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Rachel Carney  FHEA

Dr Rachel Carney





I am a poet and non-fiction writer, with a particular interest in the practical use of poetry in community settings, and the interaction between poetry and the visual arts. I have worked in the museum sector for a number of years, and my current research spans a variety of disciplines from creative writing to museum studies.

My debut poetry collection Octopus Mind is published by Seren Books. It explores the intricacies of neurodiversity, perception, creativity and self-expression, and was selected as one of The Guardian's Best Poetry Books of 2023.

Academic Background

PhD Creative and Critical Writing - Cardiff University / Aberystwyth University - 2023 'Craquelure: Ekphrastic Inquiry as Engagement with Art'

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) - 2023

MA Creative Writing - Distinction - Manchester Metropolitan University - 2019

MA Museum Studies - Distinction - Newcastle University - 2008

BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing - University of Wales, Aberystwyth - 2006


My PhD was funded by the AHRC via the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWWDTP). My MA in Museum Studies was also funded by the AHRC.


I am a member of the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE). I'm one of the PhD reps on the NAWE HE Committee.

I am also a member of the Museums Association.


6th July 2024 - I will deliver a paper on 'Ekphrasis as a Process of Engagement with Art' for the 'We need to talk about Art: Ekphrasis Now' conference at Leeds Trinity University.

31st October 2022 - I organised and chaired a 'Creative Research Symposium' for members of the SWWDTP Creativity in Research Cluster, at Bath Spa University. As part of this I delivered an interactive workshop - 'Poetic Inquiry: Re-Imagine Your Research'.

29th June 2022 - I delivered a workshop on 'Neurodiversity and Inclusivity in Teaching and Learning' at the Cardiff University annual Teaching conference.

10th March 2022 - I organised and chaired a panel discussion - 'Embracing Creativity in the Creative Writing Thesis' - at the annual NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) Conference.

27th September 2021 - 'Creative Writing in the Art Museum: Ongoing, Inclusive Engagement', presented at the Amgueddfa Cymru Research Showcase (National Museum Wales)

14th-16th June 2021 - I co-directed the inaugral SWWDTP annual research festival confrence, along with Iona Ramsay from Exeter University. I also presented my research with others as part of the 'Creativity in Research Cluster Showcase: Future Methods and Research Practices' discussion event on 14th June.

May 2021 - 'Metamorphosis: A Creative / Critical Response to Strangeland by Tracey Emin', Episode 8 of the 'Looking at Femininity' Sympodcast (a symposium in the form of a podcast)

12th March 2021 - 'Ekphrasis: A Tool for Visitor Engagement in the Art Museum' presented at the annual NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) Conference.

3rd-5th September 2020 - Virtual Paper Presentation 'Using Creative Writing to Promote Inclusivity in Art Museums' at the Thirteenth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, online conference.

12th February 2020 - 'Ekphrastic Poetry as a Process of Engagement' at the Creative Practice and Critical Thinking Symposium, Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries, Bath Spa University.

Selected Publications...


I’ve had poems published in numerous magazines and journals, including Poetry Wales, Envoi, Under the Radar, the New Welsh Review, Anthropocene, Ink Sweat and Tears, London Grip, Poetry Saltzburg Review and Acumen. I won the Pre-Raphaelite Society Poetry Competition in 2021, and came 2nd in the Bangor Poetry Competition. I’ve also had two poems shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2019 & 2020), two poems commended in the Ware Poets Competition (judged by Kim Moore, 2021), a poem highly commended in the Liverpool Poetry Prize (2021) and other poems commended or shortlisted in other competitions.

Visit my blog for more information and links to some of my published poems.


Collaborative Journal Article: Sabrin Hasbun, Rachel Carney, Harry Matthews et al. ‘The application of creative practice as a means of disrupting or re-defining the dynamics of power in, with or for different communities’, The Journal for Artistic Research, issue 27, 2022

'Shaping the Lyric: Literal and Metaphorical Blank Space in the Poetry of Emily Berry and Ocean Vuong', C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-Century Writings 9(1). 2021. doi:

'Art & Words: A Collective Interpretation', Wales Arts Review, 2021

'A Virtual Residency at the Cynon Valley Museum', Wales Arts Review, 2020

'The Importance of Subjectivity in Ekphrastic Poems by Auden and Plath', Wild Court, 2020

