I have a background in Language Education and Applied Linguistics. I have taught on primary, secondary and tertiary level in Germany (Stuttgart), the UK (Leeds) and the US (Charlotte, NC). Prior to my PhD studies here at the University of Leeds, I have worked as a secondary school teacher in Stuttgart.
In 2012, I graduated with a secondary school teaching diploma (1.Staatsexamen) from the University of Education in Ludwigsburg . During my studies in Ludwigsburg, I received a stipend from the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, enabling me to study abroad at SFSU (San Francisco State University). After returning from my year abroad in 2010, I was given another amazing opportunity to return to the US, this time, to work at an international immersion school in Charlotte, NC for six months. After graduation, I moved to York to pursue a M.A. in Applied Linguistics / TESOL. Then, in 2015, I completed my teacher training and received my 2.Staatsexamen from the Seminar Ludwigsburg.
What motivated me to undertake PhD study?
During my studies in York, I first got interested in Adult Education, ESOL and literacy. My lecturers at York St. John played a vital part, as they encouraged me to apply for PhD funding.
What makes me passionate about my subject?
This can be answered with one word: Impact. I genuinely believe that the research I conduct, the data I collect, and the findings I publish, matter; my work will inform academics and ESOL practitioners, but mightalso be of interest to policymakers, NGOs, and others who are concerned with migrant learners. Last, through my research, I aim to empower these often marginalized and underrepresented language learners.
VOLLMER, S. forthcoming (2019). Digital Citizenship for Newly Arrived Syrian refugees through mobile technologies. In: M. COOKE and R, PEUTRELL eds. Brokering Britain, Educating Citizens. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
VOLLMER, S. 2018c. Data on the move. Tlang Blog (as invited author).
Conferences and Workshops (Selection)
0/18: 2018 Symposium: Literacy and Multilingualism. Title: Digital literacy practices in the everyday lives of Syrian newcomers – National Centre for Swedish as a Secondary Language, Stockholm, Sweden (invited speaker).
07/18: 3rd International ARPCE Conference. Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of newly arrived Syrian refugees – a visual linguistic ethnography – University of Oxford.
02/18: Language, social media and migration: the role of mobile communication in migrants' everyday lives. Title: Syrian Newcomers and mobile technologies: A visual Ethnography – University of Birmingham (invited speaker).
09/17: Ethnography, Language & Communication, Short Course. Intensive Workshop with J. Blommaert, B. Rampton, J. Snell, J. Bezemer and A. Lefstein. Data Analysis workshop with data from my research – King’s College London.
07/17: Workshop: Innovation in Migrant and Refugee Learning. Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of newly arrived Syrian refugees; an ethnographically informed multiple case study – OU, Milton Keynes (invited speaker).
06/17: WRDTC Sixth Annual Conference. Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of Rojan, a newly arrived Syrian refugee – University of Sheffield.
06/17: Critical Urban Ethnography Workshop – Goldsmiths University London.
05/17: Intense Multimodality Workshop with G. Kress and T. v. Leeuwen – University of Leeds.
04/17: Norskkonferansen: National Conference on Norwegian as a Second Language. Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of newly Syrian refugees. Oslo – plenary as invited speaker.
04/17: 13th Nordic Conference on initial literacy of low education people with other languages than Nordic. Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of newly Syrian refugees. Helsingør – plenary as invited speaker.
09/16: LESLLA Conference. Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of Aban, a newly arrived adult migrant language and literacy learner. Granada.
05/16: Kaleidoscope Conference. Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of Aban, a newly arrived adult migrant language and literacy learner. University of Cambridge.
11/15: LESLLA Conference with S. Reder and colleagues. Title: The LESLLA Eclipse: A Comparative Analysis of LESLLA learners included in and excluded in the PIAAC Survey. St. Augustine (invited speaker on panel).
08/14 LESLLA Conference. Title: Illiterate ESOL learners in England; linguistics, political and socio-cultural borders and barriers. Nijmegen.
09/13 GRUNDTVIG Workshop: MAMM: mothers and immigrants – methodologies and practices for basic alphabetization and permanent didactic support for their children – Salerno.
11/13 Public Policy: The integration of immigrants into the host society through the promotion of teaching / learning the language Adult, immigrant Second Language Learners, Insights from the research. Lisbon – plenary as invited speaker.
Submission Date: October 2018
Title: Exploring the digital literacy practices of newly arrived Syrian refugees – a spatio-visual linguistic ethnography
My doctoral research, a visual linguistic ethnography, provides thick descriptions (Geertz, 1973) of how newly arrived Syrian refugees use mobile technologies in their daily lives. More specifically, I have investigated, how three male newcomers to Leeds utilize mobile technologies and online resources, such as multilingual Facebook groups (Vollmer, forthcoming), apps, and multimodal social media platforms (Vollmer, 2017), to support processes of settlement and linguistic integration. To trace and interpret these quotidian and habitual online practices, prolonged and consistent engagement with my participants and their lifeworlds was required. Thus, data collection concerning this ethnography took place over a ten-month period at different data collection sites. The multimodal and spatio-visual literacy practices that my key participants engaged with on their mobile devices were inherently diverse and complex to interpret. Here, the analytical lenses of capital (Bourdieu 1986, 1992; Blommaert, 2005) and space (Lefebvre, 1991; Oldenburg, 1996/7) have informed conceptualizations of how the quotidian mobile practices of my participants relate to and interplay with settlement processes, such as obtaining a UK driver’s license or finding paid work in the formal and informal economy. My dataset provides needed in-depth descriptions of how newly arrived refugees integrate smartphones into their daily lives and my findings offer important insights into the relationship between mobile technologies and settlement processes within this migration context.