Rachel Hanna

      Miss Rachel Hanna

      Postgraduate research student

      For media contact email comms.office@qub.ac.uk
      or call +44(0)2890 973091.

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      Research Statement

      My research explores the relationship between asylum seekers’ cultural and linguistic frames and their pragmatic expectations of substantive interviews in the asylum process. It will probe the tensions between institutional and speaker-constructed experiential narratives, considering margins for frame and goal misalignment and meaning loss in subsequent decision-making processes. The credibility of applicant-controlled narratives will be considered alongside individual subjects' cultural backgrounds and modes of expression, gathered from ethnographic observation and individual interviews. My hypothesis is that narratives reflecting the individual voice, if read with increased cultural awareness, will provide best evidence for determining speaker credibility and the validity of asylum claims. Episodic focus group meetings will permit participants to reflect upon different methods of expressing past experience and as a result, existing issues with contemporary approaches will be raised, informing future policies on obtaining best linguistic evidence in interethnic contexts. The research considers readers' responses to asylum seekers through discussion groups held in local libraries. The aim of these discussions is to examine the influence of narrative evaluation upon reactions to the stories; moreover, readers' ability/willingness to empathise with the asylum seekers' positive and negative experiences both in the home country and in the country of refuge will be explored individually and in the group context.


      I have taught as a University Tutor on the second year English Language module "Patterns of Spoken English" (ENL2001). I enjoy teaching students a new skill through phonetic transcription, and developing their undestanding of the relationship between the theory of speech sounds and the practice of usage (and vice versa).

      Achievements and Distinctions

      I am in receipt of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to pursue my PhD and am a member of the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership, which has afforded opportunities for professional training and development. 

      I was also generously funded by the AHRC to complete my Masters in Speech and Language. 

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      ID: 11656650