School of English

The English Showcase


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A group of people watching the 2023 English Showcase.

The English Showcase celebrates the research produced by final-year undergraduate and masters students in a friendly, constructive environment.

Students from all disciplines in the school are invited to present any aspect of their work, ranging from dissertations to essays and creative writing.

This year's Showcase will be held on 1 May 2024. We welcome both on-site and Distance Learning students to share the work they're proudest of, from video games to place-names.

Register now!


The English Showcase 2024 (1 May)

10:00 - Arrival and registration (with tea and coffee)

10:20 - Welcome and introduction from Professor Máire ní Fhlathúin, Head of School.

10:30 - Panel 1 (Chair: Emma Horne)

Kevin Hodgson:  Beyond p-values & questionnaires: the importance of mixed methods classroom research and observing behavioural outcomes in SLA motivation research (presenting online)
Sarah Thornley: Queer metaphor (presenting online)
Ben Doyle:  Exploring conflict in the work of D.H Lawrence
Marie Georghiou:  Valleys of medieval England: when a denu becomes a dale (presenting online)

This panel will be followed by a ten minute break.

11.40 - Panel 2 (Chair: Gillian Walters)

Daria Paterek:  'We did not have a systematic issue with harassment- ever': An Examination of Bobby Kotick's Interview In Response To Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Lucile Deslignères:  Ecopoetry: a few poems
Fatima al Moufridji:  The West Meets the Wonders of the East: Early Medieval England’s Perception and Attitude Toward the Foreign Other
Olivia King:  My Little Pony: “Hold her down and hate f**k her” – Violence and Objectification in the Sexualised Discourse of 4Chan’s /mlp/.
(Content warning: discussions of sexual abuse)

This panel will be followed by a one hour break for lunch and an information session on PGT study.

13:40 - Panel 3 (Chair: Hayley Rowe)

Valerie Rowles:  ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’: observing constructions of leadership using a corpus linguistics approach (presenting online)
Julia Fernandez:  Anne Brontë’s Epistolary Voice: Unveiling the forgotten sister through her novels and letters (presenting online)
Matthew Hall:  Transparency Carriage – Writing Prompts to Facilitate Creativity

This panel will be followed by a ten minute break.

14:35 - Panel 4 (Chair: Emily Smith)

James Kaye:  Out of the Spaceship and into Faeryland: The Role of Allusion in C. S. Lewis's 'That Hideous Strength’
Katherine Price:  “He didn’t say anything else.” – A further exploration into the presentation of speech and thought in Sally Rooney’s Normal People (2018).
Rhiannon Rumble:  “Is mycology reaching a tipping point?”: The ecoGothic potential of fungi (presenting online)

15:10 - Concluding remarks from Dr Christina Lee followed by a tea and coffee reception (a chance for informal chats with academics and networking).

Full Programme

Showcase 2023

Post-Showcase Reflection 

Following the 2023 edition of The English Showcase, we asked some of our presenters to delve deeper into their research and develop their ideas further...

Name: Qiancheng Li

Title of presentation: Explicit Acquisition of Collocations Under Different Input Conditions for Chinese EFL Learners: Read Aloud or Silently

How could your topic be further developed? The study is going to explore non-native English speakers' incidental learnings of English collocation under different modes of reading. To conduct the study, an experiement in terms of different input will be done, so that participants in each experimental group will either read the text aloud or silently. 20 pseudo-collocations will be embedded in the text, 10 of them will appear once, while another 10 will appear 5 times. An immediate post-test will used to test participants's gains of the target collocations after reading. In the original presentation, the number of occurences of the target collocations were once, 5 times, 10 times and 15 times respectively in order to investigate the influence of frequency on learners' collocational gain. However, 10 times and 15 times are too many for the number of occurences that it will bring loads of work. Thus, the number of occurences will be changed. Also, the target paricipants haven't been articulated in the presentation.

