Dr Maryam Almohammad
Language Education and Intercultural Communication
Dr Maryam Almohammad is a researcher and an educator in interculturality, language, intersectionality and identity and society at the Institute for Language Education, the Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh. Previously, Dr Maryam worked at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), the University of Bristol, the University of Bath, the Institute Nationale d’administration (INA), and the University of Damascus.
At UWE Bristol, Dr Maryam was a researcher on the Creating Welcoming Learning Environments project (AHRC Funded). The project employs creative art-based methods to integrate children from migrant backgrounds into the UK education spaces. The project is a creative collaboration among researchers, artists, school teachers and advisers. With Dr Jane Andrews, Maryam co-edited the Creating Welcoming Learning Environments: Using creative arts method in language classrooms, Multilingual Matters. The ethos of the CWLE project are defined by three main principles: 1) creating cooperative and collaborative environments using creative art-based methods to open dialogues and value everybody's expertise; 2) experiential learning informing the practice; and a decolonising ethos (Andrews and Almohammad, 2021, p.5). Creative art-based methods and experiential learning are used in Maryam's teaching, research and practice to decolonise teacher education, research and the curriculum.
Dr Maryam's research is interdisciplinary and is informed by social sciences, intercultural education, sociolinguistics, cultural studies, sociological theories of practice, and critical approaches. Her doctoral ethnographic research, influenced by her training experience of senior public managers, focuses on the language identities of public administration trainees, literacies, upward social mobility, and trainees' symbolic investment in languages, knowledge re/production and social practices across time and space. Dr Maryam argues that 'apparatuses of power' and neoliberal discourses represented by local public administration training and reform, European public administration, and Arab knowledge economy shape language learners' subjectivities and speakerhood creating an imagined 'model of success' in the market.
- PhD in Education (Applied Linguistics), the School of Education, University of Bristol.
- Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods, the School of Education, University of Bristol.
- MA in English Language Teaching, the Center for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick.
- Postgraduate Diploma in Translation and Interpreting, University of Damascus
- Postgraduate Diploma in Linguistics, University of Damascus
- BA in English Language and Literature, University of Damascus
Responsibilities & affiliations
Maryam is a member of key research associations in the UK:
- The British Sociological Association (BSA)
- The British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL): Linguistic Ethnography Forum, Multilingualism SIG, Language Learning and Teaching SIG, Language and New Media SIG, Intercultural Communication SIG, and English as an Additional Language.
- The Society for Research into Higher Education
- The British Educational Research Association (BERA)
- The ESOL Research Forum
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Course Organiser)
Intercultural Language Learner Identity (I design, develop and lead this as course organiser)
- Second Language Teaching Curriculum
- Language Awareness for Second Language Teachers
- TESOL Methodology
- Conceptualising Research: Foundations, Assumptions and Praxis
- Sources of Knowledge: Understanding and analysing research literature
Areas of interest for supervision
I am happy to supervise students on the topics of:
- Interculturality and citizenship
- Intercultural communication across diverse fields (education, interpreting, social work, journalism, and politics)
- Anthropology in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia
- Anthropology and social media
- language, culture and identity
- Professional identity and the workplace
- Arts, creativity and knowledge economy
- Critical and neo-materialist approaches
- Language Education
- Education in conflict zones
As a researcher in intercultural communication, I have been involved in both anthropological/ethnographic and collaborative art-based research. My research discusses the points below:
- Languages, cultures, identities and intersectionality
- Intercultural communication
- Plurilingualism and Multilingualism
- Language, migration and citizenship
- Anthropology and Ethnography
- Qualitative research
- Creative art-based research
- Critical Intercultural Language Education
- New materialism and posthumanism
- Sociology of Bernstein and Bourdieu
- Experience Conducting Anthropological Research
Maryam's main specialism is language, identity, investment, ideology, pedagogy, and society. Her primary research explores the impact of languages on the identities of Syrian employees in global and Arab Knowledge Economies. The study emerged from her work experience, where she noticed issues of injustice due to the role of foreign languages in accessing certain spaces, forms of knowledge, and positions. This is why she conducted an ethnography that explores Syrian language learners’ identities, ideology, power and investment in English as a Foreign Language and English as a Lingua Franca contexts after graduation from university and enrolling in a senior Training Institute. She draws upon social and critical theories, Critical Discourse Analysis, the sociology of Bernstein and Bourdieu and new literacies studies. The social turn in applied linguistics allowed her to investigate the questions of identity, ideology, pedagogy and investment in the English language, which are not researched in a foreign language context, such as Syria.
