Current PhD students



Ting LIN

Ting LIN

Title of project: Academic Experiences of STEM Female Students under Campus Sexual Harassment in Higher Education: A Phenomenological Analysis with Relational- Cultural Theory

Supervisors: Ashley Ng Yoon Mooi, John Lowe, Odette Paramor, Lily Yu

Project Outline: This research, based on phenomenology, is a qualitative study that focuses on the academic experience of female students in 9 Chinese-Foreign cooperative universities in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Using campus sexual harassment experience as an entry point to study academic experience of STEM female students, in the framework of relational-cultural theory, this research aims to 1) explore and analyze the interpersonal relational processing mechanism of female victims and the impacts of three different types of sexual harassment experiences on the academic experiences (including academic achievement and academic loss);  and 2) further expound the importance of broadening the concept of sexual harassment and eliminating gender discrimination to promote the gender-structural health of academic development in higher education, in STEM field.

Brief Bio: 

BA in English Translation, Ningbo University of Technology

MA with distinction in International Higher Education, University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Research interests: international higher education and sexual harassment study in cross-cultural communications; the enhancement of experiences of both international and domestic students in higher education; gender-based violence, gender inequality in higher education.


 Guangni CHEN

Guangni CHEN

Title of Project: Knowledge Co-construction in Translanguaging EFL Classes in Tibet

Supervisors: Dr Anwei Feng, Dr Dan Shi, Dr Robert Weekly, Dr Derek Irwin

Project Outline: This study aims to explore the phenomenon that multiple languages, namely Mandarin Chinese, English, and Tibetan are used in EFL classroom in the context of Tibet, China, focusing on how knowledge is co-constructed by participants from the perspective of Translanguaging. A qualitative research will be designed to understand the meanings of activities for the participants, and to highlight the context within which the educational process takes place. The findings of this study will hopefully be referred to in the discussion of reevaluating the effects of multilingualism in EFL classes in minority areas, and be used to improve students’ learning and teachers’ knowledge as well.

Brief Bio:

• MA in English Language and English Literature, Southwest University, China

• BA in English Language Education, Southwest University, China

• English teacher at Lhasa Normal College, Tibet, China

• English teacher at Chong Qing Nanfang Translators College of SISU


Zuanxu HE

Zuanxu HE

Title of project: Connecting Principal Succession and Principal Preparation in China

Supervisors: Dr Ashley Yoon Mooi Ng, School of Education and English, UNNC; Prof Tony Bush, School of Education, UNUK

Project outline: The research aims to explore principal succession and principal preparation. Few studies on the topic attempted to link principal preparation and succession. The results of this study can provide some empirical data for the relevant theoretical research and enrich the content of the research on the preparation and training of principals in China. Researching principal preparation is helpful to ensure the smooth succession of principals in China.

Brief Bio: I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Northwood University, Wuxi, China, and then my Master's degree in International Higher Education at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. In the process of learning, I found my interest in Education. I have a passion for higher pursuits in research. I am looking forward to my PhD study and life at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China.




Title of project:  Queer Translation Practice as Activism in China.

Supervisors: Dr. Lily Yu (UNNC), Dr. Susan Billingham (UK)

Project Outline: The study aims to develop a hybrid queer theoretical model to explore how the Chinese translations of neo-Victorian historical novels become a queer practice. Moreover, this project will shed light on how this queer mode of translation has the subversive power to constitute a special form of activism that reflects the rifts, tensions, synergies and overlaps between contemporary feminist and queer politics in China. Specifically, sociological and mathematical approaches will be used in this project to measure the activist dimension of queer translation.

Brief Bio: 

l  Master of Arts in Interpreting and Translation, Mandarin and English, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. With Distinction

l  BA from Northeast Forestry University, International Economics and Trade

l  Full scholarship 2020




Title of Project: The Role of Machine Translation in the Teaching and Learning of Chinese as a Foreign Language

Supervisors: Xiaoge Xu, Nancy Liu

Project Outlines: My study aims to systematically examine the role of machine translation in the teaching and learning of Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL). The research intents to investigate three main aspects: teachers’ and students’ attitudes to machine translation, their use of machine translation in the teaching and learning, and whether students are able to critically evaluate the limitations, risks, and quality of machine translation.

