Researchers at UCD


Philip Johnston

Head of Spanish & Portuguese, Senior Lecturer In Spanish

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics



Senior Lecturer in Spanish, Head of Spanish and Portuguese,Spanish and Portuguese, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, University College Dublin.




Association: Association of Hispanists of GB and Ireland, Function/Role: Member
Association: (Associate) of Queens University Library, Belfast, Function/Role: Member

Conference Contributions

Philip G Johnston (2007) Antonio Machado's Song and Story (1931). [Invited Oral Presentation], University of Ulster (Coleraine) Hispanic Seminars, Coleraine , 17-NOV-07 - 17-MAR-07.
Philip G Johnston (2008) Antonio Machado's Bout of Ilogismo sistemático. [Oral Presentation], Paper delivered to UCD Research Seminars in Hispanic Studies, Dublin , 22-JAN-08 - 22-JAN-08.
Philip G Johnston (2012) Tic-tac the Watch is Dead: Time in the Early Machado. [International Refereed Conference], AHGBI Annual Conference, Stirling , 20-MAR-12 - 23-MAR-12.
Philip G Johnston (2012) Anchor(s) aweigh...!: Belonging and Identity in Machado's poem CXXV En estos campos de la tierra mía. [International Refereed Conference], Belonging:Cultural Topographies of Identity conference, Dublin (UCD) , 22-JUN-12 - 23-JUN-12.
Philip G Johnston (2012) Pretty...pretty vacant; Perspectives on Spain in Machado's Campos de Castilla . [International Refereed Conference], XV Forum for Iberian Studies : National Identities at the Intersection: Literature and Visual Media, Oxford , 21-JUN-12 - 23-MAR-12.
Philip G Johnston (2013) Quod elixum est ne assato:Antonio Machado and the Spanish Golden Age. [Invited Oral Presentation], UCC Spanish Departmental Research Seminar, Cork , 22-FEB-13 - 22-FEB-13.
Dr Philip G Johnston; (2009) Canto y cuento explained : Machado's poem CLXXII. [International Refereed Conference], Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland Annual Conference, Belfast , 06-APR-09 - 08-APR-09.
Johnston, P.; (2002) Antonio Machado and Freemasonry,. [N/A], UCD Research Seminars in Hispanic Studies (December 2002) and to AHGBI Glasgow Conference (April 2003), Glasgow , 01-DEC-02.
Johnston, P.; (2003) Antonio Machado and The Royal Art: Fact and Fiction,. [N/A], Public lecture delivered at the National University of Ireland at Maynooth (October 2003), National University of Ireland at Maynooth , 01-OCT-03.
Johnston, P.; (2003) The '27 Generation in Spain. [Invited Lecture], Department of Spanish, National University of Ireland at Maynooth, National University of Ireland at Maynooth , 01-OCT-03.
Johnston, P.; (1999) Livin in a Gangstas Paradise: The Modernity of Lorcas Poeta en Nueva York,. [N/A], UCD Research Seminars in Hispanic Studies (May 1999), UCD , 01-MAY-99.
Johnston, P.; (1999) Relevant Reading: Lorcas Poeta en Nueva York,. [N/A], Royal Irish Academy, XXVI Annual Research Symposium, National University of Ireland, Maynooth (November 1999), Maynooth , 01-NOV-99.
Johnston, P.; (2000) Some New Perspectives on Lorcas Poeta en Nueva York,. [N/A], UCC Spanish Departmental Research Seminar (May 2000), UCC , 01-MAY-00.
Johnston, P.; (2002) Poesía temprana de Luis Cernuda,. [N/A], Spanish Cultural Institutes Cernuda Centenary Lecture (November 2002), * , 01-NOV-02.
Johnston, P.; (2002) Representaciones de los Estados Unidos en Un río, un amor. [International Refereed Conference], 'Luis Cernuda en su centenario' Symposium, University of Birmingham , 01-NOV-02.
Johnston, P.; (2006) 'Loca de geometría': The Early Poetry of Jorge Guillén. [Non Refereed Paper/Abstract Presented at Conference], AHGBI Liverpool Conference, Liverpool , 01-APR-06.


