School of English
Funded research projects

Funded research projects

We have a strong track record of securing external research funding from major research councils and established awarding bodies. This funding supports the development of collaborative projects that address both local and global research challenges. We also collaborate on interdisciplinary projects funded externally and by the University.


Current projects

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Language and LGBTQ+ Youth: Analysing Marginalised Identities through an Intersectional Lens

British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship

Fellowship duration: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
Principal Investigator: Dr Lucy Jones

This research develops a new framework for the sociolinguistic analysis of intersectionality, whereby factors such as gender, race, and age combine to marginalise speakers in unique ways. It demonstrates how sociolinguists can account for this in their analyses of identity construction. The framework builds upon discourse analysis of interview data with LGBTQ+ youth, which has already been collected via ethnographic fieldwork (funded through a BA Small Grant). The analysis explores the links between the young people’s lived experiences and their positioning of themselves, through their language use, in relation to the wider world.

Through an exploration of how the young people communicate multifaceted and variable aspects of their identity, the intersectional framework will be outlined and demonstrated. Via a series of public engagement interventions developed in partnership with the young people, the research will also enhance understanding of the language of LGBTQ+ identity and the intersectional nature of structural inequality.

Open laptop on dark background.

Horizon: Data Driven Products

Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council

Project duration: December 20 - December 25
Principal Investigator: Boriana Koleva (Computer Science), School of English Co-I: Svenja Adolphs

The Horizon institute is a multidisciplinary centre of excellence for Digital Economy (DE) research. The core mission of Horizon has been to balance the opportunities arising from the capture, analysis and use of personal data with an awareness and understanding of human and social values. Horizon now encompasses over 50 researchers, spanning Computing, Engineering, Law, Psychology, Social Sciences, Business and the Humanities.

This proposal builds on our established interdisciplinary competencies to deliver research and impact to ensure that future data-driven products can be both co-created and trusted by consumers.

Core to our current vision is the idea that future products will be hybrids of both the digital and the physical. Physical products are increasingly augmented with digital capabilities, from data footprints that capture their provenance to software that enables them to adapt their behaviour. Conversely, digital products are ultimately physically experienced by people in some real-world context and increasingly adapt to both.

Throughout we aim to continue to develop the capacity in our researchers, the wider DE research community and more broadly within society, to engage in responsible innovation using personal data within the Digital Economy.

Person with visible hearing aid.

Conversation behaviour in daily life: the effects of situation, hearing loss, and hearing-aid 

Funder: Arts & Humanities Research Council

Project duration: September 2021 – September 2025
Principal Investigator: Svenja Adolphs

Person swimming outdoors.

Wild Swimming and Blue Spaces: Mobilising interdisciplinary knowledge and partnerships to combat health inequalities at scale

Funder: Arts & Humanities Research Council

Project duration: January 2022 – January 2023
Principal Investigator: Svenja Adolphs

The recent surge in popularity of wild swimming (also referred to as open water swimming or cold water swimming), or swimming in natural 'blue spaces', including rivers, lakes or the sea, has highlighted the significant scale of opportunity to leverage the use of blue spaces as community assets to combat health inequalities. However, despite the well documented physical and mental health benefits of wild swimming that are relevant to large groups of the population suffering from ill health, current prevention and intervention strategies that focus on wild swimming to mitigate health inequalities tend to be local, place-based and disparate, and lack an overall joined-up approach that would allow them to be scaled up to benefit whole communities as part of established health policy.

In collaboration with our project partners (Swim England, Black Swimming Association, The National Trust, Freshwater Biological Association, UK Centre for Hydrology and Ecology, Leicestershire County Council, Social Prescribing at Partners Health, and Thrive health content developers), we have identified one of the main barriers to scaling up successful place-based approaches: the current lack of integrated information about the mental and physical health benefits of wild swimming alongside the risks related to water quality and safety aspects of specific blue spaces that people use for swimming.

Together with our project partners, we bring to bear our combined interdisciplinary expertise to address the following two main research questions:

1. How can we co-create an evidence base and sample content about wild swimming that will facilitate scale up of local approaches and initiatives to combat health inequalities?

2. What kind of mechanisms and relationships need to be formed and formalised to scale up approaches that leverage blue spaces to combat health inequalities through wild swimming?

Our project will have significant benefits for users within and beyond the academic community. We will develop a new mixed methods approach, drawing on corpus linguistics and narrative analysis, to create effective public health messaging that includes content from a range of academic disciplines. The project will benefit the many individuals and diverse communities who will be enabled to enjoy wild swimming in a safe way to improve health, and to gain an increased awareness of the nature of blue spaces and their role as a community asset.

A person performing.

Live Experiential And Digital Diversification: Nottingham

EU Regional Development Funding

Project Duration: 01/01/2021 - 30/06/2023

Principal investigator: Professor Helen Kennedy (School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies)

In the School of English: Professor James Moran & Dr Spencer Jordan (Centre for Regional Literature and Culture)

This project will work with local businesses to use immersive technologies and techniques to deliver exciting new experiences for customers, visitors and audiences. The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University are combining their expertise in these areas and working with local businesses to:

  • introduce them to the technologies
  • help develop viable products

This will help businesses maximise potential and profit in a post-pandemic economy. At the University of Nottingham this project is an interdisciplinary research project between the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science that will be drawing on the sector-leading expertise of our academics from across the University. 

You can find out more here.

A series of cartoon speech bubbles.

Interactional Variation Online: Harnessing digital technologies in the digital humanities to analyse online discourse in different workplace contexts

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC/UKRI)

Project duration: 2021 - 2024

Principal investigator: Professor Svenja Adolphs (Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics)

Working with colleagues from Cardiff University, Mary Immaculate College, Swansea University, The University of Nottingham, University College Dublin, and University of Aberdeen, this AHRC/IRC funded project first aims to examine virtual workplace communication to gain depth of insight into the potential barriers to effective communication. Our second aim is to propose the next generation of frameworks for analysing online discourse and will make these frameworks available to all arts and humanities research and end user communities. This will lead to a step change in our ability to develop equality of access in online communication. The project team received £390,000 from AHRC and €270,000 from IRC for this project, to be undertaken from 2021-24.

You can visit the project website for more information.

Two shelves of books.

The Survey of English Place-Names

British Academy - An Academy Research Project

Project duration: Ongoing

Principal investigator: Dr Jayne Carroll (Institute for Name Studies)

The Survey of English Place-Names was established in the 1920s and has enjoyed the British Academy's support since then. Its aims are to publish volumes on place-names across England, on a county-by-county basis. To date 95 volumes have ben published, covering most or all of 32 counties. Work is ongoing for Hampshire, Herefordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, Somerset and Staffordshire.

Past projects

Visit our past projects page to find out more.


Related research body links

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Leverhulme Trust British Academy Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

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