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Personal profile

Research interests

Research blog: https://makingsenseofmakingsense.tumblr.com/

Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gemma_Williams19

Twitter: @DjzemaLouiz



Gemma Williams is an SCDTP ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Resilience and Social Justice at the University of Brighton and an Associate with the National Development Team for Inclusion. 

Gemma completed her PhD in Linguistics PhD in 2021 at University of Brighton, where she investigated communication between autistic and non-autistic speakers from the persepctive of cognitive linguistics: largely influenced by 'relevance theory'.

Gemma has taught on the Text Design: Style and Genre module in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences here at UoB and held a short-term postdoctoral research post at York St John University supporting a small research project looking at 'flow states' in the context of autistic ways of being. 

Prior to beginning her PhD course, Gemma taught English as a Foreign Language for eight years, latterly focusing on Business English. This led to her completing a Masters in ELT (English Language Teaching) at the University of Sussex where her research interests included teacher cognition, Intercultural Communicative Competence and English as a Lingua Franca. Gemma also spent several years as a recording and internationally touring musician. A piece of Gemma's autoethnographic creative writing from her PhD thesis, 'We're All Strangers Here', was awarded Honorable Mention in the Society for Humanistic Anthropology 2019 Ethnographic Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Prize, and she has a short story 'm a r a c a' published in 'Stim: An Autism Anthology' (Unbound, 2020). 


ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

Gemma's present fellowship has three planned outputs:

(1) A series of short animated videos sharing, explaining and responding to the empirical finding of her PhD research, co-produced with local autistic artists via Figment Arts (Lancing). 

(2) A set of co-produced practice and policy guidelines / recommendations for NHS healthcare staff around 'cross-neurotype communication' (i.e. between autistic and non-autistic people), created by a convened stakeholder group. 

(3) A general readership monograph exploring autistic and cross-neurotype communication from the perspective of cognitive linguistics

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 15 Jan 2021

Master, University of Sussex

Award Date: 30 Oct 2016

External positions


30 Apr 2021 → …


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Social Policy
  • co-production
  • participatory research
  • Qualitative Methods
  • creative methods
  • Health inequalities
  • health and social care
  • Autism
  • ethics
  • Built Environment
  • Disability studies
  • Critical autism studies
  • Primary Care
  • Communication
  • Language
  • relevance theory
  • Loneliness
  • Cognitive Pragmatics
  • Intercultural communication
  • Linguistics


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