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York Research Unit for the
Study of Satire (YRUSOS)

This research group is led by Dr Jo Waugh and Dr Adam Smith.

YRUSOS draws together researchers and satirists to historicise, problematise, theorise, teach and perform satire and satirical material.

Satire is an urgent topic with a long history. In a world of fake news or news that seems too incredible or too unpalatable to be true, journalists and satirists regularly make the claim that 'satire is dead' . Yet satire continues to emerge in professional, amateur, elitist and popular forms.

The York research unit for the study of satire creates opportunities for its members and the academic community at York St John University to lead a national conversation about the form, function and future of satire.

Get in touch

Contact group leaders Dr Jo Waugh ( or Dr Adam Smith ( You can also find us on X (formerly known as Twitter): @TalkAboutSatire

Research activity

Satire: Deaths, births, legacies

This ongoing disciplinary project launched with an international conference in June 2018.

Examining satire, parody, pastiche, and caricature, this project comments on the broader social function of satire, variously confirming, complicating, or condemning narratives of its decline.

This project examines moments in British literary history, from the eighteenth century through to the present day, when satire has been lauded as successful or condemned as ineffective, unnecessary or obsolete. It celebrates and interrogates the legacies of eighteenth-century satire, foregrounding the form's supposed deaths and rebirths to consider the extent to which reports of satire’s death have been exaggerated.

You can read more about this project on our satire blog.

Durational satire

Developed by Professor Dr Claire Hind, Durational satire will be a series of conceptual performances occupying different spaces. Performances will include:

  • The curated unit for small satire: An object-based installation at York St John University. Find out more about the satire unit.
  • Punch line: A 12 hour durational performance at Fairfax House.
  • Scratching satire: A practice led workshop to test, read, perform and share satirical material.

Smith & Waugh Talk About Satire

This podcast considers the form, function, future and history of satire.

Hosted by Drs Jo Waugh and Adam J Smith and featuring interviews with scholars and practitioners of satire, the podcast explores the satirical tradition from an increasing range of perspectives.Guests have included novelist Leigh Stein, comedian Janey Goldey and Spiked journalist and Sky News pundit Andrew Doyle (aka Titania McGrath).

It is available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts and most other popular platforms.


Contagious Laughter: Satire in the Age of Covid-19

In collaboration with Greenteeth press, Drs Jo Waugh and Adam J Smith are developing a project exploring the role of satire during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Satire and Solidarity

YRUSOS members are in the early stages of developing a significant funding bit to establish an ongoing oral history project exploring the ways in which citizens use and engage with satire as part of their relationship with local and national communities.


'Sing Your Heart Lips Out' an experimental performance text by Claire Hind and Gary Winters written for an audio walk, inspired by Chris Morris’ Blue Jam (1997).

A copy of the written script is published in Hind, C. & Winters, G,. (2020) 'Embodying The Dead: Writing, Playing, Performing'. London: Macmillan International

Group members

Dr Jo Waugh

Group leader, Senior Lecturer: English Literature

Profile image of Adam J Smith

Dr Adam Smith

Group leader, Senior Lecturer: English Literature

Robert Edgar

Dr Robert Edgar

Associate Professor in Creative Writing

Dr Claire Hind

Associate Professor: Theatre and Performance

Seb Bloomfield

Postgraduate researcher