Committee : Modern Language Review
Committee : Board of Governors, St Mary's University College, Belfast
Committee : Trinity College Dublin
Committee : Steering Group for Headship of School, SLLF
Committee : Postgraduate Studies Committee, SLLF
Committee : Internal Examiner
Committee : Structures Sub-Committee, School of Languages, Literatures and Film, UCD
Committee : Transition Project Board, UCD
Committee : Change Management Taskforce, UCD
Committee : Academic Council, UCD
Committee : Appointments Committee, Lectureship in Spanish, University College Dublin
Committee : Appointments Committee
Committee : University Teaching Committee
Committee : ¿New Era¿ Liaison Officer, 2003-5
Committee : Departmental QA/QI Committee
Committee : Departmental Research / Travel Fund
Committee : Departmental: Year Head, Second Year, 1991-97 / 1998-99
Committee : Departmental: Year Head, Final Year, 1998-99 / 1999-2003
Committee : Departmental:Year Head, First Year (Non-Beginners), 2003-4
Committee : Departmental: Modular (Evening) Degree Coordinator, 1993-94 / 1995-96
Committee : Departmental: Rooms / Timetable Coordinator, 1995-97 / 2000-2001 / 2003-4
Committee : School of Languages, Literatures and Film, UCD
Committee : Departmental: Treasurer of Departmental Research / Travel Fund, 1994 present
Committee : Dublin Institute of Technology
Committee : National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Committee : Faculty: Arts Faculty Representative on the University Teaching Committee, 1998-2003
Committee : Faculty: Speaker on Study Skills and The School University Transition to Arts
Committee : New Era (Equal Rights to Access)
Committee : Appointments Board, Fellowship in Spanish, UCD
Committee : Appointments Board, Lectureship in Spanish, University College Dublin
Committee : Appointments Board, Fellowship in Spanish, UCD
Committee : Internal Examiner
Committee : Dublin City University
Committee : Dublin Institute of Technology


Employer: Dept of Spanish/Hispanic and Lusophone Studies, University College Dublin
Position: College Lecturer
Employer: Royal Belfast Academical Institution
Position: Teacher
Employer: Queen's University of Belfast
Position: Tutor / Lecturer


Year 1990 Institution: Queen's University of Belfast, UK
Qualification: PhD Subject:
Year 1989 Institution: Queen's University of Belfast, UK
Qualification: PGCE Subject:
Year 1981 Institution: Queen's University of Belfast, UK
Qualification: BA Subject:




Client: Dept of Education

Journals Edited

Bulletin Of Spanish Studies: Reviewer.
Bulletin Of Spanish Studies: Reviewer.
Bulletin Of Spanish Studies: Reviewer.
Bulletin Of Spanish Studies: Reviewer.
Bulletin Of Hispanic Studies: Reviewer.
The Modern Language Review: Reviewer.
The Modern Language Review: Reviewer.

Other Activities

Recent Professional Development Courses
‘Newly Appointed Managers', UCD, March 2004
‘Newly Appointed Heads of Department', UCD, November 2004
‘On Board' Seminar (for public sector Governors), Belfast, March 2005

External Examiner in Spanish, DIT, 1995-2000 (Philip Johnston)

External Assessor, New BA Joint Honours Degree in Spanish, NUIMaynooth, from January 2000 (Philip Johnston
Trinity College, Dublin, 2005, PhD Dissertation (Philip Johnston)
Acting as Assessor for Appointment, Promotion, etc.

External Assessor for Assistant Lecturership in Spanish, DIT, 1999 and 2000 (Philip Johnston)

UK Government-appointed member of the Board of Governors, St Mary’s University College, Belfast (February 2005 – February 2010).



Edited and Translated, with Introduction and Notes by Philip G Johnston (2015) Luis Cernuda, One River, One Love/ Un río, un amor. Oxford: Aris & Phillips (Oxbow Books). [Details]
Philip G Johnston; (2010) Antonio Buero-Vallejo:In the Burning Darkness/En la ardiente oscuridad. Oxford: Oxbow Books: Aris & Phillips Hispanic Classics. [Details]
Johnston, P.; (2003) Antonio Machado and The Royal Art: Fact and Fiction. NUI Maynooth: NUI Maynooth, Papers in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies. [Details]
Johnston, P.; (2002) The Power of Paradox in the Work of Spanish Poet Antonio Machado. Lewiston / Queenston / Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press. [Details]

