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Emma Putland

Linguistics, University of Nottingham

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

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 and their supporters/family/friends/carers?

Research Area

  • Linguistics


Public Engagement & Impact

 Voluntary roles

Scholarly involvement

Previous positions

Public talks

  • 'Heroic boys and friendly girls? Comparing how LEGO© City and LEGO© Friends represent the world and children's place within it'. Language & Emotion evening for Nottingham's Pint of Science Festival 2019 (22/05/2019). 
    • For this Pint of Science Festival, I also collaborated with a local artist, Matt Young, who gave a creative reaction to my topic in the form of a painting titled 'Boring binary'.
  • Presented for 'New Perspectives' (31/01/2019) in association with the 'Harold Gilman: Beyond Camden Town' exhibition at the Lakeside Arts Gallery, in which I discussed my research in relation to two of Gilman's paintings for a general public audience.

Other Research Interests

  • Sociolinguistics, particularly regarding how science and health are communicated to the public. Other areas of interest include the environment, gender and age.
  • Combining methodologies, such as (critical) discourse analysis, multi-modal analysis, corpus linguistics and thematic analysis of recorded interviews/focus groups.
  • Including other people (e.g. people with lived experience and other members of the public) within research.