M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Tamsin Parnell

Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

"Brexit Britain": How do British political documents and pro-Brexit newspapers construct British, EU and extra-European identities in Brexit-related immigration discourse?

My PhD thesis is the first corpus-assisted critical discourse study to provide a holistic overview of the construction of British, European and international identities in UK government documents, pro-Brexit newspapers and public opinion between February 2016 and December 2019. I use key semantic domain analysis and critical discourse analysis to examine patterns in the content and linguistic expression of national identity discourses across media and political discourses. I then use qualitative interviewing and narrative analysis to examine the stories through which interviewees negotiate their national identities. I draw on concepts from political science, history, sociology and European studies to determine whether there is a shared way of talking about Britishness, Europeanness and “extra-Europeanness” in Brexit Britain.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature



Peer reviewed papers

[Forthcoming] Parnell, T. (2022). Unravelling the Global Britain vision? International relationships and national identity in UK Government documents about Brexit, 2016-2019. Discourse & Society. 33(3). 

Parnell, T. (2021). Humiliating and dividing the nation in the British pro-Brexit press: a corpus-assisted analysis. Critical Discourse Studies. 0(0): 1-17.

Non-peer reviewed papers

Parnell, T. (2017). The influence of sociopolitical ideology on the discursive construction of migrant, refugee and asylum seeker representations in The Express. Innervate: Leading Undergraduate Work in English Studies. [Undergraduate dissertation. Cited once].

Public engagement publications

Parnell, T. (2021). Linguistic Horizons: Exploring the language of national identity during Brexit. Babel Magazine. Issue 36.

[Forthcoming] Kennedy, C. R., Parnell, T. and Rhodes, A. (2022). "Lived experience" activism? Researcher Activist Network Zine. 

Book reviews

Parnell, T. (2021). Book Review: Corpus-Based Analysis of Ideological Bias: Migration in the British Press. Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies, 4.

Parnell, T. (2021). Book Review: Linguistic Inquiries into Donald Trump's Language: From 'Fake News' to 'Tremendous Success'Discourse Studies, 23(3). 

Parnell, T. (2021). Book Review: Britain and Europe in a Troubled WorldJournal of Languages, Texts and Society, 5.



[Forthcoming] Parnell, T. (2022). “If anyone has a problem with identity, it’d be them”: Constructing Britain and Europe in press, politics, and public opinion. International PhD Colloquium in Interdisciplinary Critical Discourse Studies, University of Liverpool. June. Postponed due to Covid-19.

[Forthcoming] Parnell, T. (2022). "I still felt British": Negotiating Brexit-related identities through stories. Language, Ideology and Power research group. Lancaster University. 3 February. [Invited talk].

Parnell, T. (2021). "I still felt British": Negotiating Brexit-related identities through stories. Identity, Inequality and the Media in Brexit-COVID-19-Britain. University of Exeter. 10 November.

Parnell, T. (2021). "I still felt British": Negotiating Brexit-related identities through stories. Trent Language Sandwich. Nottingham Trent University. 3 November. [Invited talk].

Parnell, T. (2021). Imagining Europe in the pro-Brexit press (2016- 2019): a diachronic analysis of representation and socio-political agenda. 27th International Conference of Europeanists. Online. 25 June.

Parnell, T. (2021). Constructing the "acceptable EU migrant" in the UK Government's Brexit-related documents. Approaches to Migration, Language and Identity. University of Sussex. Online. 9 June.

Parnell, T. (2021). 'A nation divided? Constructing Britain in the pro-Brexit British press, 2018–2019.' University of Sussex, MA module 'Language and Culture'. 12 February. [Invited talk].

Parnell, T. (2021). Representing Britain and Europe in the pro-Brexit British press, 2016-2019. Presented at: University of Nottingham School of English Postgraduate Research Symposium. Online. 22 January.

Parnell, T. (2021). United or Divided? Exploring the construction of Britishness in the pro-Brexit press and its socio-political implications. Presented at: Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021. Online. 11 January.

Parnell, T. (2020). From union to disunion: a diachronic analysis of national identity construction in the pro-Brexit press (2016-2019). Presented at: Created Identities Conference. Online. 5 September.

Parnell, T. (2020). 'Plotting', 'Robbing', 'Revolting': Remainers and national identity in the pro-Brexit press. Presented at: Corpora and Discourse International Conference. Online. 18 June.

Parnell, T. (2020). Identity, language and discourse. Presented at: AHRC/ESRC roundtable discussion. University of Nottingham. 20 February.

Chairing panels

[Forthcoming] Panel chair: 'Panel name TBC'. Chaired at: School of English Research Symposium. 21 January 2022.

Panel chair: 'Texts, journalism and society in context'. Chaired at: Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival 2021. Online. 8 June 2021.

Panel chair: 'Political (mis)information and concluding remarks'. Chaired at: Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021. Online. 8 March 2021.