Brief Bio:

l  Master of Translation (The University of Melbourne)

l  Graduate Certificate of Asian Studies (The University of Melbourne)

l  Graduate Certificate of Creative Writing (The University of Melbourne)

l  NAATI Accredited Professional Translator (Level 3)


Tingting ZHAO

 Tingting ZHAO

Title: To what extend does machine translation affect English language learning

Supervisors: Dr Xiaoge Xu; Dr Nancy Liu

Outline: The objective of the study is to explore the roles of machine translation in the language learning process and the impact of it on schools, teachers and students. This study contributes to explore the capabilities of machine translation and the way of incorporating translation technology into the learning process.

Bio: My educational background is all around with English language teaching. I got my BA in Primary Education and English studies. I then proceed to study towards and graduate with a MA in TESOL from The University of Nottingham. During my teaching experience, I found my interest in machine translation, English language teaching and how they are related. Thus, I decided to move to UNNC and pursue a higher level of my research. 


Amarpreet GILL


Amarpreet GILL

Title of Project: Digital Pedagogy in Product Design Education at Higher Education Institutions 

Supervisors: Dr. Derek Irwin (UNNC), Dr Dave Towey (UNNC) and Dr Yanhui Zhang (UNNC).  

Project Outline: The aim of the research is to investigate the use of AR/MR pedagogy in Product Design education and how they impact learning and academic performance. The study will pay particular attention to the teaching of theoretical subjects within Product Design education, as many design students struggle to use theoretical insights during their practical design assignments (Tempelman et al. 2011). 

This study aims to develop a digital pedagogy which is grounded in established learning theories such as ‘active learning’ , ‘learning by doing’  and ‘experiential learning’ (Bonwell & Eison 1991; Dewey, 1916; Klob, 2014) which can help design students bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Brief Bio: I am currently a Design Studio Tutor in the BEng Product Design and Manufacture (PDM) programme, in the Department of Mechanical, Material and Manufacture Engineering (M3), within the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FoSE), at University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC).

I completed my Bachelor of Arts (Hons) at University of Huddersfield in Transport Design, thereafter I graduated from Umea Institute of Design (UiD), Sweden, with a Master of Fine Arts in Transportation Design. I have over 15 years’ experience as a Designer, working in Automotive, Graphic and Product industries in Europe and Asia.

Now I am pursuing my PhD as a part-time student in the School of Education and English. I look forward to extending my experience and career with an exciting and productive journey here at the UNNC.


Chang LI

Title of project:  Translating Feminism in the Digital Age

Supervisors: Lily Yu, Susan Billingham (UK)

Project Outline: The study aims to explore how western feminist works are translated into China in the digital age, focusing on the strategies utilized by various agents involved in this cross-cultural translating process and the impact of translation on the development of feminism in China and the verse visa. Specifically, linguistic, cultural and sociological approaches will be employed to critically examine the correlation between translation and feminism in China in the era of information technology.

Brief Bio: 

  • Master of Arts in Interpreting and Translation, Mandarin and English, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. With Distinction

  • International Masters in Information Management, University of Malaya, Malaysia. With full scholarship

  • Bachelor of Education (Teaching of English as a Second Language), University of Malaya, Malaysia

  • English teacher in Malaysian government school and Business English (International trade) tutor in Henan Institute of Science and Technology


Danxia Ling

Danxia LING

Title of Project: The Interplay of Language Policy, University Management and Language Practices: An Ethnographic Study of Chinese Students Learning Southeast Asian Languages at a China’s Border University in the Context of B&R Initiative

Supervisors:  Prof. Anwei Feng, Prof. Bob Adamson, Prof. Simon McGrath

Project Outline: This research aims to investigate the interplay of language ideologies embedded in language policy documents at macro-level, university management of educating Southeast Asian language learners at meso-level and language practices of leaners at micro-level in border areas against the back drop of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Drawing on a sociolinguistic ethnography, the focus is on how the tripartite, dynamic, and interconnected layers of language policy interact with each other. Findings from this research will be of great value to policy making, curriculum designing and classroom practice for Chinese students learning Southeast Asian Languages.