To explore the effect of frequency on learners' collocational gains, 10 target items will appear in the text once, while the other 10 for 5 times. The target participants will be intermidiate learners. To select the participants, the author will use LexTale at the end of the test to measure their vocabulary. Also, to make sure the story could be understood by participants, the author will check the profile of it in Lexical Tutor and ensure most of the words are from the 2k families. Before the experiment, a pilot study will be conducted to ensure the post-tests are suitable for participants.

Name: Wenxiang Zhang

Title of presentation: A comparative analysis of Allianz's brand communication in social media from the UK to China

How could your topic be further developed? Sina Weibo has 511 million monthly active users in China (Sina Weibo, 2020), and Twitter has 18.4 million users in the UK (Matthew Woodward, 2023). To take advantage of such massive usage, nearly every brand has its own social media account and is trying their best to integrate social media in their digital strategies (Voorveld, 2019). Social media can not only attract users in the country where the brand is based, but it can also transcend geographical boundaries and assist multinational corporations in attracting customers who are located in various regions across the world and have diverse cultural backgrounds. Allianz, a global leader in insurance with headquarters in Germany, has subsidiaries in China and the United Kingdom, as well as social media accounts on Sina Weibo in China and Twitter in the UK. To achieve its brand communication goals, Allianz choose to post unique content on various social media platforms. This study compared how Allianz implemented its brand communication objectives and strategies on social platforms in the United Kingdom and China. In a manner similar to magazines, the content of social media posts will consist of two parts in order to provide rich information: written texts and images. Therefore, Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) was applied in the present study to obtain a dimensional analysis of brand communication strategy Allianz used on social media.

The sample size of the study is insufficientas Allianz would post millions of posts on various social media platforms in a range of countries. Therefore, Corpus-based discourse analysis is needed to quantitatively analyze the linguistic features of posts from Allianz. As a result, mixed methods of qualitative and quantitative method are desired to be applied for a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of brand communication strategies of Allianz.

Name: Carolien Wielockx

Title of presentation: Asylum Nurses in Fingersmith: Neo-Victorian Intersections of Class and Gender

How could your topic be further developed? My paper discussed the literary representation of asylum nurses in Fingersmith, Sarah Waters’ Neo-Victorian queer rewriting of the sensation novel, which looks at 19th century constructions of madness from a 20th century perspective. My view was that the asylum nurses in the novel are outcasts due to their marginal positions as women in a patriarchal society, with Nurse Bacon’s perpetual cruelty being grounded in class envy as well as her unknowable queerness – the term ‘queer’ being used here in both the original, broader sense of the word, as the narrower one referring to non-heteronormative gender as it is used today. I argued that it is Victorian women’s necessity to be ‘skilled in the art of disguise and performance’ that prompts the brutality of the nurses. These acts of violence include hitting about the face, punching in the stomach, throwing the women on the floor, shaking them violently, putting needles to scalps as well as using abusive language. Using a mix of frameworks such as historical materialism and feminist theories of Victorian literature, I illustrated how Waters self-consciously rewrites the hierarchies of both class and gender to account for the disturbing capacity of Fingersmith’s women nurses to hurt other women, and that in so doing the novelist queers not only the (love) story of protagonists Maud and Sue, but also that of Nurse Bacon. I pointed at the ways in which my research has opened up ideas for my own creative writing. In my work on Fingersmith, I hinted at a potential backstory for a woman character in a neo-Victorian novel. For my creative-critical dissertation I am working on a poetic reimagining of Dickens’s Great Expectations and Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs (1997), creating my own poetry informed by and analysed through the theoretical lens of adaptation and appropriation studies, neo-Victorianism, intertextuality, and women studies. I’m looking to investigate the process of writing poetry by doing a close reading of the way certain women characters in Dickens have been rewritten in Carey’s neo-Victorian novel, while using these literary-critical insights to create my own poetry. Presenting at the Showcase was a good exercise in communicating a 3000-word essay in ten minutes to an audience that is not necessarily familiar with my topic.

