EMMA: People

Professor Jeannette Littlemore Jeannette Littlemore

Jeannette has been working on metaphor and metonymy for over thirty years. Her interest began in the area of metaphor comprehension (and to a lesser extent, production) by second language learners and she worked on the notion of ‘metaphoric competence’ in foreign language education. From there she moved on to explore the facilitative and debilitative role played by metaphor and metonymy in cross-linguistic and cross-cultural communication more broadly. Most recently, Jeannette has been working on the role played by metaphor (in particular, creative metaphor) in two very different, real-world contexts: (1) international advertising and (2) the experience of pregnancy loss and the language that people use to communicate their experience. Both contexts, for very different reasons, provide fertile ground for the production of creative metaphors. Although they are very different contexts, they do share a number of features which may explain the prevalence of creative metaphor: namely, empathy, emotion and the reconciliation of different realities. She is very interested in the roles that these features play in the production, understanding and use of creative metaphor.


Dr Paula Pérez-Sobrinopaula2019

Dr Pérez-Sobrino holds a postdoctoral fellowship Marie Curie from the European Commission. She obtained in 2015 her PhD in Cognitive Linguistics (Distinction with Honours) from the University of La Rioja (Spain) with her dissertation “Expanding the figurative continuum to multimodal settings: multimodal metaphor in interaction with metonymy in advertising”.  Her research interests cover Cognitive Linguistics, cognitive operations (with special focus on the interaction between metaphor and metonymy), and multimodal environments ranging from advertising to classical music.


Dr David HoughtonDavid Houghton

David is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. Currently the Programme Director for BSc Business Management with Marketing, he has a PhD in Management from the University of Bath, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology. His research centres on the psychology of communication online, with a specific interest in the way that consumers interact with brand content, and how this is utilised by brands for marketing.

Samantha Ford

Samantha is a Master’s by Research graduate in English Language and Applied Linguistics, for which she received the College of Arts and Law Scholarship, and has a first class English Language Bachelor’s from the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include figurative language, advertising, social media, and consumer behaviour. Samantha has explored colour and shape as a visual figurative language in smartphone app icons. She has also investigated the figurative complexity of multimodal metaphor and metonymy in mobile phone advertising, for which received the Research Project Prize 2017. Samantha is a Research Associate for the EMMA project measuring the effectiveness and creativity of figurative messaging in advertising campaigns with Big Cat Agency. Her PhD, funded by the Midlands4Cities Arts and Humanities Research Council (M4C AHRC), is a Collaborative Doctoral Award with supervisors Professor Jeannette Littlemore and Dr Bodo Winter that develops this research with Big Cat Agency from September 2019.

Olivia Haysman-Walkerolivia2019

Olivia is an undergraduate studying BA English Literature at the University of Birmingham, with a focus on genre and 21st C literature. In taking part in the University’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship 2019 scheme, she is assisting Professor Littlemore and Dr Pérez-Sobrino on their research project, Classifying Interpretations of Metaphor, as well as EMMA. Olivia has a particular interest in recent and ongoing trends in both the publishing industry and advertising, and is preparing for her dissertation, which will explore modern adaptations of classical and folk tales.