School of English

Research Projects

The School of English embraces a wide spectrum of specialisms and interdisciplinary areas

The School has been successful in securing the following externally funded research projects:

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The Language, Gender and Leadership Network

AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council)


Professor Louise Mullany (Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics) (Linguistic Profiling for Professionals

The Language, Gender and Leadership Network will enhance economic development and the welfare of women in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) by analysing the key communicative challenges facing women and girls for them to become a successful generation of leaders in businesses and politics in Africa and beyond. The Network's creation will provide an innovative opportunity for academics, policy makers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), charities and other stakeholders to focus on the core communicative skills required to succeed as leaders in businesses and politics in LMICs, through a focus on the sociolinguistics of narrative.

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Developing an Empirically-based Rank List of Vocabulary Knowledge

British Council (Manchester)

01/10/2016 - 30/09/2018

Professor Norbert Schmitt (Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics)

Problem: It is widely acknowledged that vocabulary is a key component of language proficiency, and frequency has been used to decide the most important words to teach. But frequency is a rather crude measure of a word's value, and often does not map onto the ways L2 learners acquire their vocabulary.  Examples are the words pencil and eraser.  These are absolutely critical for the classroom, and all students learn these words early on. But in terms of frequency, they occur all the way down at the 4,000th and 5,000th frequency levels. 

Solution: The solution is to develop a rank list of English vocabulary which is not based frequency data, but on the actual likelihood of L2 learners knowing the words. Of course, all learners are different, and will learn some words before others. Nevertheless, there is very good reason to believe that some form of hierarchy does exist, and even if only probabilistic, it will almost certainly provide a better basis for informing vocabulary pedagogy than the current frequency lists. The goal of the LORKOV project is to develop such a list, by testing large numbers of L2 learners to see how well they know a range of words. 

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The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James: Volume 28: 'The Lesson of the Master' and Other Tales

British Academy / Leverhulme Small Travel Grant

01/07/2017 - 01/09/2018

Dr Rebekah Scott (Centre for Regional Literature and Culture)

During the late nineteenth century the novelist Henry James was a prolific writer of short stories, many of which were first published in periodicals before undergoing extensive revision for book publication. Today, most of these 120 or so tales are available only in early (often corrupted) magazine edition, with minimal commentary. Commissioned by Cambridge University Press as part of its monumental and ongoing Complete Fiction of Henry James, I am aiming to produce a scholarly edition of a group of tales, written between 1888 and 1892, which reproduce the first revised, book edition, alongside annotations, a table of variants spanning revisions over a twenty-year period, and a 20,000 word scholarly introduction that places each tale in the Anglo-American publishing culture (magazine and book) of this period, rather than in broad biographical or thematic contexts, which is how "selected editions" have operated in the past. Archival material (unpublished letters between James and his editors; manuscripts; book contracts and copyright agreements) found in the Houghton Library (Harvard), the Beinecke (Yale), the Firestone (Princeton), the Butler (Columbia), the Berg Collection (New York Public Library), the Pierpont Morgan, the University of Reading (Special Collections), and the British Library, is central to my account of the composition, publication, revision and reception histories of these tales, which include such characteristic and classic titles as 'The Lesson of the Master', 'The Pupil' and 'Brooksmith'. 


Citizen Scholarship in Nottingham: understanding the value of engaging users with heritage and culture

AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council)

01/09/2017 - 31/08/2018

Dr Joanna Robinson (Centre for Regional Literature and Culture)

This follow on AHRC funding project, developed in collaboration with the Theatre Royal and Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, represents an important opportunity to work with partners across the city of Nottingham to establish frameworks both for enabling participation in cultural and heritage activities at a local level and for understanding the value of such participation in terms of the experience of the organisation and the individual.


In dialogue with the past: Legacies of the transatlantic slave trade in Canada’s modern-day slavery

Leverhulme International Academic Fellowship

01/09/2017 - 30/06/2018

Dr Abigail Ward (Centre for Regional Literature and Culture)

My Leverhulme International Academic Fellowship enables me to develop an innovative multidisciplinary approach and network concerning the relationship between 21st-century forms of enslavement and the transatlantic slave trade within Canada. The purpose of my Fellowship at the University of Calgary is twofold; firstly, to create an interdisciplinary framework for my project (and future teaching and research) within Canada, where I will be able to meet with, and learn from, key figures (both academics and those within organisations devoted to ending human trafficking). Secondly, I will cultivate these contacts into a dynamic network, with a view to facilitating future collaborations between universities, academics, and anti-slavery charities.