I’m particularly interested in exploring whether Genette’s view of the text as palimpsest might be a useful concept not just to critically analyse but also to create poetry. How do literary-critical concepts such as metafiction, appropriation, intertextuality not only guide the close reading of contemporary literary texts but also the creation? What forms do they push forward, if any? What does it mean to adapt and appropriate a text and what choices manifest themselves when creating poetry that writes back to both a Victorian and a neo-Victorian novel? Which principles govern the writing process of poetic adaptation: the narrative or the critical concepts applied to that narrative? What happens to the concept of adaptation if creativity is conceived of a reimagining of literary-critical concepts in their own right?


Past Showcase events

Following the success of the first showcase in 2015, the school has made it an annual event. Read more about past events below:


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The English Showcase 2023 (3 May)

10:00 - Arrival and registration (with coffee and pastries)

10:30 - Welcome and introduction from Professor Máire ní Fhlathúin, Head of School, followed by Dr Paweł Szudarski, Deputy Director of PGT.

10:45 - Panel 1 (Chair: Duncan Armitage)

Laura Scaife, 'How does Shakespeare use madness and gender to reinforce or challenge the power dynamics of King Lear?'
Carolien Wielockx, 'Asylum Nurses in Fingersmith: Neo-Victorian Intersections of Class and Gender'
Nicole Whitton, 'Using the poetic form to convey the experience of age-related disease'

11.30 - Panel 2 (Chair: Molly Watson)

Emlyn Jenkins, '"Why is Jesus in my Heathen text?" Or how the wider neo-pagan community misundertands Eddic Poetry'
Marie Georghiou, 'Ancient scripts, modern visions: The runes of God of War'
Louise Roberts, 'The Relationship Between HM 136 and Caxton's "Cronycles of Englond'"
Ben Marshall, 'Landscape and Naming: Medieval Toponymic Surnames in Two Midlands Regions'

This panel will be followed by a one hour break for lunch.

13:30 - Panel 3 (Chair: Michele Roncarati)

Wenrui Li, ''Sherlock Holmes' characteristics and the science of deduction'
Gillian Walters, '"Too late for love, too late for joy": Publishing, periodicals, and Christina Rossetti's "The Fairy Prince Who Arrived Too Late"'
Marcus Lawrence, 'The British appropriation of Flaubert: an identification with Flaubert in one's own image - Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Walter Pater, Henry James and Eleanor Marx-Aveling'

14:30 - Panel 4 (Chair: Nourah Almulhim)

Anna Short, 'Political Radicalism on the Stage: Masculinities and Selfhood in a Capitalist Society'
Molly Allen, '"But who was Gerty?" The role of Gerty MacDowell in James Joyce's Nausicaa'
Alexandra Hogg, 'Musings on whether there can be such a thing as "the lesbian gaze"'
India Edmunds, 'The Storm Chaser's Son'

This panel will be followed by a 15 minute coffee break.

15:45 - Panel 5 (Chair: Dr Christina Lee)

Qiancheng Li, 'Explicit acquisition of collocations under different input conditions for Chinese EFL learners: Read aloud or silently'
Wenxiang Zhang, 'A comparative analysis of Allianz's brand communication in social media from the UK to China'
Rhiannon Rumble, 'Mycelium Kisses: Examining Fungal Fiction as Trans-corporeal Text'
Lucile Desligneres, '"Get lost Oxford!" A psychogeography of the city'

This panel will be followed by closing remarks from Dr Christina Lee, Director of PGT, followed by a wine reception. 

Full Programme

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10:00 - Arrival and registration (with coffee and pastries)

10:30 - Welcome from Dr Joe Jackson, Director of Teaching for the School of English

10:45 - Panel 1 (Chair: Abigail Greaves)

Naama Alaboodi, 'Temporal Places and Permanent Space in Jean Rhys' Let Them Call It Jazz'
Khadiza Naznin Huda, 'The formation of identity through clothing and fashion in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable and Susanna Moore's One Last Look'
Yun-Sah Hsieh, 'From Mimics to Simulacra: Posthuman Pathos in Kazuo Ishigoro's Never Let Me Go (2005) and Klara and The Sun (2021)'
Amalia Costa, 'Venus as a Boy: Employing the Androgynous Gaze in Ali Smith's Hotel WorldBoy Meets Girl and How To Be Both.'

