Faculty of Education and Language Studies
As an applied linguist, I work with language in use. My research investigates how people use metaphor in discourse activity.
From 2009-2012 an ESRC Global Uncertainties Research Fellow, with a project entitled "Living with Uncertainty: Metaphor and the dynamics of empathy".
I began researching metaphor in classroom discourse and then examined post-conflict reconciliation meetings. From these empirical studies, a methodology for metaphor analysis has been developed, funded through the ESRC’S National Centre for Research Methods and contributed to by active researchers in the field. The Metaphor Analysis website listed above offers students and scholars an illustrated procedure for working with metaphor in talk or text.
Metaphor analysis was employed in the ESRC project "Perception and Communication of Terrorist Risk" (2005-07). Funded under the New Security Challenges programme, and based at University of Leeds, this project investigated how people think about terrorist risk and its impact on their lives.
A dynamic model of empathy is being developed through investigation into how people speak of 'the Other'. Metaphor analysis is being further developed as a tool for social science research that can reveal something of people's ideas, attitudes and values. With collaborators in Brazil, USA and the UK, I am finding out how living with the uncertainties created by urban violence, terrorism, and increased migration can affect social empathy.