Professor Robert Blackwood MA (Hons), PhD

Professor of French Sociolinguistics Languages, Cultures and Film


Personal Statement

Professor Robert Blackwood is a specialist in French sociolinguistics with research and teaching interests within the broad field of linguistics and language studies. Professor Blackwood's primary research interest is the linguistic landscape, and in particular regional languages of France in the linguistic landscape. He also explores questions of memorialisation in the linguistic landscape with a specific emphasis on France's overseas territories. He is the Editor of the journal 'Linguistic Landscape' alongside Professor Elana Shohamy (Tel Aviv University), and co-organised the Eighth Linguistic Landscape Workshop which took place in Liverpool in 2016. Professor Blackwood has published widely on Corsican sociolinguistics, which was the subject of his first monograph. His second book, co-authored with Dr Stefania Tufi from the Italian subject area, investigated the linguistic landscapes of French and Italian Mediterranean coastal cities. Professor Blackwood also publishes on language and new media (including social media) from the perspective of the French language, and he also undertakes research into questions of language policy.

Professor Blackwood supervises doctoral research in the area of sociolinguistics, with specific interests in the Linguistic Landscape, language policy, and digital discourse. He is particularly interested in doctoral proposals which sit at the interface between Linguistic Landscape research, memory studies, and museums/monuments. In addition to his work in francophone contexts, Professor Blackwood has supervised PhDs looking at sociolinguistic questions in the Middle East, including Jordan, Algeria, and Kuwait.

Professor Blackwood is currently primary supervisor for two research students: Imene Bensalem, who is exploring the sociolinguistics of the workplace in Algeria; and Manel Boulahia, working on English in the linguistic landscape of Tizi-Ouzou, Kabylia. Professor Blackwood is also second supervisor for Steph Connor (writing a PhD on ethnolinguistic communities in Liverpool) and Wendy O'Neill (whose doctorate examines historical Linguistic Landscapes of the Seaton tramway in Devon).

Professor Blackwood was primary supervisor to Michelle Harrison (PhD 2013), Lecturer in French & Francophone Studies at the University of Leicester; to Will Amos (PhD 2017), Associate Professor in French & Translation Studies at the University of Warwick; and to Lucia Brandi (PhD 2018). In addition, he was a supervisor for the late Omar Almoush (PhD 2015) and Ghazi Al-Naimat (PhD 2015).

Prizes or Honours

  • National Teaching Fellowship (Higher Education Academy, 2011)
  • Sir Alastair Pilkington Award (University of Liverpool, 2010)