‘Edward Thomas 100: An Anglo-Welsh Poetic Legacy’, Click on Wales, 2017


‘A Taste of Wales at Hay’, Click on Wales, May 2018

‘A Review of Sophie McKeand’s Poetry Collection - Rebel Sun’, the Welsh Agenda, 2017

‘The Book of Tides by Angela Readman’, The Poetry School, 2017

Beyond the Border Festival’, Wales Arts Review, 2016

‘Cardiff Book Festival’, Wales Arts Review, 2016

Inside Stories: Quentin Blake at the National Museum’, Click on Wales, 2016

‘City of the Unexpected’, Click on Wales, 2016

Blog Posts

'Art & Words: Writing Poetry in Response to Works of Art', National Museum Wales blog, 2021

'A Virtual Museum Residency', South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership Blog, 2020

'Magic', Hay Festival International Writer's Blog, 2019

‘Cardiff Book Festival Launch’, New Welsh Review blog, 2016

Visit my blog - Created to Read - to see book reviews, features and reviews of literary events.








I am interested in a wide range of research areas across a variety of disciplines, from contemporary poetry and historical fiction to museum interpretation and learning theory, as well as the interactions between creative and critical practice.

My thesis examines the practical application of ekphrastic poetry as a tool for visitor engagement in art museums. My supervisors are Professor Damian Walford Davies (Cardiff University) and Professor Richard Marggraf Turley (Aberystwyth University).

I am also interested in links between poetry and neurodiversity, as well as inclusive teaching. I am the founder and current Chair of the Cardiff University Neurodiversity and Inclusivity Network for Staff and PGRs.

Selected Events, Collaborations, Commissions and Creative Projects

In So Many Words / Celf a Cherdd (2022) - In partnership with National Museum Wales I delivered a series of in-person workshops in the museum, inviting people to respond to the artwork. Their poems formed part of an interactive display (open from 6th September to 6th November), inviting visitors to write poems of their own. This forms part of my PhD research, funded by the SWWDTP. More details on my blog...

Art & Words (2021) - I ran a set of ten online creative writing workshops in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, working with a group of people living in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Poems written by participants in response to artwork from the museum's collection were shared on Instagram over several weeks, with an invitation for members of the public to respond by writing a poem of their own. Visit the museum's blog for more details and an opportunity to take part.

'My Creative Time' (2020) I was commissioned by Voluntary Arts Wales to work with a community drawing group and deliver a poetry workshop, as part of a larger project with 7 other poets and groups, working towards the publication of an anthology on the theme of creativity.

Poet in Residence at the Cynon Valley Museum (2020) A virtual residency responding to artwork displayed as part of the museum's online exhibitions programme, and delivering an online creative writing workshop. The museum also published the poems on Instagram.

Crossing Points - Art / Poetry Project (2018) I was commissioned by the madeinroath community arts festival to produce an exhibition of photographs and poems, exploring ideas of belonging, connection and dislocation within a shared urban environment.

Charles Byrd Story Trail - Art / Story Writing Workshop (2018) A collaborative project with artist Sharon Magill, delivering a creative writing workshop focusing on paintings by Charles Byrd, encouraging people to write flash fiction pieces in response, commissioned by the madeinroath festival.

African Music & World Poetry Charity Event (2018) I organised a large-scale performance event to raise money for a charity which supports children’s education in Sierra Leone, as part of my work for the Cardiff University Library Service, working in partnership with the Oasis World Choir & Band (a group of refugees and asylum seekers), students within the School of Music and professional poets.

Edward Thomas Centenary (2017) I organised a series of events to mark the centenary of the poet Edward Thomas, including a poetry performance event, a creative writing workshop and a series of daily poetry prompts for National Poetry Writing Month. I gained funding from Literature Wales for these events, and organised them on behalf of Cardiff University’s Special Collections and Archives.


I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

I teach on the following undergraduate modules: Creative Reading and Creative Writing. I have also taught at MA and PhD level on several occasions during the past few years, at Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and for SWWDTP funded students.

I have extensive experience of freelance teaching, delivering creative writing and other workshops in community settings. I also have several years experience of planning and delivering learning activities for a range of different audiences in museum settings, including school groups and adults.

I have a particular interest in inclusive teaching practices.


  • Poetry
  • Heritage, archive and museum studies
  • ekphrasis
  • Creative writing
  • Neurodiversity