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Postgraduate Study

English Postgraduate Research within the Department of Humanities.

Postgraduate research is a central and exciting part of the department and the postgraduate student community forms an important and lively part of our research culture. We offer a dynamic postgraduate training programme, which includes workshops on publishing, course design and careers both inside and academia. We also offer HE teaching training through a dedicated shadowing scheme, in which PhD students receive training and gain teaching and marking experience by shadowing a member of staff and teaching seminar sessions over the course of a semester.

Northumbria is a member of the AHRC-funded Northern Bridge consortia for postgraduate funding as well as offering its own bursary scheme.


Current PhD Students:


Bethany Brigham

Medical Fictions and Healing Words: The Gothic Narratives of the Medical Profession, 1750-1850

After having completed both an English Literature and History BA and English Literature MA at Northumbria University, I am now undertaking an AHRC funded PhD. My project focuses on gothic fiction in relation to the discourse and practice of the medical profession in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. My broad research interests are cultural uses and transmissions of literary narrative, convention and trope, and the relationship between fiction and medico-scientific contexts. My area of expertise is Mary Shelley, particularly in regards to Frankenstein.



Emma Catan

Cross-dressing and 'Criminality' in the Neo-Victorian City

I gained my BA in English and Sociology at Northumbria in 2008, and an MA English Literature in 2018. My main research interests centre around gender performance within city-spaces, and how spaces and behaviours are policed. I specialise in contemporary British literature; but also have an academic interest in children's literature, the works of Terry Pratchett, American and Victorian literature. I am currently working on a Neo-Victorian and Victorian Studies webcast. In addition to my research, I am a qualified careers adviser and also currently work in this capacity.



Julia Ditter

Shifting Borders and Contested Natures in Scottish Literature, 1800 – present

I gained a BA in English and American Studies and Spanish, and an MA in British and North American Cultural Studies at the University of Freiburg (Germany) and studied abroad for two semesters at the University of Seville (Spain) and the University of Aberdeen (UK). My research interests include British, Irish and Scottish literatures, cultural studies, border studies, animal studies, mobility studies and ecocriticism. My dissertation focuses on the forms through which borders and the environment are articulated in Scottish literature from the nineteenth century onwards. I’m co-editor of Arcadiana, a blog hosted by the European Association of the Study of Literature, Culture and the Environment (EASLCE), and Graduate Student Representative of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS).



Katie Liddane

Bewitching the North East: Witchcraft in the North East of England 1642-1673, and its legacy today.

Katie Liddane gained her BA in History in 2016 and her AHRC funded MRes, also in History, in 2017 both at Northumbria. She is now a PhD student funded by the AHRC through the Heritage Consortium. Supervised by Claire Nally (Northumbria), Amanda Capern (Hull) and David Clarke (Sheffield Hallam), her thesis is on seventeenth century witchcraft in the North East of England and its legacy. Beyond witchcraft history, her research interests are historical fiction,  intersectional feminist theory in literature and history, and the Gothic; specifically gothic tourism.



Katherine Stanton

Common People: Enhancing the Visibility of Working-Class Writing and Working-Class Writers in the Twenty-First-Century Literary and Publishing Industries

I studied English at Newcastle University as an undergraduate, going on to complete my MLitt there in 1999.  I then worked in the literary industries for twenty years, as a trade editor for publishers including Bloomsbury and Simon & Schuster, as well as programming and organising literary events at festivals nationally and internationally.  My PhD is a collaborative study, working with the writing development organisation New Writing North, and through profiling their Common People project my research explores contemporary working-class writing and issues of class in the literary and publishing industries today.



Laurence Sullivan

‘Every Woman Her Own Doctress’: Literary Portrayals of Lay Women Practitioners on the Stage and Page in Eighteenth-Century Britain.

My current research is focused on exploring literary representations of lay women who practiced medicine during the eighteenth century. I am interested in offering new interpretations of established characters in the literary canon by examining them through the lens of domestic medicine and in the context of medical self-help manuals. Through the study of how such women were represented creatively on the page and stage, I aim to further develop our understanding of the role medical self-help played in society, and how women could be empowered by being given the means to take ownership of their own health, that of their household’s and, potentially, even that of the wider community around them. This interdisciplinary study enables the interplay between different forms of text to be revealed, contributing new knowledge to both the fields of literary criticism and medical/cultural history, each informing the other to highlight the key – but all too often overlooked – role women played in the realm of domestic medical practice during the eighteenth century. My PhD is funded by the Leverhulme Trust as part of the major project Writing Doctors: Representation and Medical Personality, ca. 1660-1832, and is supervised by Prof. Clark Lawlor, Prof. Allan Ingram and Dr. Ashleigh Blackwood.

Qualifications: MA Shakespeare and Theatre (University of Birmingham); MDrama (Hons) Drama and Theatre Studies (University of Kent)



Daisy Winter

The Emergence of Women’s Memoir in England, 1660-1740


After completing my BA and MA in English Literature at Northumbria University, I returned in 2019 to take up a fully-funded PhD. My research interests lie broadly in the relationship between print and manuscript cultures, concepts of interiority and cultural intimacy. I am currently researching the emergence and development of women’s memoir throughout the long eighteenth century. I am interested in the slipperiness of genre in this period, and the thesis encompasses a broad range of spiritual autobiographies, private diaries, novels, and other writings.





