Professor Stafford is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She works on literature of the Romantic period, especially Austen, Burns, Clare, Keats, Wordsworth and Coleridge, and on their literary influences on modern poetry. Her research interests also include late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century culture; Irish and Scottish literature (post 1700); Archipelagic literature and art; Place and Nature Writing (old and new); Trees, Flowers and their cultural history; Environmental Humanities; literature and the visual arts.
Her most recent book is The Brief Life of Flowers (2018). Like her acclaimed book, The Long, Long Life of Trees (2016), it draws on first hand observation, literature, art, folklore, mythology, cultural history, natural science, botany, history of medicine.
Professor Stafford's project, The Dimlight Hours, is a play based on her essay Home Front and inspired by a family wartime diary and was part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
- English literature
- Scottish and Irish literature, especially poetry
- The novel, especially Jane Austen
- Literature and the visual arts
- National and regional identity in literature
- Nature Writing
- Environmental Humanities
Professor Stafford has considerable experience of working with media and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio. She has presented series for BBC Radio 3 on the symbolism, importance and meaning of trees, flowers and beaches. She has also contributed to the literary magazine, Archipelago.