Panel chair: 'Social movements'. Chaired at: Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021. Online. 8 February 2021.

Panel chair: 'Brexit'. Chaired at: Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021. Online. 11 January 2021.

Panel chair: 'Constructing and exploring social identities'. Chaired at: Languages, Texts and Society 4th Conference: The Researcher's Journey. Online. 12 June 2020.

Conference organisation

Registration helper: LAGB Conference 2021. September 2021.

Co-organiser: Midlands4Cities Research Festival. Online. 7-11 June 2021.

Co-organiser: Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021. Online. January - March 2021.

Programme advisor: University of Nottingham's School of English Postgraduate Research Symposium. January 2019.

Organiser: The Media Conference 2017. [Media and journalism conference with 70+ delegates as part of my role as Editor-in-Chief of Impact magazine].

Public Engagement & Impact

Academic activities

As the activities below indicate, I am passionate about amplifying postgraduate student voices in higher education. I am interested in all aspects of academic publishing, from peer review to production. I have been involved in designing, writing and editing various student-focused magazines and journals since 2015. I have experience teaching at all levels of undergraduate study.


  • Passed PRINCE2 Foundation exam.
  • Teaching Affiliate for Liberal Arts, University of Nottingham.
  • Hourly paid lecturer for English Language and Linguistics, De Montfort University.


  • Successfully applied to have the Journal of Languages, Texts & Society indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
  • Co-organiser of a collaboration between Journey to Justice and the Discourse and Politics Seminar Series, focused on sharing the stories of lived experience activism with academics.
  • Teaching affiliate for the School of English, University of Nottingham (marking and feedback at UG level).
  • Guest lecturer on Corpus and Discourse Studies for the MA Corpus Linguistics module at the University of Nottingham.
  • Co-organiser of the Midlands4Cities Research Festival 2021.
  • Co-organiser of the Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021.
  • Student committee member, Linguistics Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Blog editor, Linguistics Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Issue Management Editor for the Journal of Languages, Texts and Society (Issue 5).
  • Middle-stage postgraduate research representative, Learning Community Forum (School of English).
  • Peer mentor to two postgraduate taught students in the School of English, University of Nottingham.
  • Managed the social media and Wordpress for the Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021 - a series I co-organised with a fellow M4C student.



Other Research Interests

  • Corpus linguistics (specifically CADS and key semantic domain analysis)
  • Critical discourse analysis (political and media discourses)
  • Identity construction
  • Nationalism; populism; migration discourses
  • Storytelling and narratives in interviews
  • "Lay discourses" about political events
  • Discursive and social exclusion; polarisation
  • Mixed methods and interdisciplinarity
  • Academic editing and publishing


  • Student membership, British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL).
  • Student membership, University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES).
  • Student membership, Political Studies Association (PSA).
  • Student membership, Linguistics Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (LAGB).
  • Individual membership, Council for European Studies (CES).

Prizes (Academic)


  • Fully-funded PhD in Applied Linguistics (Midlands4Cities, 2019-2023).
  • MA English Studies Scholarship (University of Nottingham School of English, in conjunction with the Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics, 2018-2019).

Academic awards

  • University Prize (Awarded at my BA graduation in 2017).
  • Best Undergraduate Dissertation (School of English, University of Nottingham, 2017).
  • Best Student (School of English, University of Nottingham, 2017).
  • Bond Literary Essay Prize (School of English, University of Nottingham, 2017).
  • School of English Prize for the Best Single Honours Part I Student (2015-16).

Non-academic prizes and nominations


  • Regional Award for Best Investigation in the Midlands (Student Publication Awards, Nov 2017).
  • Union Prize (University of Nottingham Students' Union, Jun 2017).
  • Best Magazine Design, Impact Magazine (Student Publication Awards, 2017).

  • Under my chiefship, Impact Magazine was nominated for 11 awards at the 2017 Student Publication Awards - a record for the magazine. The nominations included: Best Publication, Best Website, Best News Story, Best Reporter and Best Comment Piece.  
  • Best News Story (Student Publication Awards, 2017).
  • Best Feature (Student Publication Awards, 2016).

Funding bids

  • Co-applicant: PRINCE2 Foundation Training, funded by Midlands4Cities. Awarded c. £15,000.


Hourly paid part-time lecturer for English Language and Linguistics, De Monfort University. Spring semester, 2022.

  • Teaching second-year and third-year students on the modules Semantics and Language, Mind and Culture
  • Lecture and seminar plans & delivery
  • Office hours for pastoral support and feedback on work
  • Marking work

Teaching Affiliate for Liberal Arts, University of Nottingham. Autumn semester, 2021-22.

  • Teaching first-year undergraduates on the core module Introduction to Liberal Arts
  • Marking undergraduate work
  • Office hours for pastoral support and feedback on work
  • Seminar plans

Teaching Affiliate for English Language and Linguistics, University of Nottingham. Summer term, 2021.

  • Marking undergraduate essays