- Experience Conducting Collaborative Art-based Research
Maryam's most recent research experience is in the area of art and multilingualism in English as an Additional Language environment. She developed experience in conducting collaborative art-based research while working with Associate Professor in Education Dr Jane Andrews, the University of the West of England (UWE), on the Creating Welcoming Learning Environments (CWLE) project, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The CWLE is designed as a follow-on project to extend the legacy of the AHRC grant Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Law, the Body and the State. In the RM researchers worked across professions (the law, global mental health, state institutions) and disciplines (clinical psychology, education, law, languages) using art as a data collection method. In the CWLE, Maryam and Dr Jane collaborated with artists, school teachers, education consultants and the University of the West of England, filming students sharing knowledge and practice about the use of art-based methods in the teaching and learning of children from non-English backgrounds. This was through a series of workshops and follow-ups in schools.
Andrews, J. and Almohammad, M. (2019). Teachers’ evaluations of creative collaboration: What happens when artists and teachers generate arts-based approaches to supporting English language development in schools? The British Educational Research Association Annual Conference (BERA).
Almohammad, M. and Andrews, A. (2019). Artmaking and Teachers’ and Learners’ Reception of their own Interchange with Materials and Multilingualism in Welcoming Environments for EAL Learners. Language, Identity and Education in Multilingual Contexts, (LIEMC19).
Andrews, J. and Almohammad, M. (2018). Creative collaboration: a study of teachers transforming arts-based methods into activities to support children developing English as an Additional Language in schools in England, the British Association for Applied Linguistics.
Almohammad, M., Harrison, N., and Comrie, C. (2018). Internationalism in an age of insularity: constructions of ‘global citizenship’ in English university strategic policy documents. The Society for Research Into Higher Education Conference.
M. Almohammad. (2016). Constructing Syrian Learners Identities and Investment within Arab Knowledge-Based Economy and Public Administration Training. Language, Identity and Literacy Conference, Centre for the Study of Literacies, Sheffield University.
M. Almohammad (2015). Negotiating Professional Identities in Syrian Internship workplaces: Access, learning and evaluation. Linguistic Ethnography Discussion Study Group, Centre for Language and Communication Research, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, University of Cardiff.
M. Almohammad (2015). A Social Realist Perspective on Trainees in Syria Higher Education: consciousness and Reflexivity. The University of Warwick Seminar on Reflexivity.
M. Almohammad (2014). Critical Ethnography of Pedagogies and Knowledge Reproduction in Syria: Identities, Language, Investment and Consciousness in Education and Workplaces. Conference Paper, the British Association for Applied Linguistics.
M. Almohammad (2010). Doing an Ethnography in Syria: Identities, Language, Investment and Consciousness in Education and Workplaces, the Centre for Globalisation, Education and Societies, University of Bristol.
Andrews, J. and Almohammad, M. (2019). Teachers’ evaluations of creative collaboration: What happens when artists and teachers generate arts-based approaches to supporting English language development in schools?, MOSAIC Research Seminar Series, the School of Education, University of Birmingham.
Andrews, J. and Almohammad, M. (2019). Art-based Methods in EAL Environments to decolonise practice. Bristol City Academy Teacher's Conference. (workshop)
Andrews, J., Almohammad, M., Thomas, K. (2018) Creative Arts and Supporting EAL Development: Whole School, Learner and Subject Level Approaches, The National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) 26 Conference. (workshop)
Almohammad, M. (2018). Performing Identities and Negotiating Positions in the Syrian Workplace. TESOL in Marginalised Communities Seminar, Graduate School, Queens's University Belfast.
M. Almohammad (2018). Pluri-logicality and the language of Islamic Geometric Home Design: reassembling tessellations and encoding the hidden mystery of human and non-human unification (about symbolism and ontology). Exploring Pluri-Logicality A half-day interactive symposium hosted by the Creativity and Emergent Educational-futures (CEE) Network, Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter. (workshop)
M. Almohammad (2015). Syrian Refugee Education: Challenges and Responsibilities. Invitation to Speak to Education Undergraduate Students, the University of Gloucestershire.
I co-organised conferences for in-service teachers on using creative art-based methods in teacher education. I also worked on organising art-based workshops workshops, research seminars, reading groups, and writing retreats.
Almohammad, M. (2019). Data Session C – Researching language and identity development in a professional context: research participation as a site of reflexivity, and the role of the researcher within this. A Research Seminar organised by the British Association for Applied Linguistics, Linguistic Ethnography SIG, Reflexivity and Positionality in Linguistic Ethnography, UWE, 3 June 2019.
M. Almohammad. (2016). Constructing the Global Identity of a Syrian Town through Disseminating Visual Resources: Spaces, Bodies and Multilingualism. Historicising the Digital, Language and Social Media SiG Annual Seminar, BAAL.