11.45 - Panel 2 (Chair: Tom Fairfax)

Marie Georghiou, 'Bringing old texts to life: Translating a 1000 year-old riddle'.
Samuel Masters, 'The Divine Paradox: The Use of Paradox in English Devotional Lyrics from 1300-1600'.
Em Horne, 'An examination of the value of place-names as evidence for the history, landscape and, especially, the language(s) of the Lancashire coast'.
Jessica Corrigan, 'Reconstructing Patriarchal Norms in the Early Modern Forest'.

This panel will be followed by a 45 minute break for lunch.

13:30 - Panel 3 (Chair: Dr Christina Lee)

Katy Bagust-Jones, 'Cannot Lah: A comparison of the meaning and use of can and cannot in Singapore and British English'.
Minael Shahzadi, 'Representation and Interpretation in Muriel Rukeyser and Adrienne Rich's Ekphrastic Poetry.'
Emily Jones, ''For what could beauty's business be in Murphy's vicinity, if not with Murphy?' Fate and metafiction in Samuel Beckett's Murphy'.
Lauren Walker, 'Exploring Midlands attitudes towards regional linguistic variation in the UK and Ireland'.

14:30 - Panel 4 (Chair: Amanda Kale)

Abdulaziz Alhussan, 'The influence of the gamified-flipped approach on improving engagement and learning achievements'.
Jennifer Lea, 'Beyond the Archetype: How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez uses code-switching to engage the electorate and defy expectations of powerful women.'
Beiting Zheng, 'Are we learning "Textbook English"? A corpus-based study of lexical bundles in English textbooks used in Chinese secondary schools'.
Xuewu Qin, 'Demographic study with Chinese high school deaf EFL learners - a case study with Wuhan No.1 deaf school'.

This panel will be followed by a 15 minute coffee break.

15:45 - Panel 5 (Chair: Molly Watson)

Daisy Twizell, 'The relationship between contemporary "Instapoets" and second-wave feminist poetry'.
Jacob Watkins, ''To Build the Universe Stupendous': What Lord Byron and Percy Shelley searched for in Strain'.
Alex Tyndall, 'A Disappointment to My Parents'.

This panel will be followed by closing remarks and a wine reception.

Full Programme



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10:45 - Welcome from Professor Svenja Adolphs, Head of School for the School of English

11:00 - Identity and experience in fiction and poetry (Chair: Professor Jim Moran)

Emma Stirland, Logic of the Flesh: Touch in D.H. Lawrence's The Blind Man and You Touched Me
Amy Bouwer, 'I sing to you / from my place with my righteous kin': Judith Wright's Decolonial Poetics
Lucy Boynes, 'The sick voice inside her': The self and other dichotomy and gothic representations of mental illness in The Haunting of Hill House and Lighter Than My Shadow

This panel will be followed by a 15 minute break.

12:00 - Linguistic Identity Formation (Chair: Dr Helen Buckler)

Wirdatul Khasanah, It takes two to tango: But why woman always being blamed in infidelity?
Xinmei Sun, Sacrificing long hair and the domestic sphere: A corpus-based critical discourse analysis of news reports on female medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in China
Ruth Serlin, 'After all, I'm only human': how veterinarians create a professional identity relating to animal euthanasia

This panel will be followed by an hour long break for lunch.

14:00 - Adapting form, creating fiction (Chair: Dr Christina Lee)

Michaela Villano, English and Italian Arthurian Medieval Romances from the 13th to the 15th Century: A Comparative Study
Lilith Lear Hudson, Technological Threats and the Metafictional Mode: Analysing Dystopias in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Lionel Shriver's The Mandibles (2016)
Joe Paternoster, 'God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!': Marvel's Thanos as a solution to the death of God in an increasingly secular Western world.
Simeon Cherepov, Out of site, out of mind: escaping from and into the occult in Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

This panel will be followed by a 15 minute break.

