THE plan to involve Nottingham University with the running of the Lawrence Centre will help bridge a gap between the academics and the local life of the writer, an expert has said.
Deborah Colville – an expert in Lawrence studies who lives opposite the site in Mansfield Road, Eastwood – knows all too well the importance of the town’s history and heritage when studying the writer’s work.
But she said the academic studies of Lawrence and the town and society he grew up in are always, wrongly, worlds apart.
Ms Colville said with Nottingham University’s help, more focus will be given to Eastwood, helping Lawrence enthusiasts understand the writer’s work better.
She said: “I can see it from a local point of view and an academic point of view and there’s always been a gap between the two things. You have local people interested, and then you have the academic interest, and I think the university will help forge a connection and bridge that gap. It puts Eastwood on the map with academic connections and increases Nottingham University’s interest in Lawrence studies.
“Lawrence is local and it’s crucial you understand the society he was living in to understand the literature properly,” she said.
“It’s always been the logical step to me to make a formal link between DH Lawrence here and the local university.”
Durban House has been threatened with closure for nearly three years because of Broxtowe Borough Council’s struggling budget, and had already had its hours reduced to save money.
But last week Nottingham University came forward with a £100,000 offer to help with the running costs for the next two years – just days before the final decision was due to be made on the centre’s fate.
Ms Colville, who has a PhD in Lawrence and teaches the writer’s work for the Open University, said she was ‘immensely relieved’.
“It would have been great if they had funding to make it more of an official partner, but I think we’ve got the next best thing by forming a link.
“Despite this being a short-term measure, hopefully things will change in the next two years and it can be kept open for good,” she said.