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Dr Naomi Wells

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
AHRC-funded Transnationalizing Modern Languages Project

Email: Naomi dot Wells at sas dot ac dot uk

Now based at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (School of Advanced Study)


Dr Naomi Wells is a research fellow on the AHRC-funded project ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Culture’. Her current research focuses on the practices of cultural and linguistic translation within migrant and intercultural associations in the city of Bologna, Italy. The research adopts an interdisciplinary approach, appealing to critical ethnography and drawing primarily on sociolinguistics, cultural and translation studies, and intercultural communication. It addresses both the transmission and representation of cultural practices as they are translated across languages, spaces and media, as well as how people negotiate cultural and linguistic diversity in their creative practices. An additional strand of her research centres on Italian-speaking communities in Chile, and the translingual and transcultural practices of representation and memory within these communities.

Her previous PhD research focused on language policy and linguistic minorities in Spain and Italy, and in 2010 she also received the Society for Italian Studies postgraduate prize for her MA thesis on language politics and policy in the Veneto and Asturias.

Dr Wells is equally committed to public engagement and impact activities which bring research in Modern Languages to wider audiences. She co-organised two series of creative writing workshops at Sandwell Arts Cafe and the Birmingham Ikon Gallery, attracting new and experienced writers from diverse backgrounds in the West Midlands keen to explore with us how they respond creatively to living in a multilingual and multicultural environment. She has also taken an active role as part of the Transnationalizing Modern Languages project in discussions concerning the future of Modern Languages, co-organising a major event in collaboration with the British Academy on reshaping the discipline and presenting her work in Modern Languages forums across the UK and abroad.


  • BA in Spanish and Italian (University of Leeds, 2007)
  • MA by Research in Modern Languages (University of Leeds, 2009)
  • PhD in Modern Languages (University of Leeds, 2013)

Research interests

Cultures of migration and mobility; multilingualism; transnationalism; transcultural and translation studies; digital humanities; intercultural communication; language ideologies and policies.

Teaching and supervision

Dr Wells was a Graduate teaching assistant in Italian at the University of Leeds from 2010 to 2013, and seminar leader at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Italian-English translation, in addition to teaching on Italian culture and society.

At Warwick she has been module convenor and tutor for the modules:

She is also involved in the supervision of dissertations in Italian Studies on the subjects of language and discourse analysis.

Administrative roles

Dr Wells is jointly responsible for managing the Italian at Warwick social media presence.


2016. ‘The Territorial Principle: Language Rights and Linguistic Minorities in Spain and Italy’. In: Gill Valentine and Ulrike Vieten, eds. Cartographies of Difference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Living with Difference. New Visions of the Cosmopolitan Series. Bern: Peter Lang, pp. 157-82.

2012. ‘Multilinguismo nello stato-nazione: lingua e identità sarda all’interno dello stato italiano (1992-2010)’. In: Silvia Contarini, Margherita Marras and Giuliana Pias, eds. L’identità sarda del XXI secolo: tra globale, locale e postcoloniale. Nuoro: Il Maestrale, pp. 155-70.

2011. ‘The Linguistic Capital of Contested Languages: The Centre-Left and Regional Languages in Asturias and the Veneto, 1998-2008’. Language Problems and Language Planning. 32(2), 117-38.

Conference papers and invited talks (recent)

(With Dr Jenny Burns) 'Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Bridging Experiences in Research, Practice and Teaching', Frameworks for Collaboration and Multilingualism Conference (8th Biennial joint LLAS, UCML, and AULC 'Languages in Higher Education' conference), University of Warwick, 6 July 2016.

'Language as a Site of Empowerment and Solidarity: Migrant Cultural Associations in Bologna and the Teaching of the "Mother Language"', Sociolinguistics Symposium 21, Universidad de Murcia, 15 June 2016.

(With Prof Derek Duncan and Prof Loredana Polezzi) 'Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Transnationalizing Creative Practices', Translation, Translanguaging and Creativity: A Translating Cultures Workshop, Institute of Modern Languages Research, 13 June 2016.

'Transnational Cultural and Linguistic Practices in Migrant Cultural Associations in Bologna', Turning Points: Cultures of Transition, Transformation and Transmission In Italy (Society for Italian Studies Interim Conference), Trinity College Dublin, 30 April 2016.

‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Negotiating Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary Italy’, invited research seminar, School of Modern Languages, University of Leicester, 4 November 2015.

(With Prof Loredana Polezzi) ‘Working Globally through Multilingualism and Translation’, Multilingualism in Practice in the University ESRC Seminar, University of Birmingham, 13 November 2015.


Creative Writing Workshops: Writing Across Languages and Cultures, February-June 2016

Transnationalizing Modern Languages