Paul Cowdell Photo courtesy of Gordon Rutter

Research activity per year

Personal profile


I am Co-I on AHRC-funded research network Folklore Without Borders, working with academics and organisations to develop greater diversity within folklore. We are holding an international knowledge exchange on folklore theory, methodology and creative practice. It connects three groups who work with cultural tradition: academia (research, teaching, impact), individual stakeholders (artists, writers; entrepreneurial folklorists) and cultural industries (museums, galleries, archives; media). This network considers both theoretical and practical to make change happen in a number of domains that would not normally have the opportunity to meet.

Research interests

I have published on many aspects of folklore, including ghostlore, cannibalism at sea, tongue twisters, folk songs, and folklore about rats. I have latterly been working on aspects of folklore's popular reception, leading to work on the folkloresque in folk horror, crime fiction and television. This has led to more direct work on folklore's disciplinary history.

I am a Council member of the Folklore Society and Associate Editor of its journal Folklore, and sit on the editorial board of the Folk Music Journal. I am a Trustee of the Folklore Library and Archive.

Commercial and public engagement

I have given popular online lectures and talks, as well as making several podcast and radio guest appearances.

Education/Academic qualification

Folklore, PhD, Belief in Ghosts in Post-War England, University of Hertfordshire


Award Date: 1 Nov 2011

Folklore, MA with Distinction, Dissertation: Towards Understanding Traditional Singing in Context: A Study of Romney Marsh, University of Sheffield


Award Date: 1 Sept 2006

Classics, BA, [Magdalene College], University of Cambridge


Award Date: 1 Jun 1988

External positions

Trustee, Folklore Library and Archive

Aug 2023 → …

Council member, The Folklore Society

Apr 2008 → …


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