Brief Bio: I obtained my Bachelor degree in ESP (English for special purpose) at Zhengzhou University and the passion in linguistics allows me a higher pursue of linguistic studies. Then I finished my Master degree in Systemic Functional Linguistics and Sociolinguistics from Yunnan University, where various language resources are available due to its geographical advantage. The learning experience in Yunnan laid a good foundation for pursuing a further study in multilingualism. Now, I am awarded a full scholarship to continue my PhD in UNNC.



Heng Hu

Heng HU

Project title: The Ideology embedded the Belt and Road Strategy: A Corpus-based CDA of Political Discourse 2017-2021

Supervisors: Dr Derek Irwin, Dr Dan Shi

Project Outline: The discourse transmission between government and the public is a one-way information transmission, however international political discourse considers the mutual feedback between multiple political entities. International cooperative initiative is a good case for one-to-many CDA model, as a non-zero-sum game concerning the division of interests and obligations. My research of political discourse between different sovereign states in an initiative, allows me to attain interesting conclusions about the political relations and their different attitudes towards a common issue. This study will take the BRI as a case study to study the collision of political discourse among multiple subjects.

Brief Bio: I finished my BA in English Language in Central China (2018), then obtained my MA in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield (supervised by Dr. Richard Steadman-Jones in 2019). After I finished my MA, I decided to pursue a higher level of research then moved to UNNC to further my education. My research interests are: Corpus Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Linguistic Landscape in contemporary China. I have presented my research on linguistic landscape both in Sheffield and York-an invited speaker in Centre for Modern Studies





Title of project:  Social Transformation and Contemporary Art Exhibition in Chinese Art Museums: A Narrative Perspective

Supervisors: Dr. Lily Yu, UNNC; Prof. Xiaoling Zhang, UNNC; Dr. Gabriele Neher, UNUK

Project Outline: My research conceptualises exhibitions as narratives, aims to understand and interpret the distinctive transitional relationship between contemporary Chinese art exhibitions and art museums in China over the past four decades from 1979. Drawing upon sources and approaches from museum studies, art history, visual studies, narratology, and sociology of art, it seeks to evaluate the interacted mechanism among contemporary art exhibitions and various factors in the context of the social transformation.

Brief Bio: Before pursuing this PhD in UNNC, I spent a long and valued career in a German company in China, where I fulfilled the function of communications and management. Following my aspiration and opportunities, I went to the UK several years ago and did my MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of Leicester. I have also worked on short-term projects at the British and Chinese art museums. Now I continue this PhD project here in the University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus.



Lefan WANG

Title of Project: Motivation and Motivational Dynamics of Students Majoring in Languages other than English in China

Supervisors: Prof. Zoltán Dörnyei (UNUK), Dr Nancy Liu (UNNC), Prof. Lixian Jin (City University of Macau)

Project outline: My research aims at exploring Chinese university students’ motivation to learn languages other than English (LOTEs) in a English-dominant world and figuring out the impact of English on learners’ LOTEs learning motivation. Moreover, taking the complex and dynamic nature of motivation into consideration, I will also focus my research lens on the development of LOTEs motivation during the process of language learning. This project, hopefully, would deepen the understanding of multilingual motivation and offer several pragmatic implications for LOTEs education in China.

Brief Bio:

BA in Bulgarian Language and Literature, Beijing Foreign Studies University

MA with distinction in Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham, UK


Wang, L. (2021). The motivational dynamics of learning a foreign language of limited ethnolinguistic vitality during a study abroad. International Journal of Multilingualism, 1-18.   

Yang, L., & Wang, L. (in press). 北马其顿文化教育研究 (Culture and education of North Macedonia). Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.


Phoebe MILES

Title of Project: Smoking cessation provision in healthcare settings in China. 

Project Outline: The aim of this PhD is to study what smoking cessation provision delivered through healthcare settings should comprise of in China. Qualitative interviews and ethnography will be used initially to explore tobacco control beliefs and behaviours of healthcare professionals. This data will be used to design a wider survey, seeking to achieve consensus on the preferred characteristics of a smoking cessation intervention. Following this, a feasibility study will be conducted within a chosen healthcare setting and using the GRADE methodology, local guidelines will be drafted for smoking cessation in China.  