Book Chapters

Johnston, P.; (1999) 'From Palimpsest to Print: the Shaping of a Sonnet (Machado's 'Esta luz de Sevilla...')' In: DW Cruickshank (eds). A Lifetime's Reading: Hispanic Essays for Patrick Gallagher. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. , pp.126-134 [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Dr Philip G Johnston (2014) 'Raised on Songs and Stories...: Lyrical and Narrative Trends in Machado's Recuerdos de sueno, fiebre y duermivela'. Bulletin of Spanish Studies, XCI (Number 8):1175-1187. [Details]
Johnston, P.; (2005) 'Los poemas 'americanos' de Un río, un amor'. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 11 (2-3):151-160. [Details]
Johnston, P.; (1995) 'Immanuel Kants Influence on Antonio Machado: A Case of Claridad perfectamente tenebrosa'. Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispanicos, XIX (3):495-504. [Details]

Conference Publications

Johnston, P.; (1999) Policy and Practice Colloquium on University Teaching and Learning: Policy and Practice R H Kilmainham, Dublin, , 01-DEC-98 [Details]


Philip G Johnston; (2008) Foreword(pp i-ii) to" Antonio Machado's Cartas de amor a Pilar de Valderrama/Love letters to Pilar de Valderrama". Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: Foreword [Details]


Research Interests

Antonio Machado; the Generation of 1927; theatre; translation.


Recent Postgraduates

Postgraduate Supervision:

"The Surrealist Polemic and the Case of Pasión de la Tierra", Nuala Finnegan, MA (by Major Thesis), 1992

"Andalucía y lo andaluz en el primer Antonio Machado (1893-1908)", Pilar Peña Kindelán, MA (by Major Thesis), 1994

"Censorship and the Theatre of Antonio Buero Vallejo", O'Leary, MA (by Major Thesis), 1996

"La psicología feminina en el Romancero gitano de Federico García Lorca", Inmaculada Medina Cuesta, MA (Minor Thesis
requirement), 1999

"The Theatre of Antonio Buero Vallejo: Ideology, Politics and Censorship", Catherine O'Leary, PhD, 2000

"The Search for a Homosexual Ideal in the Early Poetry of Luis Cernuda", David McLoghlin, MA (by Major Thesis), 2001

"Lorca in New York: Race, Religion and Sexual Identity", Devi Govender, MA (Minor Thesis requirement), 2002

"La presencia francesa en Los complementarios de Antonio Machado", Ana Isabel Vargas Ruiz, MA (Minor Thesis requirement), 2009

" La Norteamérica desnuda de Juan Ramón Jiménez y Zenobia Camprubí ", José  Luis Penón, MA ( Minor Thesis requirement, 2009

" Expressions of Scepticism and Doubt in Antonio Machado's  "Proverbios y Cantares" from Campos de Castilla and Nuevas Canciones", Rachel Reidy, MA (Minor Thesis requirement),2009

(in progress)¿Poesía y prosa tempranas de Jorge Guillén¿, María Ana Rodríguez, PhD

(in progress)" La influencia de Edgar Allan Poe en la poesía española del siglo  XIX y principios del XX", José Luis Penón, PhD 

Co-ordinator of Postgraduate Studies, 2006-7



Teaching Philosophy

My personal Teaching "Philosophy" espouses motivation of students,transmission of passionate enthusiasm, demonstrable empathy, and exemplification of good practice.This theory- and jargon-free approach is complemented by deployment of humour, clarity in terms of desired outcomes, and ineluctable common sense.

