Marina Grishakova



Marina Grishakova’s scholarly interests include theories and philosophy of literature, cognitive aesthetics, narratology, intermediality and interart studies, and the history of ideas and concepts in the humanities in the 20th century. Her current work focuses on complexity and theories of representation. She is also interested in the role of fiction and imagination as heuristic and exploratory tools. Among her recent publications are Intermediality and Storytelling (with M.-L. Ryan; De Gruyter, 2010); Theoretical Schools and Circles in the Twentieth-Century Humanities: Literary Theory, History, Philosophy (with S. Salupere; Routledge, 2015) Narrative Complexity: Cognition, Embodiment, Evolution (with M. Poulaki; University of Nebraska Press, 2019). She has been, and is still, chair or member of the steering and advisory boards of many professional associations, journals and book series, and has given a multitude of guest lectures in various universities across Europe.

Francesca Arnavas

Research Fellow


Francesca finished her PhD in November 2018 at the University of York, with a thesis titled Cognitive Alice: Lewis Carroll’s Alice Books in Dialogue with Narratology. A monograph based on her thesis was published by De Gruyter (2021). She has published several essays on the Alice books, and has also worked on Neo-Victorianism and adaptation. Her main research interests include narrative theory, cognitive narratology, unnatural narratology, Victorian literature, Victorian fairy tales, and postmodern fairy tales.

ETIS profile

Marzia Beltrami


Research Fellow

Marzia’s project investigates how the mind-body nexus can be imaginatively reshaped in fantastic narratives to explore ideas of subjectivity and the relationship with others and with the world at large from an ethical perspective. Her theoretical framework combines narrative ethics with cognitive and unnatural narratology. She holds a PhD in Italian studies from Durham University (2018) and was Visiting Research Fellow at the MHiC-Lab (Medical Humanities in Context) at Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 in 2019/20. The monograph based on her doctoral research focusing on spatiality and plot theory is entitled Spatial Plots. Virtuality and the Embodied Mind in Baricco, Camilleri and Calvino, and was published with Legenda in 2021.

ETIS profile


Siim Sorokin

Research Fellow (Culture Studies)

Siim finished their PhD in 2018 with a thesis titled Character Engagement and Digital Community Practice: A Multidisciplinary Study of “Breaking Bad.” Siim’s current research centers on online storytelling discourses, with an emphasis on cultural and social-material reception of narrative media, and on character and person engagement through the lens of externalist (anti-idealist, post-constructivist, and post-cognitivist) philosophies of mind. Their most recent publication, however, sketches a preliminary theoretical framework for the narrative aspects of “conspiracy theorizing,” based on the discussions of the cruise ferry MS Estonia catastrophe in the conspiracy forum Para-Web.

Silvia Kurr


Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Silvia defended her doctoral dissertation titled Material Ekphrasis: Bringing Together New Materialisms and Ekphrastic Studies at the University of Tartu in September 2023. She holds a Master’s degree in Literature, Visual Culture and Film from Tallinn University and the Estonian Academy of Arts. Silvia has published on the intermedial relations between literature, painting, and film. Her research interests include intermedial studies, ekphrasis, new materialisms, and ecocriticism.

ETIS Profile

Mattia Bellini


PhD Student

Mattia Bellini is a junior research fellow and PhD student in the research group Narrative, Culture, and Cognition at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He is vice chair of the “conceptualizing narrative complexity” work group for the COST Action INDCOR, and member of the Research Committee on Literature, Arts, & Media of the International Comparative Literature Association. His background also includes experience in business management and web design. He published works on storytelling for video games, humanistic Human-Computer Interaction and Procedural Content Generation via Machine Learning. His current research at the University of Tartu focuses on complex systems theory, interactive digital narratives for social good, and cognitive narratology in video games.

ETIS Profile


Artis Ostups

PhD Student

Artis is a researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia, and a doctoral student at the University of Tartu. He holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and is the editor-in-chief of the interdisciplinary journal Letonica. He has also written three poetry collections. Artis’s research interests include modernist and postmodernist literature, and trauma and memory studies. He is writing a dissertation on the heterogeneity of historical time in contemporary post-socialist fiction.


Paula Taberland

PhD Student

Paula completed her MA studies in World Literature at the University of Tartu in 2021. In her research, she explores melancholy mood and related feelings in works of literature and film to find out how we can better understand our relationship with ourselves, society, and the world at large. She is currently writing a thesis on the atmospheric markers of existential feelings in post- and metamodernist fiction.

ETIS Profile

Pinelopi Tzouva


PhD Student

Pinelopi holds Master’s degrees in Social and Cultural Anthropology and in Cultural Studies (both from the University of Leuven). Her previous and current work looks at embodiment, illness, deviance, selfhood, and the human-material entanglement connected to health experiences and institutions of medical care. Pinelopi’s work is informed by qualitative methodologies and arts-based research. Her PhD research, sponsored by the Dora program, deals with autopathography and graphic pathography communicating the experience of breast cancer.