Thesis Title: Plague, tsunami and warfare: The role of metaphor in understanding and communicating dementia
I undertook my BA in English at the University of Nottingham (2012-15). This was followed by an MA in Applied Linguistics, also at the University of Nottingham (2015-16), in which I received a fully-funded scholarship from AHRC Midlands3Cities. I was awarded AHRC Midlands3Cities funding to commence my PhD at the University of Nottingham in September 2016.
Metaphor is pervasive in everyday life as a way of perceiving the world. My PhD investigates the metaphors that are used to understand and communicate dementia. Unpicking the role of metaphor in communicating dementia can shed light on how we make sense of the illness, and the experiences of those living with it.
Data in the media will be sourced from newspaper articles, television, and literary texts (novels, plays and poetry) where dementia is the focus of the text in question. I will construct a corpus of these texts and use Critical Discourse Analysis, which aims to identify and challenge issues of social justice. Applying this methodology allows me to identify the metaphors that construct dementia, and the beliefs or assumptions they convey.
To study how dementia is represented by people with the condition I will look to the online mediums of blogging and forum, as well as conduct interviews with and observe support sessions for people with dementia, examining how they conceptualise dementia and their experiences of living with the disease.
Through these two channels, my research will ask:
• What kinds of metaphors are present in the media to understand and communicate dementia?
• How do people with dementia, and their families, construct their condition?
• In what ways do media representations versus individual constructions clash?
• What is the effect of certain metaphors on understanding and living with dementia?
• Are there metaphors which destigmatise the illness, and empower the individual?
There are currently around 700,000 people living with dementia in the UK. The comparative nature of this research brings together public perception and individual experiences, focusing on how dementia, and the experience of living with it, can be perceived more positively. Reducing stigma in this way can help empower and improve the lives of those living with dementia.
Supervisors and Institution(s):
Kevin Harvey (University of Nottingham)
Tom Dening (University of Nottingham)
Other Research Interests:
Health communication, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, narrative analysis, multimodal discourse analysis, identity, metaphor analysis.
2017 Shared Reading Project for people with dementia (Nottingham)
2017 Side by Side volunteer for Alzheimer’s Society (Nottingham)
2014-2016 Art therapy volunteer for Stroke Association (Nottingham)
University email address: firstname.lastname@example.org