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Bringing Vikings Back to the East Midlands

AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council)

01/02/2017 - 31/03/2018

Professor Judith Jesch (Centre for the Study of the Viking Age)

This follow-on AHRC funding project has been developed in collaboration with the University Museum and Lakeside Arts to support the British Museum/York Museums Trust exhibition Viking: Rediscover the Legend, examining how the Viking diaspora in the East Midlands shaped the development of the area. The project aims to encourage creative engagement with the East Midlands’ Viking heritage through a programme of knowledge exchange workshops, public lectures, seminars and activities, an East Midlands-themed exhibition about Vikings and their legacy, and a website featuring information about the Vikings in the East Midlands.

Read more about the project.

The Sherwood Foresters of the Easter Rising: Memories, Monuments, and Fictions

AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) (Centre for Hidden Histories)

01/01/2017 - 07/10/2017

Professor Jim Moran

This collaborative research project seeks to uncover the voices of the Sherwood Foresters who fought during the Easter Rising of 1916.  This group of men has been consistently under-represented in narratives of the First World War and of Anglo-Irish history.  This project seeks to uncover the lives and words of the Sherwood Foresters, and to have those hidden lives represented in public performance. 

It has been the primary aim of this project to recover the unfamiliar archival material associated with the Sherwood Foresters of 1916 in order to recount their experience of the Easter Rising, and to recover the fascinating and largely unknown story of what happened to the Sherwood Foresters both in Dublin and afterwards on the Western Front. The project also aims to show how, in visual monuments and in fictional depictions, those Sherwood Foresters have subsequently been remembered, and misremembered, in British and Irish culture.

The project has had both an academic and a popular output. The first is a scholarly journal publication that has been co-written by James Moran and Fintan Cullen, which has been accepted for publication in Irish Studies Review and is entitled ‘The Sherwood Foresters of 1916: Memories and Memorials’. The latter is a public performance, given at the Lakeside Theatre on 7 October 2017, the details of which can be found here.

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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part 7: 1821-27

MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association)

01/10/2016 - 01/09/2017

Professor Lynda Pratt (Centre for Regional Literature and Culture)

This Modern Humanities Research Association award funded a Research Associate, Dr Sara Slinn, to work with Professor Lynda Pratt on editing Part 7 of the first-ever scholarly edition of The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Robert Southey (1774-1843) was a multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual, one-man literary industry. His vast correspondence is key to understanding his life, work and relationship to his times, but is now dispersed between over 200 archives spread across the globe. Identifying, collecting, transcribing, editing and annotating his letters therefore presents some formidable challenges, which Lynda and the rest of the team are tackling head on. 

The Collected Letters is based in the School of English, Nottingham, and draws on the expertise of a team of interdisciplinary and international researchers. The edition is being published online and free of access by Romantic Circles, the leading international experts in digital Romanticism. When complete, it will make available texts of Southey’s 7500 surviving letters edited to the highest scholarly standards. Part 7 will be published in 2018. Please do follow the link to see Parts 1-6 of the Collected Letters, published in 2009-16:


Flood and Flow: Place-Names and River System Hydrography Past, Present, Future

Leverhulme Trust
01/08/2016 - 31/07/2018
Dr Jayne Carroll

Travel and communication in Anglo-Saxon England

Leverhulme Trust
01/11/2014 - 31/10/2017
Dr Jayne Carroll

L2 reading and reading-while-listening in multi-modal learning conditions: An eye-tracking study

British Council (Manchester)
01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017
Dr Kathryn Conklin

Past projects

Philip Leverhulme Prize - Performing and Visual Arts

Leverhulme Trust
01/11/2014 - 31/10/2016
Professor James Moran

Sarah Atkins FRL - Simulated assessments of General Practitioners' consultations in a multicultural society: a linguistic analysis

21/10/2013 - 20/04/2016
Professor Julie Sanders

British Academy Fellowship - The Drama of DH Lawrence: Regional Identity and Space

British Academy
16.12.13 to 15.12.14
Dr Jim Moran

CLiC Dickens - Characterisation in the Representation of Speech and Body Language from a Corpus Stylistic Perspective

01.10.13 - 30.09.15
Professor Michaela Mahlberg
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

