Jessica Bradley

Dr Jessica Bradley


Phone: +44 (0)113 2837100 ext. 774

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I am an applied linguist and ethnographer, with research interests in language and creative practice in formal and non-formal education. 

I undertook my undergraduate degree at Newcastle University where I studied French and Spanish. I spent my year abroad studying at the University of London in Paris, France and as an Erasmus student in Zaragoza, Spain. My interest in modern languages and, more broadly, communication continued to grow and, after two years working in the travel industry, I took up a position in widening participation and outreach at the University of Leeds. This was a diverse role, encompassing student recruitment and schools liaison. I worked in this area for a decade, expanding my role across languages and the arts. This included teaching and co-organising the Linguists into Schools module from 2005-2012, overseeing its expansion across languages and ensuring its integration in the School’s undergraduate offer. During this time I studied for an MA in Applied Translation Studies, also at the University of Leeds.


I carried out my AHRC-funded doctoral research in the School of Education at the University of Leeds, as part of a large research project, ‘Translation and Translanguaging: Investigating Linguistic and Cultural Transformations in Superdiverse Wards in Four UK Cities’. My research continued to explore dynamic communication in the context of community arts and, specifically, street arts. My previous professional work in outreach and engagement informed and continue to inform my research. Through my doctoral project I investigated how street artists work together to create productions and perform. I followed a group of aspiring street artists based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, as they worked with a UK-based arts organisation to devise a play performed across a number of sites as part of an international street arts festival. My research, although applied linguistics-based, is interdisciplinary and my thesis took me in different directions, including towards folklore and story-telling. I focused on the sociolinguistic concept of translanguaging, particularly in terms of its multimodal affordances, applying it to street arts production and performance. My interests lay in how it could be extended and expanded to incorporate multiple, intersecting modalities, and how innovative methodological approaches might expand our understandings of communication across languages and across modes. My findings relate to notions of trans-semiotisation and how scripted emergence takes place by actors working together to co-create art. I suggest that there is potential for translanguaging to be understood through posthumanist approaches to applied linguistics and that there is scope for rethinking communicative practices through expanded notions of interaction, shifting towards intra-action. This has opened up my original research to new interpretations which I continue to develop through my current research. 


While studying for my PhD I developed and co-led a series of arts-based projects linking to my doctoral research, the TLANG project and my professional background in outreach and engagement in the arts. These include the AHRC-funded ‘Migration and Home: Welcome in Utopia’ project which used multimodal and arts-informed approaches to understandings of ‘welcome’. This was part of the Connected Communities Utopias 2016 Festival (McKay & Bradley, 2016). This led to the ESRC-funded ‘Migration and Settlement: Extending the welcome’  (Leeds Social Science Institute) which investigated arts-informed practice and adult migrant language education, also with Faceless Arts. Both projects have developed and expanding into a project around ‘Belonging’ which seeks to understand what it means to belong and is an arts-informed project at the intersection of applied linguistics and creative inquiry. ‘LangScape Curators’, an initiative I developed during this time, was initially funded by the University of Leeds through its educational engagement programme (see Bradley et al., 2018). This project uses co-productive methodologies and arts-informed practice with young people to develop understandings of linguistic landscapes and sits at the intersection of applied linguistics, modern languages and creative inquiry. It also aims to disrupt linear notions of impact and engagement, considering engagement itself as research practice and epistemology.


I co-convene the AILA international research network ‘Creative Inquiry and Applied Linguistics’ ( with Lou Harvey at the University of Leeds and Emilee Moore at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 

Research interests

My research interests are three-part. I am continuing the theoretical and applied interests in dynamic multilingualism and posthumanism, as arising from my doctoral thesis and with particular focus on street arts. I am developing the arts-informed and arts-based research into communication in migrant contexts, working in collaboration with arts and cultural organisations. I am committed to research at the intersection of engagement, practice and research and which is grounded in co-productive and collaborative methodologies. 

At Leeds Trinity I have also led an evaluation of the DADF2 Driving Social Mobility Project, undertook a scoping review of randomised controlled trials and their application in university outreach programmes and been awarded internal funding to develop the Knowledge Exchange activities across the Institute of Childhood and Education.

Teaching and Administration

I teach across three programmes at Leeds Trinity University. I lead four modules for the new BA in English Language and Linguistics (Language, Person, Society 1 & 2, Child Language Acquisition and Research Methods for Linguistics). I am part of the MA Education teaching team and lead the module on Investigating Professional Practice. I teach Research Methods and Sociology of Education for students undertaking the BA in Education Studies. I also supervise BA and MA dissertations. 

School of Arts and Communications 

BA English Language and Linguistics 

Child Language Acquisition (L5), Research Methods for Linguistics (L5), Sociolinguistics and Pragmatics (L4, L5)

Institute of Childhood and Education, Leeds Trinity University

BA Education Studies and BA Early Childhood Studies

Module convenor and tutor ‘Is Education Fair? Introduction to the Sociology of Education’ (Level 4); Tutor ‘Research Methods and Evidence-based Practice’ (Level 5); Lecturer and contributions to Programme Level Assessment (Level 4), ‘Critical Issues and Contemporary Debates’ (Level 6), ‘Sociological Perspectives of Childhood’ (Level 6), MA Education.

My previous teaching experience (2005-2018) includes: 

School of Education, University of Leeds

Invited lecturer for ‘Education in a Multilingual World’ (Level 4): ‘Modern Languages in the UK’ and ‘Introduction to Translanguaging’; Academic Tutoring Partner, ‘Education in a Multilingual World’ (Level 4);  Invited seminar speaker, postgraduate seminar series: ‘Ethics’  and 'The Transfer Viva' (PGR level).

School of History, University of Leeds

TLANG project leader for ‘Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research Module’ (Level 5).

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds

Invited lecturer for ‘English in International Communication’: ‘Translanguaging’ (MA level); Module co-ordinator and tutor, ‘Linguists into Schools’ (Level 5).

Educational Engagement (Faculties of Arts and PVAC)

Coordinator, trainer and mentor of undergraduate students and postgraduate researchers involved in outreach and engagement activities.

Willingness to take PhD students