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Name: Emma Putland

PhD: Applied Linguistics

Departments: The School of English and the Institute of Mental Health

Thesis Title: Representing and responding to dementia: Investigating how British charities and the press portray dementia, and how people with and without direct experience receive such dementia discourses.


Thesis Description:

My thesis aims to examine, through combining a range of approaches, how people living with dementia, as well as dementia as a topic, are visually and linguistically portrayed in British society, and the impact that these representations can have. Using corpus and critical discourse analysis, I analyse how British charities and the press currently represent dementia, alongside working with focus groups to consider a variety of other people's perspectives and personal engagements. Throughout my project, I ask the following key research questions:

  1. How do British charities and the British press represent dementia and people with dementia? What discourses are popularly reproduced by the two social institutions, and how are these visually and linguistically realised?
  2. What kinds of relationships do these two institutions and their discourses have, and how are they perceived by different members of the public?
  3. How do my findings of dementia discourses relate to the interpretations, opinions and experiences of a range of different individuals, notably people with a lived experience of dementia, those who are carers and/or related to someone with dementia, and individuals without personal experience of dementia?

Supervisors and Institution(s):

Dr Kevin Harvey (School of English, University of Nottingham) 

Dr Daniel Hunt (School of English, University of Nottingham)

Professor Tom Dening (Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham)


Professional memberships:

The British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) (in particular, the Health & Science Communication and Corpus Linguistics Special Interest Groups within this)

Dementia and Cultural Narrative Network

Health Humanities Research Group (University of Nottingham)

Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics (University of Nottingham)

Centre for Dementia (University of Nottingham)

Stylistics and Discourse Analysis Reading Group (University of Nottingham)


Scholarly and Public Engagement Activities:


  • Co-lead for Nottingham Health Humanities Early Bird Researcher group
  • Assistant Production Editor for the Journal of Languages, Texts, and Society
  • Organising committee for the Midlands4Cities Research Festival (2019) and the English Showcase (2019)
  • Beeston Memory Café volunteer
  • Side by Side volunteer for Alzheimer’s Society in Nottingham



Other Research Interests:

  • Sociolinguistics, particularly how social ideologies are visually and linguistically presented, most notably regarding (mental) health communication. Other areas of interest include gender and ageism.
  • Combining methodologies, including (critical) discourse analysis, multi-modal analysis, and corpus linguistics. I am also very interested in incorporating the views of other people (e.g. people with lived experience and other members of the public) within my research.


University email address: 

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