Research background

Over the years, I have ventured into a range of territories, all of which have been informed by an interest in social interaction. Following a brief period taking a propaedeutic diploma in Psychology in Amsterdam, I moved into the Arts, eventually taking a Bachelor’s degree in Drama at Manchester University in the UK. This led to an extended period of engagement in the performing arts, where the study of social settings features as one core endeavour.

This interest in interaction was carried forward into a second career, in language teaching, which ultimately led to a Masters Degree in Applied Linguistics, taken at Newcastle University. Here I came into contact with ethnomethodological and conversation analytic approaches to the study of human sociality, and I was particularly inspired by those studies that sought to demonstrate how social action was constituted through a range of types of resources, from those that feature in vocal and visual conduct, to those drawn from the setting. I have been especially interested in linguistically dynamic settings, and usually in institutional settings such as workplaces, classrooms and counselling. More specifically, my interest is in the resources of which we avail ourselves in physically co-present interaction in order to facilitate mutual understanding.

Areas of interest:

-Interaction analysis
-Institutional interaction
-Social identity formation
-Workplace Studies
-Ethnomethodological Conversation Analysis
-Simulated interaction
-Creativity in interaction
-Forensic investigation


My PhD research was carried out as part of the Research Centre for Cultural and Linguistic Practices in the Internationalized University (CALPIU), Roskilde University, and explored institutional interaction in study guidance settings in international universities, with datScreen Shot 2015-01-21 at 22.55.43a featuring International Office helpdesk service encounters and student counselling meetings. This study included exploratory work on how members enact particular institutional activities and related social identities by drawing on a range of resources, including – and also relevant to the current project Social objects for innovation and learning at the University of Southern Denmark – material and graphic objects in the local environment. Furthermore, the research demonstrated how material objects and Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 23.00.46body-visual actions are drawn on to represent components in the somewhat complex administrative procedures at the heart of the guidance activities.


A separate research strand that I am pursuing concerns interaction in creative settings. Recently, I conducted fieldwork with three performance companies as they went about rehearsing new productions for performance.

That Theatre Company (2014)
That Theatre Company (2014)

The video data allow for an exploration of how theatre practitioners go about the business of playing, discovering, understanding and representing social interactional settings, and the role of interaction in developing imagined worlds. The study is situated at the intersection between social scientific approaches to human sociality and its creation and consumption as cultural artefact. With regard the social objects endeavour, one line of investigation concerns the enactment of objects within theatrical performance, including their transformation from material resource to prop to socially situated object in a staged scene.

Why Not Theatre Company (2014)
Why Not Theatre Company (2014)

Currently in publication, I also have one article on developments in the 1990s UK theatre scene, and another on representations of healthcare in theatre performance. In review are a number of other articles: on the enactment of objects in naturalistic theatre, on the practice of ‘doing notes’ in theatre rehearsals, and on theatre companies as transient multilingual communities. In preparation are studies on collaborative imagining in theatre devising, the interplay between speech and the body in dance and visual theatre creation, and the process of discovering authenticity in simulated interaction.

Det Kongelige Teater/ Aaben Dans (2015) Horisonten



Leading on from the above, healthcare provision is an area of research that I have become increasingly interested in, while contributing methodological support and analysis to Performance features in clinical skills assessment (2014), a research project carried out by Celia Roberts, Sarah Atkins and Kamilla Hawthorne in the UK.


Roberts, Atkins & Hawthorne (2014)
Roberts, Atkins & Hawthorne (2014)

Sarah and I are now pursuing further lines of investigation in continuation of this research project, including a study of the enactment of empathy in healthcare encounters, as well as the deployment of visual resources in advice giving sequences.


My involvement in the above project for King’s College, London stems from a byline in research methods relating to the production, treatment and application of audio- and audio-visual data for studying social interaction. With Janus Mortensen, I have run research methods workshops in Denmark, Spain, the UK and Japan, which aim to provide a platform to reflect on the various interconnected stages for data development – from technical considerations to getting access to settings right through to analysis and presentation of data as part of dissemination. More importantly, the workshops provide hands-on skills development in the use of transcription linking tools such as ELAN and CLAN. The workshop materials, consisting of tutorial documents and step-wise exercises can be also downloaded from Furthermore, two preliminary publications on this topic, The Data Cycle and Transcription Linking Software, can be found in proceedings from a research methods symposium in Osaka (Ikeda & Brandt (eds), 2012). A more substantial article on transcription linking software is currently in review. Additionally, Janus and I have provided consultancy services to a number of research projects, catering materials specifically to the respective projects’ needs, and assisting with the development of skills for the team members. Two other methodological papers are currently in various stages of being published, one on the applicability of research findings in the settings where the data were generated, and one on the effects brought about by recording devices being introduced into natural everyday settings.



Finally, I am also associated as researcher within the LINGCORP project (Language and Interaction in the Global Corporate Workplace).

Business_team_meeting1This research project (funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Culture and Communication) has been tasked with investigating processes of internationalisation in everyday workplace settings, brought about as a result of transnational mobility and cross-border collaboration. LINGCORP applies a range of methodological approaches to examine the implications of the on-going processes of internationalisation on those who operate in these linguistically charged environments. Recent publications include an article for the Journal of Language and Intercultural Communication on language policing in the workplace, and with Janus Mortensen a number of studies on multilingual practices in international settings.


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