Supervisors: Dr. Rachael Murray, UNUK; Dr. Manpreet Bains, UNUK; Prof. Richard Hubbard, UNUK; Prof. Lixian Jin, UNNC. 

Brief Bio: I completed my BSc in Adult Nursing at Plymouth University UK; after qualifying I moved to Nottingham UK beginning my career in the NHS as a Registered Nurse in Intensive Care. Following this, I moved to a new role as a Research Nurse in Clinical Haematology. During this post I began my MSc in Advanced Nursing part-time at UNUK and then attained the position of Research Sister in the NIHR Nottingham Clinical Research Facility. I graduated with my MSc in 2018 and achieved the Student Nursing Times Award for Post-registration Learner of the Year. In September 2019 I was awarded a scholarship to begin my full-time PhD at UNNC. 


Xiaomei ZHANG

Title of project: Women in school leadership roles: a case study of Zhejiang province, China.

Supervisors: Dr Ashely Ng Yoon Mooi AMN, School of Education and English, UNNC; Prof Tony Bush, School of Education, UNUK

Project outline: Studies on women leadership in Asian context in general and specifically in mainland China are scarce in number and narrow in scope. This study investigates women leadership, specifically women principal leadership in government schools.  It attempts to address the barriers that inhibit as well as factors that encourage their progress to their present positions as school leaders.  The study also goes beyond that by investigating the challenges they face while in the leadership position and how they address those challenges.   

Brief Bio: I completed my BA in Business Administration at North University of China. I worked in Singapore for a few years before I continued with my education at the University of the Nottingham Malaysia to pursue an MA in TESOL.  While at UNM, I helped organize conferences and research projects.  Now I am pursuing my PhD as a full time student in the School of Education and English.  I look forward to an exciting and productive journey here in the University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus.  



Justin BERG

 Project title: A Corpus-based Analysis of Academic Music Discourse: Comparing Expert and Novice Writing

Supervisor: Yu-hua CHEN, Derek IRWIN, Philip WELLER (UK)

Project Outline: This project explores the discourse of academic music writing by investigating which lexical bundles are constituent of this discourse and how they link propositional content to create cohesion. A corpus-based methodology is employed to extract lexical bundles from two newly built specialized corpora of expert and novice writings, the latter drawn from L2 students. Expert and novice writings will be compared to identify unmarked and marked usage, and deviations of the latter from the former.

Brief Bio: Before turning to Applied Linguistics, I earned degrees in Music Performance (BA, Oberlin; MM, U. of Notre Dame) and Musicology (MA, Duke U.), and worked as both performer and teacher. After earning the MA in Applied Linguistics, I decided to return to Nottingham to pursue the Ph.D. with this project intended to help music students with their discipline-specific writing.  




Xinqiao CEN

Project title:  A SF-MDA approach on Equivalence of Sino-US consecutive interpreting in diplomatic setting

Supervisors: Derek IRWIN, Nancy Liu

Project Outline: My research aims to explore how interpreters achieve equivalence in Sino-US diplomatic interpreting. Based on a multimodal corpus mainly extracted from Chinese and American government talks posted on official websites, this paper performed a comprehensive evaluation on interpreting equivalence (semiotic equivalence) by analyzing its three metafunctional meanings. By adopting a multimodal discourse analysis on both verbal and non-verbal semiotics, the paper will further dig on how communications can be exchanged fluently and its features in diplomatic settings.

Brief Bio: I was majored in translation and interpreting in my BA years in Xi’an International Studies University and found my special interest in intercultural communications and linguistics. My three-years’ MA in Renmin University of China and exchange experience in University of Venice laid a relatively solid foundation for this project. In 2018, I decided to further pursue a higher level of my research and education background. 


Xiaoxue Zhu

Xiaoxue ZHU

Title: The Wellbeing of Teachers in the Universities of the Third Age: A Case Study in Ningbo, China

Supervisors: Dr. Ashley Yoon Mooi Ng, Dr. Fui Theng Leow (Business School).

