Dr Ellen Bishop

Postdoctoral Innovation Associate

School/Department: Geography, Geology and the Environment, School of



I am a Postdoctoral Innovation Associate funded by the ESRC IAA (Impact Acceleration Account). The aim of my fellowship is to develop real-life impact from my PhD research. This involves developing and delivering training sessions for schools, teachers, and other relevant educational actors on how to effectively support pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL), utilising the findings from my ethnographic PhD research and interviews with teachers around their EAL training experiences.

I am also disseminating best practice for EAL support in written form through an article in the EAL Journal (run by NALDIC- the EAL National Subject Association) and a book chapter on EAL pupils and place-based education, both with target audience of education practitioners and interested academics. I have a part-time contract until the end of March 2023.

I submitted my PhD thesis at the University of Leicester, funded by the ESRC MGS, in September 2022 and passed my PhD viva in November 2022.

I am also the Convenor of the Critical and Creative Geographies Research Group meetings at the University of Leicester.

Alternative email address


My research interests are broadly around education and language. Previous research projects include:

  • PhD: Geographies of School Pupils who Speak English as an Additional Language (2018-22)
  • School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester. Supervised by Dr. Katy Bennett, Prof. Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham), Dr. Claire Jarvis, and Prof. Gavin Brown. Passed Viva in November 2022, examined by Dr. Ben Coles, and Prof. Johanna Waters (UCL)

The research examines the education of pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL) and how languages and multilingualism are negotiated across and within school spaces. A lack of existing scholarship on language, and EAL more specifically, within geography presents a gap in which my thesis addresses. The research utilised data from ethnographic fieldwork in a secondary school in the English Midlands where I undertook the role of a Teaching Assistant (TA) one day a week for a year to become immersed in the everyday lives of EAL pupils and the staff who teach and support them. Ethnographic fieldwork was followed by 37 interviews with teachers and educators from different schools across the UK, providing wider context around the teaching and support provision for EAL pupils in schools with different demographics and practices. Through analysis of research data, I argue that the spatialities and geographies of schools impact the way that EAL pupils and their learning and emotional needs are positioned and provided for, and more broadly how languages and multilingualism are negotiated across school spaces. This research contributes a new empirical area to the geographies of education sub-discipline around EAL education. Theoretically, the spatial and scalar lens used within this investigation of EAL pupil education contributes an enhanced understanding of the impact of the spatialities and geographies of schools, whilst also contributing a more nuanced understanding of the reciprocal relationship between space and language. My thesis also contributes to the geographies of multiculturalism, where, in existing scholarship, there is minimal reference to language despite being an identity characteristic that contributes to ethnicity and culture, through placing language as central in shaping young people educational encounters.

  • COVID-19 Marginalization of Children, collaboration across eight countries (May 2020- April 2022)

Collaborated with scholars from eight different countries to examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children who already faced inequalities prior to the pandemic- see publications for further info.

  • Teaching Observation Project, University of Leicester (January 2019- June 2019)

Researcher and participant in a project trialing peer observations between postgraduate demonstrators of different disciplines as a tool to reflect on and improve teaching strategies. Involved setting the research agenda, arranging and completing observation and feedback sessions, presenting findings in a journal article and at a conference. Also involved reading and utilising educational and pedagogical literature to compare with our study- see publications for further info. 

  • Migration, Health & Education Tiger Team, University of Leicester (November 2018- December 2019)

Part of research team in association with the Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies and Leicester College researching how newly arrived migrants engage with UK healthcare systems and learn about high-risk diseases and how education facilities can be used to inform migrants on healthcare. Resulted in creating educational resources and lesson plans to be used in colleges to educate newly arrived migrants on healthcare provision in the UK and on the risks from TB, HIV, and Hepatitis B. Facilitated focus groups with migrants attending English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) college courses about how they utilise healthcare services in the UK and overseas. Paper sharing findings and methodological implications currently under review. 


I have previously taught on the following modules: 

  • GY1412 Environment / Nature / Society
  • GY2411 A Critical Geography of Environment and Development
  • GY3421 Information Visualisation
  • GY2413 Social and Cultural Geography
  • GY3420 Dissertation
  • GY2414 Research Design and Methods (with Dissertation Planning)
  • GY1413 Human Geography Fieldcourse: The Dynamics of People and Place (2 x residential field courses to Sheffield)

I have also previously marked assignments for GY1412 Environment / Nature / Society, and GY1413 Human Geography Fieldcourse: The Dynamics of People and Place.

Due to my current Postdoctoral Innovation Fellow position, I am not currently teaching during 2022/23. 

I was awarded AFHEA (Associate Fellow) in 2021. 

Press and media

I'm happy to address media enquires around education and/ or language. 


Selected conference presentations: 

  • (Re)Defining Fieldwork, online, 3rd- 4th February 2022, ‘Conflicting Responsibilities, Out-of-Placeness and 
    Emotional Labour in the Field’.
  • RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2021, online, 31st August- 3rd September 2021, ‘How does autoethnography challenge the boundaries between researcher, participant, and our personal lives within research?’, Session- Blurring the borders between researcher and participant: The role of autoethnography within geographical research.
  • 2nd International Doctoral Research in Education Conference, online, 7th July 2021- ‘Supporting the Learning and Pastoral Needs of Secondary School Pupils with English as an Additional Language’. 
  • RGS Postgraduate Forum Virtual Conference, online - 20th April 2021- ‘Negotiating the Roles of Researcher and Teaching Assistant in Ethnographic Research’, Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group session.
  • RGS Postgraduate Forum Twitter Conference, online, 27th August 2020- ‘Geographies of Secondary School Children with English as an Additional Language’. 
  • Disseminating Research to Geography PGCE course, January 2020- led a seminar with the Geography PGCE cohort on how to support EAL learners, utilising findings from my PhD research. 
  • RGS Relaunching GeogEd Conference, University of West England, 16th December 2019- ‘Geographies of Secondary School Pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL)’.
  • Public Dissemination Event for Migration, Health and Education Tiger Team Project, University of Leicester, December 2019. 
  • GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant) Developers Forum, University of Bristol, 24th June 2019-  ‘The power of peers in GTA development of practice: evaluation of an equal-status teaching observation project’. 
  • ESRC MGS Annual Conference, University of Leicester, 19th June 2019- ‘Exploring the Experiences of Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and/or English as an Additional Language within a Mainstream Secondary School’.
  • ENRGHI (Emerging and New Researchers in Health and Impairment) Conference, University of Exeter, 17th- 18th June 2019- ‘Exploring the Impact of Educational Experiences of Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and/or English as an Additional Language on Wellbeing’.  
  • RGS Postgraduate Mid-term Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, 24th-26th April- ‘Exploring the Experiences of Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and/or English as an Additional Language within a Mainstream Secondary School’. 


Education, language, young people, multilingualism, multiculturalism, EAL (English as an additional language), identity, ethnicity, SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Dis/abilities)


PhD, School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester (2018- 2022)

MSc Social Science Research (Human Geography), University of Leicester, Distinction (2017- 2018)

BA (Hons) Geography, University of Leicester, First Class Honours (2014- 2017)


AFHEA (Associate Fellow)- awarded 17th February 2021 (through PEERS experiential route)

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