Jessica Bradley

Jessica Bradley


My academic background is in modern languages and applied translation studies. My first degree is in French and Spanish from Newcastle University, with time spent studying and working abroad in Paris and in northern Spain. In my previous role, I studied for an MA in Applied Translation Studies in the Centre for Translation Studies at Leeds (2009). Prior to starting my doctoral research I worked in languages and arts for Educational Engagement, also here at the University of Leeds, for almost a decade. In this role I developed, coordinated and managed multiple outward-facing projects with school and colleges linking to languages and art. My previous work intersects with and informs my research and my research aim is to bring the two areas closer together – in terms of engagement, practice and research.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I was motivated to undertake this study as I wanted to develop a better understanding of the links between creative practice and language use, particularly with multilingual groups.

Because of my professional background in outreach and engagement, I am particularly interested in how language research of this kind could inform practice – particularly with visual arts and performance with multilingual groups. One area of focus – both in terms of research and in terms of practice – is in understanding better how researchers and practitioners from across disciplines and sectors can work collaboratively, and the role of applied linguistics in developing these understandings. 

What makes me passionate about my subject?

Every project I investigate, or develop and run, has so many different possible connections and outcomes. And this is what drives me to continue with my work – seeing the opportunities for developing strands of research into educational work and also finding new ways to research collaboratively.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I am Lecturer in Education at Leeds Trinity University ( where I am continuing my research into communication, interaction and community arts, linking to public and educational engagement. I am particularly interested in intersections of evaluation and qualitative research for engagement practices and have been awarded funding to develop this area of my research for two HEFCE-funded projects. I am also working on a series of collaborative arts-based grant applications, including a research network for linguists working with creative arts practitioners with Lou Harvey and a transdisciplinary project based on ‘belonging’ with James Simpson.

I edit the TLANG blog 

I tweet @JessMaryBradley

My profile is available here

I also write in my spare time and have had work published

Research interests

Submission Date: August 2018

My research focuses on communicative practices and multimodality in community arts – specifically street arts - throughout the process of the production of a theatrical performance. I take a critical approach to 'translanguaging' as a concept which shifts the focus from bounded named languages to individual repertoires or ‘idiolects’ and which is linked to social justice for multilingual speakers. I am particularly interested in how performers and creative practitioners might communicate translingually in different settings and across different activities, and how this intersects with and incorporates the different creative practices at play. I explore the ways in which translanguaging, as a lens, might enable a focus on multimodality and materiality in communication. My research extends to how translanguaging can be used to develop new understandings of collaboration and co-production across sectors and across practices. I am developing my research across to institutional discourses in collaborative projects and communication across practices. 

During my time in the School of Education I have developed and coordinated a number of co-produced, collaborative research projects working with external organisations from the arts and third sectors. These stem from themes and findings from the TLANG project, my doctoral research, and my previous professional experience in Educational Engagement here at the University of Leeds. Among these are a project developed for the Connected Communities Festival 2016 project – Migration and Home: Welcome in Utopia and a follow-on project – Migration and Settlement: Extending the Welcome’ (both with James Simpson). I have led an educational engagement project linking to research methodologies around the linguistic landscape, working with artist-researcher Louise Atkinson, and with James Simpson and Emilee Moore (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). These were supported by the Educational Engagement Social Sciences Cluster (see Festival of Arts and Humanities   

I have a developing international profile for my research. In December 2016 I was invited by the University of Jyväskylä to lead seminars on co-producing research with artists and creative practitioners. More details are available here: In May 2017 I presented my work at the Worldwide University Network conference at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which focused on the role of heritage in migration and displacement ( Other invitations to speak include the universities of East Anglia (October 2016) and Lancaster (November 2016), the Institute for Modern Languages Research (November 2017) and Multilingual Manchester (May 2018).

In September 2017, with Lou Harvey, I co-convened the invited colloquium at the Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) which focused on creative inquiry in applied linguistics. This has linked to the development of an international research network for AILA, 'creative inquiry and applied linguistics', which I co-convene with Lou Harvey and Emilee Moore ( 

I am part of the TLANG project which is AHRC-funded under the Translating Cultures theme. Researchers are investigating translation and translanguaging across superdiverse wards in four UK cities – Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and London. I am the editor of the project blog (  

Over the course of my doctorate I have published widely from my research, including in journals and edited books. I am co-editing a book, Translanguaging as Transformation, with Emilee Moore and James Simpson, contracted by Multilingual Matters (2019). 

In 2016 I was given the nomination by the School of Education and the Faculty of ESSL for PGR researcher of the year.