Outline: The study, by investigating the status of teacher well-being in the Universities of Third Age (U3As) in Ningbo, China, aims to complement the current understanding of teacher wellbeing which is primarily discussed in the western and mainstream education system (from kindergarten to university). The results discussed against the cultures of learning in China and the preferences of older adult learners in U3As are likely to inform the teachers of the potential opportunities and challenges in the context. Furthermore, the questionnaire developed and structural model proposed with hypothesized relationships among teacher wellbeing constructs could be applied in other cultural contexts and compared with other learner groups.



Tong Zhu

Tong ZHU

Title: Enhancing Vocabulary Knowledge with Personalized Mobile-Assisted Extensive Reading

Supervisors: Dr. Derek Irwin, Dr. Yanhui Zhang

Outline: My research aims to compare the effectiveness of personalized mobile-assisted extensive reading, with that of mobile-assisted extensive reading on the development of both breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge of EFL learners. Theoretically, the proposed study will enrich the understanding of EFL learners’ vocabulary acquisition, adding insights to the classical Nation’s model of extensive reading and vocabulary learning conditions. Additionally, the study will enhance EFL learners’ effectiveness by applying up-to-date logical reasoning tools and algorithms for personalized learning from a practitioner perspective. Finally, based on the experimental analysis of how EFL learners’ learning outcomes are impacted by learner-computer interactions, suggestions will be given on the design and usage of language learning apps.

Weijian Huang

Weijian Huang

Title: (Re)Framing Narratives Through News Discourse and Translation: A Case Study of China’s COVID-19 Outbreak

Supervisors: Dr. Nancy Liu, Dr. Yanhui Zhang

Outline: China’s coronavirus outbreak has instantly become the focal point of worldwide media coverage since its onset. Focusing on the highly topical bombshell, this study aims to explore how and why narratives of the pandemic are framed differently by English-language media outlets in China and the West. It will begin by analysing the ideological implications of lexical choices adopted by various media outlets when referring to the virus that causes the pandemic. The study will then delve deeper into the narratives regarding China’s COVID-19 outbreak and the English translations of reported speech by applying an analytical framework of narrative theory and corpus-based critical discourse analysis. It is expected that the study will be able to shed light on the impact of these narratives on (re)shaping people’s perception of China’s response to the virus outbreak.

Brief Bio: I worked as a Deputy Editor-in-Chief of English News in the Office of Global Communications at Peking University. I am also a CATTI certified translator and interpreter, with a bachelor’s degree in English Translation from Wuyi University and a master’s degree in Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting from the University of Nottingham (UK Campus). My research interests lie in Translation Studies, International Journalism & Communications, and Discourse Analysis.

Han Zhang


Title: Interactive application for supporting children with developmental disorders through visual analytics

Supervisors:  Dr Yanhui ZHANG, Dr Yao CHENG (College of Computer Science and Technology, Zhejiang University), Prof Xu SUN (Faculty of Science and Engineering, UNNC), Dr Qingfeng WANG (School of Economics, UNNC)

Project outline: My research topic will focus on children’s developmental disorders and how to design and use visualization tools to help domain experts and parents of young children communicate more efficiently and make better decisions. This project aims to apply human-centered methods to first understand how humans perceive and interact with assistive technologies, and then to design and implement assistive technology that offers a personalized treatment tool for better understanding the needs of children with developmental disorders, which can facilitate ‘parents-teachers-clinicians’ cooperation.

Brief Bio:

I gained my bachelor’s degree from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and master’s degree from University of Pittsburgh. My previous research directions include cross-lingual knowledge graph, personalized learning analytics, and interactive system design in healthcare. My current research focuses on human-centered computing and interactive visualization techniques for multiple stakeholders with people with developmental disorders (i.e., language disorder, cognitive impairment).




