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WELS becomes first Faculty with a research presence in all four nations

A collage of portrait images of Dr Carrie Purcell and Dr Sarah Cox

The Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Languages Studies (WELS) welcomes Dr Carrie Purcell and Dr Sarah Cox, two new Research Fellows based in Scotland. This is a significant moment as the faculty becomes the first at The Open University (OU) to have a research presence in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – the four nations where the OU is based. 

Dr Carrie Purcell and Dr Sarah Cox joined the university in December 2022 and bring a wealth of experience and expertise bolstering the support of research at WELS. 

Carrie has a background in medical sociology and qualitative methods. Before joining the OU, Carrie led a range of studies into abortion care in Scotland and, from 2018-2021, she was Principal Investigator of the Sexualities and Abortion Stigma Study (SASS) funded by the Wellcome Trust. During her time at the University of Glasgow, Carrie worked on projects relating to health and wellbeing. Her main research interests include reproductive health, stigma, self-management, and access to healthcare. 

Sarah has a background in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), refugee integration, language education and multilingualism. For the past sixteen years Sarah has worked with refugees and asylum seekers as a senior manager in the third sector where she led a range of language learning and educational research projects. In 2021, she completed her PhD in Language Ecologies with the UNESCO Chair Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow and has also worked as an Affiliate Researcher within the same department. Sarah’s main research interests are language education, multilingualism, decolonising, participatory approaches, language ecologies, translanguaging, language policy and refugee integration. 

Professor Lesley Hoggart, WELS Associate Dean, Research says: “We are excited to welcome Carrie and Sarah to WELS. They each bring relevant expertise that will boost some of our key areas of research, as well as a wealth of experience that will help us develop research capacity across all four nations.” 

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