Enhancement of Teaching

The quality of my teaching and of my students' learning is enhanced by at least three key factors: remembering, "listening" and reacting. I remember the instances of good pedagogical practice from my own past: the "A" Level English Lit teacher who, swimming against the current in a rather overly didactic environment, encouraged discussion of texts, and even allowed us to read "Waiting for Godot";another teacher who approached "A" Level Spanish through a judicious balance of ("avant la lettre")use of the Target Language and of the native tongue for the delicacies of literary/philosophical insight; the university lecturer who, without ever patronizing, made even the smallest contributor to tutorials feel 10 feet tall. What is recollected here informs my current practice as a teacher. I "listen" to and reflect on student feedback, not just from electronic surveys, but also by consulting graduates and postgraduates who give unfettered responses to such requests: accordingly,for example, assessment procedures for literary modules have evolved from total reliance on final examinations to a blend of in-semester Class Tests and Essays; language modules have seen greater emphasis on transferable skills such as writing of CVs and letters of application, and - interestingly- on a renaissance of grammar-focused activity. Although I have not been formally observed as a university teacher, two student nominations for President's Teaching Awards and endless exposure to inspection on the PGCE and as a then newly qualified teacher, suggest that I must be getting something right.Finally, students' surveyed responses to my teaching consistently say as much.

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

My curricular involvement embraces Literature and Language. I teach Spanish poetry(my own principal research domain)at all levels from Level 1 to MA.Continuity, development and gradual specialization of learning are paramount: at Level 1 I offer a survey course, designed to fire enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity; Level 2 sees the study of 3 individual poets(on rotation);my current Level 3 provision involves in-depth analysis of the great poet Antonio Machado; and my MA offering explores more esoteric zones of Machado's output.The learning outcomes for these modules stress,inter alia,apprehension and comprehension of different chapters of Spanish intellectual life.Assessment practices have evolved away from the stultifying option of formal examinations towards more relaxed Class Tests and, primarily, essay-writing,where a slow-burning and more reflective approach complements the aesthetic and philosophical subject-matter. My current language-teaching sees me coordinating and teaching in 2 main areas.I invented SPAN 20150 to cater for 2 target audiences- native Hispanophones on Erasmus and Irish students seeking to enhance their knowledge of Spanish. This Elective course emphasizes practice of Spanish to English translation, complementing other more theoretical approaches elsewhere on our curriculum, and preparing the best students to work as translators.(I am proud of this personal curricular initiative as I am of my intimate involvement-as Head of Subject-in the nurturing and development of Portuguese from poor relation of Spanish to a (Minor) subject in its own right.)Lastly, I coordinate and am the only non-native teacher on the 2 principal Final Year Spanish Language modules. On my watch these have moved totally away from textbooks (with their built-in obsolescence) towards the creation of our own materials designed to test the 4 basic skills to the highest Common European Framework level(C1).Real,transferable skills result from practice in essay-,report-,and synopsis-writing,composition of CVs and formal letters, as well as in oral and aural competence.

Developing as a Teacher

Improvement of my knowledge and skills as a university teacher is both historical and on-going. I came to UCD as a PGCE-trained(Commendation) Grammar School Languages' master, who taught from Form 1 to Oxbridge Entrance levels. My reputation as a versatile, reflective and effective practitioner saw the Dean of the Faculty of Arts appoint me as his rep on the University Teaching Committee (1998- 2003),where debate of key pedagogic issues would eventually lead to a growing provision of back-up support for UCD lecturers and, just as palpably, to a change in ethos whereby Teaching (and,latterly,Learning)achieved parity of esteem with Research. As a UTC rep, I helped in the establishment of fledgling T&L courses in UCD, and, at later dates, attended courses myself in, for example,: "Developing a Teaching Portfolio","Key Aspects of Teaching and Learning Languages", "Supervisor and Team Leader Skills" and "Value-Based Coaching and People Skills".In addition,I keep au fait with pedagogic developments by reading the T&L newsletter, attending language pedagogy sessions at Hispanists' conferences, and debating moot issues with School colleagues currently involved in T&L work; crucially also,I listen to our students at Staff-Student Fora events.Whenever I coordinate multi-teacher modules I meet regularly to support and train my tutors.

Innovation & Leadership

-Awarded Postgraduate Certificate in Education, (with Commendation in Teaching Practice), QUB, 1988-89. -Arts Faculty Representative on The University Teaching Committee, UCD, 1998-2003. -Awarded "Excellent" rating in successful application for Senior Lectureship, UCD, 2002. -Twice-nominated for President's Teaching Awards, UCD, 2002-3 & 2003-4. -UK Government-appointed Member of the Board of Governors, St Mary's University College, Belfast, February 2005-February 2010 (Re-appointed Feb 2010-Feb 2015). -Speaker on "Study Skills","School-University Transition" and "Studying a Modern Foreign Language", UCD, various dates.