Provincial Shakespeare Performance

01.10.13 - 30.09.16
Dr Jo Robinson

Leverhulme Research Fellowship

01.09.13 to 31.08.15
Dr Nicola Royan 

The Place-Names of Shropshire

01/01/13 - 31/12/16
Dr Jayne Carroll
Institute for Name-Studies

Fellowship - The Viking Diaspora

27/01/13 - 26/09/13
Professor Judith Jesch
Centre for the Study of the Viking Age

Maitland Quarto Manuscript

AHRC early career fellowship (2012)
22/01/12 - 21/10/12
Dr Joanna Martin 

Digital Exposure of English Place-names (DEEP)

01/11/11 to 31/07/13
Dr Jayne Carroll
(in collaboration with the Centre for e-Research - King's College London, EDINA and Language Technology Group (LTG) - University of Edinburgh, Centre for Data Digitization and Analysis (CDDA) - Queen's University Belfast
Institute for Name-Studies

A Newly Discovered Account of Ben Jonson's Walk to Scotland: an Annotated Edition, Contextual Essays and Resources for Heritage Interpretation

01/05/11 to 31/10/13
Professor Julie Sanders
(in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh)
Centre for Regional Literature and Cultures
Landscape, Place, Space Research Group

The Impact of Diaspora in the Making of Britain: evidence, memory and invention

01/01/11 to 31/12/15
Dr Jayne Carroll
(in collaboration with the University of Leicester)
Institute for Name-Studies

Landscapes of Governance: Assembly Sites in England, 5th-11th Centuries

19/10/09 to 18/10/12
Dr Jayne Carroll
(in collaboration with University College London)
Institute for Name-Studies

Exploiting Corpus Research for English Language Teaching

01/01/2011 to 31/12/11
Professor Ronald Carter and Professor Svenja Adolphs
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

From Corpus to Classroom - EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Secondment to Industry Partner

01/07/2010 to 31/10/11
Professor Ronald Carter and Professor Svenja Adolphs
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

Health Communication and the Internet: An Analysis of Adolescent Language Use on the Teenage Health Freak Website

01/07/09 to 30/06/10
Professor Svenja Adolphs and Dr Louise Mullany
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts: texts, owners and readers

01/11/08 to 31/07/10
Professor Thorlac Turville-Petre

Genes of Gallgoidil: Migration of Irish, Hiberno-Norse and other Gaelic-speaking populations in the Viking Age

01/11/08 to 31/10/10
Dr Christina Lee
(in collaboration with the University of Limerick)
Centre for the Study of the Viking Age

Major Research Fellowship

01/09/08 to 31/08/10
Professor Janette Dillon

Letters of Robert Southey (Part 1-4: 1791 to 1815)

01/04/07 to 31/03/10
Professor Lynda Pratt
Centre for Regional Literature and Culture

English place-name study and regional variety

01/09/05 to 31/08/10
Dr David Parsons
Institute for Name-Studies

Mapping Nottingham Performance Culture

01/06/06 to 31/07/09
(in collaboration with the School of Geography)
(Video available for 'Mapping the Moment')
Dr Joanna Robinson
Centre for Regional Literature and Culture

Leverhulme Visiting Professorship

This professorship is attached to the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Centre-funded interdisciplinary
Landscape, Space, Place research group 
Conferences and symposia organised by the project have attracted additional funding and support from the AHRC's Landscape and Environment programme and the Landscape, Space, Place Research Group
2005 to 2008
(in collaboration with the School of Geography)
Professor Julie Sanders
Centre for Regional Literature and Culture

New form of digital record for e-Social Science 3

01/04/05 to 31/03/08
(in collaboration with other schools)
Professor Ronald Carter
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

Second language speech fluency

01/09/05 to 31/08/08
(in collaboration with other schools)
Dr Svenja Adolphs
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

Anglo Saxon Civil Defence in the Viking Age

Leverhulme Trust
1/10/05 to 30/09/08
Dr David Parsons
Institute for Name-Studies 

Viking Identities Network

01/04/06 to 31/03/09
Professor Judith Jesch
Centre for the Study of the Viking Age

Gender Processing in monolinguals and bilinguals

British Academy
01/05/06 to 30/04/08
(in collaboration with the School of Psychology)
Dr Kathy Conklin
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

Electronic edition of Piers Plowman

01/09/06 to 31/08/08
Professor Thorlac Turville-Petre


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)

School of English

Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924