Andrea Canavosio

Argentinian Instructors’ Attitudes towards the Cordobese Accent and its Implications on the Acquisition of Spanish as a Second Language

I was born in Córdoba, Argentina, where I graduated from the School of Languages, National University of Córdoba, as an English Language Teacher, Public Translator and Licentiate in English Language and Literature. I hold an MA in English Applied Linguistics. I am an undergraduate and graduate university lecturer in the fields of Phonetics and Phonology and English Language. I have done research on EFL academic writing assessment, EFL pronunciation assessment, self-assessment, Spanish prosody in academic discourse and Spanish sociophonetics. My current research interests include exploring attitudes towards linguistic diversity and variation; I am particularly interested in the interface between sociophonetics and second language acquisition.   



Rachid Khoumikham

Wandering in the Folklore of the Desert: Language Attitudes and Ethnicity in the Algerian Nomadic Society of Ouled Naíl

At present, I am a PhD researcher at Northumbria University. My PhD project attempts to unveil attitudes towards different Algerian Arabic varieties specifically Nomadic Ouled Nail Algerian Arabic. Previously, I took a PhD pre-sessional course at CCCU, Kent. The program revolved around research and language skills. I graduated my master’s degree with first class honours in sociolinguistics and gender studies at University of IbnBadis (Mostaganem), Algeria. My masters project revolved around understanding the influence of ideology on translation. This allowed me to sit a national contest for PhD funding in the UK in which I won a place amongst the top ten of my region. Prior to my master`s, I graduated my BA with first class honours in English language, linguistics, and history from Lounici Ali University (Afroun), Algeria. My research interests include: Algerian Sociolinguistics; Social Psychology of Languages; Language Attitudes and Accessibility to the Job Market; Mixed Methods Research.



Kyu Hyun Park

The Pragmatics of Production: A Relevance-Theoretic Heuristic

My current thesis makes proposals about the details of production and suggests how a relevance-theoretic approach helps to account for communicators’ production. This thesis develops the idea that a production heuristic constrains and guides the formulation of utterances as similar as a relevance-guided comprehension heuristic constrains and guides addressees’ interpretation. Before starting my PhD at Northumbria University, I completed my first MA in Linguistics and English Language Teaching at University of Leeds and the second MA in Cultural Studies at SOAS, University of London.



Kinga Patterson

Individual differences in the language-attention interaction: formal literacy effects on attention allocation during visually situated language processing tasks in adult native English speakers

This interdisciplinary project motivates a non-modular, interactionist account of cognitive operations relevant for language processing, and plans to observe and document SES-related individual differences in L1 ultimate attainment, by recording adult native speakers’ grammatical performance in online visual world tasks and exploring the potential relationship between SES-related correlates and late-acquired, syntactically complex constructions. The studentship is funded by the Northern Bridge Consortium's Doctoral Training Programme.



Louise Pybus

Language, identity, and learning: exploring the experiences of students with English as an Additional Language (EAL) in rural schools

I graduated from Northumbria University in 2017 with a first-class BA (Hons) English Language Studies degree. I then went on to study my PGCE at Sunderland University and had a placement at a rural school in North Yorkshire. It was during this placement that my interest in the experiences of students with English as an Additional Language (EAL) first arose. Using qualitative methods, my PhD research focuses on the everyday experiences of these students that are learning in schools with low populations of EAL.



Kingsley Oluchi Ugwuanyi

English language ownership perceptions of speakers of Nigerian English

Kingsley Oluchi Ugwuanyi is currently finishing off his doctoral research on Nigerian English at Northumbria University, United Kingdom. Kingsley holds BA (English & Literary Studies) and MA (Applied Linguistics) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he also teaches English linguistics. His research interests cut across sociolinguistics, Nigerian English, world Englishes and applied linguistics.



Creative Writing

Mark Holmes

Performing Elvis: A Creative and Critical Exploration of American Post-War Popular Culture and Working-Class Masculinities in the North East of England  

Born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, Mark started writing stories as a child and hasn’t stopped since. In 2015 he completed a degree in Creative Writing through the Open University, followed by a Master’s at the University of Edinburgh. He is now studying towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Northumbria University, has been shortlisted twice for the Sid Chaplin Award and, in 2020, was awarded a Northern Writers’ Award for his work. His research interests include: film studies, gender studies, American studies, and creative writing.



Susannah Ronnie

Mapping a Mutiny: How can poetry be used to imagine and interrogate the events surrounding the mutiny that took place in 1611 during Henry Hudson’s final voyage? 

Susannah studied English Language and Literature at Newcastle University, returning to study creative writing after 14 years in the recruitment industry. She has published poems in magazines and her collection Digging Up the Dead (Red Squirrel Press, 2014). Her short plays have been performed at Live Theatre and Octagon Theatre Bolton and in 2015, Queen's Hall Arts, Hexham commissioned a Mesolithic play, After the Ice, for 7-11 year olds. Susannah’s research interests centre on the relationship between history and fiction and she recently presented at the Historical Fictions Research Network Conference. Susannah has also exhibited book art and worked with New Writing North on their young people’s programme for a number of years.


Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

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