Dr Ryan Sweet

Lecturer, Education

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 602350

Email address

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Office - 112
First Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Ryan Sweet is a Lecturer in Humanities and the Foundation Year Director for the College of Arts and Humanities. He is a specialist in literary and cultural disability studies and his first book, about how prosthetic body parts were imagined in Britain and American in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan for open-access publication. Recently, Ryan has also begun work uncovering the rich cultural history of prostheses for animals. He appeared on BBC One’s Bargain Hunt in July 2019 to provide expert knowledge on an early twentieth-century sheep’s wooden leg.

Linked to his research interests, which centre on concepts of accessibility and inclusion, Ryan is highly committed to widening participation in Higher Education. As a first-generation university graduate from a rural working-class Cornish family, after completing his BA (Hons), MA, and PhD (all in English) at the University of Exeter, Ryan went on to play a key role in designing and leading the University of Plymouth’s highly successful Humanities Foundation Year (2018-2020) before taking up his post at Swansea in June 2020. Ryan is passionate about enabling students from non-traditional and/or disenfranchised backgrounds to thrive at university.

Ryan is a contributor to the peer-reviewed online resource Nineteenth-Century Disability: Cultures and Contexts and a member of Swansea’s Medical Humanities Research Centre (MHRC).

Areas Of Expertise

  • Cultural and literary histories of prostheses
  • Representations of “disabled” animals
  • Victorian studies
  • Disability studies
  • Medical humanities
  • Humanities Foundation Years

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

Ryan teaches across the humanities at Foundation level, focussing primarily on the study skills, mentality, and confidence needed for success at undergraduate level. Swansea’s Humanities Foundation forms the first year of the following BA (Hons) pathways with a Foundation Year:

  • American Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Classics
  • Education
  • Egyptology
  • English Language
  • English Literature with Creative Writing
  • English Literature
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Media and Communication
  • Medieval Studies
  • Politics
  • Public Relations and Media
  • War and Society

At the previous institutions where Ryan worked (University of Exeter, Bath Spa University, and University of Plymouth), he taught across all Higher Education levels (from first-year undergraduate through to postgraduate research).

Award Highlights

Ryan was nominated for “Best Graduate Teaching Assistant” and “Most Supportive Member of Staff” in the University of Exeter’s 2014 Teaching Awards and again for “Best Postgraduate Teaching Assistant” in 2016. Underscoring his commitment to supporting his students on a pastoral level, Ryan became a Mental Health First Aider in April 2019.


During his Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) Fellowship at the University of Leeds in 2017-2018, Ryan commissioned Finnish disability artist Jenni-Juulia Wallinheimo-Heimonen to produce visual and textile artwork exploring relationships between disability and animals. This project culminated in a dynamic showcase event on animals in disability art at The Tetley.

Ryan also co-wrote the editorial notes for the 2016 Oxford World Classics edition of Wilkie Collins’s 1880 novel Jezebel’s Daughter with Jason David Hall.