Graduated PhD Students





Dawei Wei (2017) 


Title of project: Early and automatic processing of Chinese: A visual Mismatch Negativity study

Supervisors: Dr Margaret Gillon Dowens, UNNC; Dr Ana Pellicer Sanchez, UNUK

Project Outline: Skilled reading is a remarkable human achievement. From a psycholinguistic perspective, it entails a mastery of multiple levels of analysis, including orthography, syntax and semantics. In such a complex process, exactly when visual input is recognised as words and comprehended, and to what extent this is automatic, are two of the most debated issues in language science. My thesis aims to contribute to these debates by investigating single-character words in Chinese. Through a series of six neurolinguistic experiments, my thesis has demonstrated that Chinese single-character words can be processed early and automatically. The project adds novel support for the parallel models in linguistic information processing and provides constraints which affect such early automaticity.

Brief bio:

  • PhD, 2017

  • 2018, Post-doctoral research in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Laboratory (CNLL) at UNNC

  • Projects and Labs involved: the neurolinguistics of processing different languages;  the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning of Beijing Normal University, the BCBL and the University of La Laguna, Spain, and the Department of Linguistics of the University of Birmingham UK. 

  • Early and automatic processing of Chinese words: Visual Mismatch Negativity studies ( published in Scientific Reports (






Lin Dai (2017)

Title of project: Culture Teaching in ELT: A Study of a Culture-based Course in the Undergraduate English Programme in China

Supervisors: Dr. Mukul SAXENA

Project Outline: My research is undertaken to investigate the current practices of culture teaching in undergraduate English programs within the context of China with a particular focus on the culture-based course A General Survey of English-speaking Countries...Brief bio: At the present time, I am a teacher working at the Continuing Education School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Here I teach languages (both English and Chinese) and a number of culture-based courses to students from various age groups and country backgrounds. My educational experiences revolve also around language learning and teaching, including a BA degree in English Language and Literature at Hunan University, and a MA degree in Applied Linguistics at the University of Sheffield, UK. Currently I am a part-time doctoral student at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, working on a research project concerning the teaching of culture in language classroom.





Lifang Wang (2019)

Title of project: A Corpus-based Approach to the Production of Formulaic Language in Academic Spoken English

Supervisors: Dr Margaret Gillon Dowens, Prof. Peter Stockwell (UNUK)

Project Outline: I adopt a mixed-methods approach to identify formulaic sequences in a representatively large corpus of learner data acquired in naturalistic academic settings, and a control corpus of native speakers’ academic spoken English, and to investigate their production patterns. The primary focus of my study is to validate the hypothesis that formulaic language is holistically stored in and retrieved from the mental lexicon, and thus it should present phonological coherence, that is, the production of formulaic sequences should be free from internal pauses.

Brief bio: My research interests are in the areas of learner corpus research, corpus linguistics, applied linguistics, English for academic purposes, and children's language development.





Beibei Tang (2018)

Reasearch Topic: Translating Chinese American Women’s Literature: Gender, Female Alienation, and Translation Equivalence.

Supervisor: Dr. Lily Yu, UNNC; Dr. Susan Billingham, UNUK

Project Outline: Drawing on three Chinese translations each of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1989) and The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991), my project examines, from a feminist perspective, gender issues in Chinese translations of Chinese American women’s literature, with special attention paid to the translators’ gender consciousness and ideologies as reflected in their translations of ‘female alienation’. It innovatively applies the feminist concept of ‘female alienation’ to literary translation studies. Alison Jaggar (1983) believes that women are alienated in all aspects of their lives, particularly in their sexuality, motherhood, and intellectual capacities. My project discusses the influence of race and self-Orientalization on that alienation, enriching Jaggar’s concept of female alienation by adding sisterhood alienation. It proposes a new classification to study different patterns of alienation and women’s psychological experiences with it, both active and passive, as reflected in Tan’s works and the Chinese translations of those works. Furthermore, through combining translation equivalence and norm theory with feminist translation theory, it proposes a set of feminist translation norms and the concept of feminist translation equivalence for studying feminist translation in the Chinese context. The examination demonstrates the role of gender in translating female alienation in the texts in question.





Gulnissa Zhunussova (Email) (2019)


Title of project:  Teachers’ and students’ perceptions of good English teachers in Kazakhstan

Supervisors: Prof. Lixian Jin, Dr. Joanna Martin (UK)

Project Outline: The study aims to explore students’ and teachers’ perceptions of good English teachers in Kazakhstan and investigate how socio-cultural roots of participants’ values influence their expectations of good English teachers. This research is an attempt to broaden a common methodological base. Adopting a mixed methods approach the study employs multiplicity of counter-instruments: participant-drawn images, metaphor questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to elicit narratives.

