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



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

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].

Magazine & zine articles

[Forthcoming] Rhodes, A., Kennedy, C-R. & Parnell, T. (2021). "Lived Experience" Activism? Becoming a Research Activist.

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

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. (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.

[Forthcoming] Parnell, T. (2021). “If anyone has a problem with identity, it’d be them”: Constructing Britain and Europe in press, politics, and public opinion. 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

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

[Forthcoming] Co-organiser: Discourse and Politics undergraduate and MA symposium. Easter 2022.

[Forthcoming] 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.


Successfully applied to have the Journal of Languages, Texts & Society indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Editing a special issue for CADAAD Journal, titled 'Corpus Approaches to Discourses of Political Unrest'.

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.

I manage the social media and Wordpress for the Discourse and Politics Seminar Series 2021 - a series I co-organised with a fellow M4C student.


Peer Review Editor for the Journal of Languages, Texts and Society (Issue 4).

Early-stage postgraduate research representative, Learning Community Forum (School of English). 

Peer reviewed a research article for the Journal of Languages, Texts and Society.


Research assistant for the Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham.

Research assistant for the Marginalised Families Online project.

Web administrator for the Language, Gender and Leadership Network.

MA English Studies representative, Learning Community Forum (School of English).


Co-Editor of the Welcome to Nottingham guide published by LeftLion Magazine (2017)

Editor in Chief of Impact Magazine (2016-2017)

News Editor for Impact Magazine (2015-2016)

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.