Lauren O' Hagan
Research student, Centre for Language and Communication Research, School of English, Communication and Philosophy
A lifelong interest in languages, I completed my undergraduate degree in Modern Language Studies (Spanish, Italian and Linguistics) with the Open University in 2014. Alongside my degree, I obtained a C2 DELE qualification in Spanish, C1 CILS qualification in Italian, CELTA EFL teaching qualification and a Level 1 in British Sign Language. Also, throughout the four years of my undergraduate degree, I worked as an Online Shop Manager for Oxfam. In this role, I dealt with antiquarian books on a day to day basis and began to become fascinated by the range of beautiful book inscriptions, particularly from the Edwardian period (1901-1914). After reading a fantastic piece of research by Dr. Julia Gillen of Lancaster University on Edwardian postcards, I began to seriously consider the potential of a linguistic study on Edwardian book inscriptions - a topic that, to the best of my knowledge, had not been researched before. After much deliberation, I changed my long-established plan to specialise in translation at postgraduate level to that of linguistics! In 2014, I undertook a Masters in Applied Linguistics at Cardiff University, my dissertation focusing on multimodality in Edwardian bookplates. At this time, I also had the opportunity to publish an article on the same topic for the Edwardian Culture Network. Cardiff University gave me a fantastic opportunity to thrive and develop as a research, so much so that I have remained at this institution and have now started my PhD in Language and Communication. Alongside my PhD, I also work as a freelance translator and EFL tutor.
In addition to my interest in early 20th century book inscriptions and reading practices in Great Britain, I am also interested in the exploration of other 'alternative' visual cultures from this period of history such as the language of stamps, the suffragettes defacing of coins, cigarette cards and photographs of the monarchy. Outside of this research domain, I am also fascinated by two major topics of interest relating to Spain and the geographical region of Andalucia: the social stigma of the Andalucian dialect and the use of code-switching in Gibraltar. Finally, the potentials of social media and 'live' commentary on news website is also a field of interest that I would like to explore more in future. I am particularly interested in notions of identity and the way in which users of a website construct who they are and what they believe through the comments posted. The website of the Spanish newspaper, El Pais, contains some intriguing examples of this regarding the President, Mariano Rajoy.
Book inscriptions, ownership and reading practices in Edwardian Britain
My research is interdisciplinary in nature, encompassing theory from Multimodality and Ethnography and Book History and Literary Studies. I aim to use the book inscriptions present in books circulated between 1901-1914 as a way of understanding book ownership, reading practices and book culture in Edwardian Britain.