Brief Bio: Gulnissa completed her BA in English language teaching in Kazakhstan. Following a few years of teaching at a Kazakhstani university, she moved to the UK to obtain MA with distinction from the University of Warwick. Since then she has been involved in academic research as part of international project teams as well as teaching in various contexts. 





Yijin (Joanna) Lin (Email) (2021)


Title of project: Neuro-cognitive effects of second language learning in older learners.

Supervisors: Margaret Gillon Dowens, School of English, UNNC; Ed Wilding, School of Psychology, UNUK

Project Outline: My research interests are: second language learning in later life stages and the possible impacts of learning a new language on health, wellbeing and cognitive function...

Brief bio: I finished my first degree in English with International Business at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, and obtained my Master degree in Education from the University of Edinburgh. I then spent some months at UNNC as a Research Assistant, firstly in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Laboratory and then as an administrative assistant in the School of English. I am now a full-time PhD student in School of English. I have very much enjoyed this experience as an undergraduate student, a member of staff and now a researcher, which has allowed me to see how our school has grown and developed over these years.





Michael Paul Stevens (Email) (2021)


Title of project: Multimodal construal in L2 Learning Environments: A corpus-based approach

Supervisors: Yu-Hua Chen, Simon Harrison, Svenja Adolphs

Project Outline: My research focuses on developing multi-modal corpus approaches to gesture, explanation in collaborative discourse, and conceptualization. Drawing on a background that includes philosophy and education, I’m attempting to understand patterns in the depictive gestures that students perform when explaining complex and abstract content. The form and function of depictive gestures can be understood as physical conceptualizations that together with spoken descriptions construct concepts “in the flesh”. Along with my PhD studies, I’m currently working in collaboration to develop the multi-modal component of the University of Nottingham Corpus of Academic Written and Spoken English (CAWSE).

Brief bio: Graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Florida Atlantic University. After a few years teaching Philosophy in Colombia, South America, came to UNNC for the MA in Applied Linguistics. I subsequently moved on into the PhD program at UNNC in the School of English.




      Yanchuan Geng (2021)


Project title: Researching the Motivation and Learning Experience of Chinese Older Adults in English Language Learning

Supervisors: Prof. Lixian Jin, Dr. Candace Veecock, Dr. Christina Lee (UK)

Project Outline: My thesis explores the motivational dynamics of older adults in their language learning journeys in a University of Third Age (U3A). This longitudinal research project will delineate some inside pictures of learning from the perspective of Chinese older adults, demonstrate how methodological choices are made at each stage to capture the dynamic and emergent nature of motivation and conclude with some potential pedagogical interventions to empower learning behaviours for better outcomes.

Brief Bio: 

  • BAs from Ningbo University, International Trade and Economy and Japanese Studies.

  • MA in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching with distinction, University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC).

  • Full scholarship 2018. 





    Lukasz Nowacki (2021)


Project title: Comparative study of dominant media frames in major global news broadcasters (CCTV, CNN and Al Jazeera) - a case study on North Korea 

Supervisors: Dr Nancy Liu, Dr Shixin Ivy Zhang, Dr Kevin Harvey

Project Outline: The main objective of the research is to study how CNN, CCTV and Al Jazeera frame their news content and what image of the world is being projected in their reporting. This project aims to reveal whether the framing tendencies are similar in all three stations or whether there exist factors influencing the news frames. The case study is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its portrayal by the three news broadcasters.   

Brief bio:

  • MA in Translation and Interpreting, University of Warsaw; MA in International Communication, Communication University of China

  • English teacher in a number of schools, from public secondary schools to language centres and colleges  

  • Extensive experiences of working in the media industry, MIPCOM, MIPTV in Cannes, ATF in Singapore, Busan Market in South Korea, NATPE in Hungary and others, Discovery Channel, TVP Polish Public Television, Fokus TV

  • Full scholarship 2017