impacts

Description of impact

Focusing on the lives and works of Dickens and Tennyson, this case study demonstrates how literary researchers at the University of Portsmouth have promoted public re-engagement with Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight’s literary heritage. Their research on questions of celebrity and social marginality has been adapted and exploited to interpret and disseminate the region’s cultural capital through public events, websites, and publications. Encouraging a fresh look at Dickens, Tennyson, and Victorian life, the impact of this research has increased public understanding of Victorian issues, and prompted local stakeholders to re-evaluate existing knowledge, policy and commercial practice.

Who is affected

General public; Museums; Cultural organisations.


This research has been instrumental in encouraging the region’s re-engagement with its Victorian Literary Heritage and has enhanced the area’s touristic value. Publicly available resources have been vital in raising awareness of the Isle of Wight’s cultural significance, and in sustaining public involvement. In addition their research has influenced the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust’s activities, prompting them to expand the focus of Dimbola Lodge Museum’s events, helping them to exploit the commercial value of Tennyson’s celebrity circle, and to adapt its significance for visitors.
Impact statusClosed
Category of impactCultural & Creative Impacts


  • REF2014