15:15 - How its made: constructing language and literature (Chair: Dr Joe Jackson)

Noor Dabbas, 'Just Google It': A Cross-Corpus Study of Conversion and Cognitive Grammar
James Stevens, 'For you know only a heap of broken images': how does T.S. Eliot transform his presentation of disillusionment from manuscript to publication in The Waste Land
Anna Gant, 'The End is the Beginning': The 'What' and 'Whys' of Fanfiction in the Words of Those Who Are Both Fanficcers and Traditionally Published Writers

This panel will be followed by some closing remarks.

Full Programme



Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic no Showcase took place in 2020.


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This event celebrates the research produced by final year undergraduates and by MA students, who were invited to present on any aspect of their work ranging from dissertations to essays and creative writing.

The day began with a keynote talk from  Jon McGregor, Professor of Creative Writing in the School and editor of our very own literary journal,  The Letters Page. Jon discussed his career, and his working practices; particularly the processes of writing. This was followed by a diverse range of papers with more than twenty students delivering presentations, providing a fantastic representation of work undertaken in the School.

Subjects that attendees could hear about included: how language reclamation was used on feminist protest signs from the 2017 Women’s March; swearing in Mandarin online; Afrofuturism in Anthony Joseph’s The African Origins of UFOS; and a feminist exploration of language and gender in adaptations and appropriations of Much Ado About Nothing. The ambition and enthusiasm demonstrated by participants was a great way to mark the end of term, and a wonderful culmination to the teaching year.

Dr Lucie Sutherland, Assistant Professor, School of English



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This year's Showcase event was held on Friday 23rd March

What a fantastic spectacle this year's Showcase was! Dr Daniel Hunt, Director of Undergraduate Studies opened up the event with a wonderful Welcome talk expressing what a great opportunity The English Showcase is for learning new things and sharing ideas. We couldn't agree more!

The line-up was certainly an impressive one whereby third year English with Creative Writing student, Tianna Johnson gave a very well received talk on 'Decolonising the Curriculum in Modern Cultural Identity in Literature' and ended with Andrea Bowd's, beautiful collection of poetries entitled, 'Panaceas' on the Creative/Critical panel. Thank you to all of our students, audience and staff for participating in and supporting this inspirational annual event.



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Proud of your work? #ShowOff17

This year's Showcase took place on Friday 7th April 2017.

Bigger than ever before, the full-day event included a diverse range of papers from fourteen speakers who were either Masters students or in their final year of Undergraduate study. Panel topics ranged from Shakespearean 'Filmic Legacies' and 'Character Interactions' to 'The Politics of Space and Things', 'The Use and Abuse of Language', and 'Religion, Science, and the Gothic'. Professor Josephine Guy, the Head of School, gave a fantastic welcome talk on the importance of public speaking both inside and outside of academia. Presentations were then followed by an informal wine reception, which provided participants with a chance to network, reflect on the day's events, and celebrate the end of term.



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Proud of Your Work? #ShowOff16

The English Showcase 2016 took place on the 10th February 2016, showing off a great variety of projects and research. The event included an introductory talk by a special guest speaker, award-winning novelist (and School of English alumna) Clare Harvey, who revealed how she turned her University of Nottingham Masters submissions into a two-book publishing deal.

Eleven student speakers discussed the projects that they were most proud of, covering a range of topics including theatre, creative writing, literature and language. The presentations then closed with a discussion from Associate Professor of Viking Studies, Dr Christina Lee, on the various routes English research offers. 

Please see the Showcase resources, produced by the student committee, for more information on the 2016 English Showcase.



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The English Showcase 2015 was the first of its kind for the School of English.

It was authoritative, consistently interesting, and full of enthusiasm. Speaking in public can be very difficult, and speaking about your work in front of peers and academic staff even more so, but the students handled that side of things with aplomb. Throughout, in fact, the Showcase felt like a professional academic conference – confirming the evident care with which it had been planned and structured. Well done!

- Dr Nathan Waddell, Assistant Professor of Literary Modernism, discussing the first English Showcase in 2015


Please see the video below to hear from some of the participants and organisers of the 2015 English Showcase.

Conference Booklet
The 2015 logo
The English Showcase poster

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