Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Resident PhD Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

In addition to representing the research interests and being a meeting place for our academic partners, the Trinity Long Room Hub is home to 44 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows annually, most of whom are nominated by their Schools. Those residing with us during 2015-16, and their range of research interests, are as follows:

Researcher Research Title & Description

Bianca Battilocchi

Bianca Battilocchi

Bianca Battilocchi is a PhD student in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies. She pursued her BA and MA in Contemporary and Modern Literatures in University of Parma and Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle. Her main research centres on the work of Emilio Villa (1914-2003), a contemporary Italian poet, art critic, and translator from ancient languages, whose relevance has been shown more and more in the last decade. Having previously published essays on this author, the aim of her current work is a first interpretation of Villa’s unpublished “Tarot poems”, about 200 handwritten texts in draft form from the early 1980s.

Ram Subramanian

Ram Subramanian

'Language Policy and Planning in the Republic of India: a Postcolonial and Historical View'

Ram is a PhD candidate in the School of Linguistics funded by an Irish Research Council Fellowship. His research explores the history of language policy in India, with a particular focus on colonial influences and ideologies and difficulties that they may have caused, and continue to cause, in the independent state. He seeks to use a historical lens to examine the development of Indian language policy, with a view to decolonizing that policy and thus deepening our understanding of alternative paths for the development of language regulation in postcolonial nations.

Stephen O'Neill

Stephen O'Neill

Stephen O'Neill is a final year PhD student in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin. His doctoral research, which is funded by the Irish Research Council, investigates the Country and the City in the Irish Novel after Partition. This project seeks to move away from the clichéd opposition of 'rural' and 'urban' in Irish literature and culture, and towards an understanding of a network of Irish settlements.

Olaf Almqvist


'Becoming Gods: Situating Immortalisation within Ancient Greek Cosmologies'

Olaf is a PhD student in Classics and funded by the Irish Research Council. He is particularly interested in applying anthropological approaches to ancient evidence. His current research focuses on competing divinisation claims in early Greek poetry.  

Stefano Rosignoli


'A Comparative Textual Analysis of the Ethics of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett.'

Stefano Rosignoli was educated at the University of Bologna, where he received an MA in Modern Literature (2006) and an MPhil in Publishing Studies (2008). He worked for several years in publishing and is now completing his PhD in English at Trinity College Dublin, with a focus on moral philosophy and twentieth-century Irish literature. He has been awarded scholarships from TCD and The University at Buffalo. Together with Mark Byron, he co-edited a dossier on "Beckett and the Middle Ages", published in the celebratory issue marking the 40th anniversary of the Journal of Beckett Studies (25.1). His chapter on the sociology of Beckett’s texts in the years of the broadcasts for BBC Radio, centred on copyright and moral rights, is forthcoming for Palgrave Macmillan.

Megan Ayers

'The Place of Humankind in Medieval Ireland as Seen by the Cross of the Scriptures and Muiredach's High Cross: A Contextual Study with Theological Aesthetic and Theological Anthropological Conclusions'

Megan has a B.A. from Yale University in Religious Studies and is a PhD student within the Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies, and Theology at the Loyola Institute. She is funded by a Loyola Institute Trust Scholarship and supervised by Professor Fáinche Ryan. Her research centres on applications of theological aesthetics and theological anthropology in regards to Irish High Crosses and seeks to expand the treatment of the Irish High Crosses into theological terms while maintaining their historical context. Her exploration of the High Crosses is theological but also draws on major themes within art history, cultural studies, and visual culture. The thesis is above all an exploration into key questions regarding humanity’s abstract conceptions of creation as expressed through physical created objects. 


David GaughranDavid Graughan

‘The Enlightenment and Islam’

David is a PhD student in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies.  He is currently researching the various ways the Enlightenment philosophes wrote about Islamic societies and civilisations, with a focus on sympathetic accounts of Islamic culture.  David’s research examines how the changing religious beliefs of philosophes in the 18th Century, along with the rise of an historical worldview that saw civilisations rise through stages of development, impacted and changed European representations of Muslims, their religion and their history.  His study aims to demonstrate that there were many genuine attempts at presenting Islam to a reading public and that these attempts often argued against myths and misconceptions that were popular at the time. 

Lynsey Callaghan

Lynsey Callaghan


Lynsey Callaghan is a PhD student in the School of Creative Arts and is funded by a TCD Postgraduate Studentship. Her practice-led doctoral research is concerned with the development of a strategic plan for a national system of choral music education in Ireland.

Eve Cobain

Eve Cobain

Eve Cobain is a final year PhD student at the School of English. Her thesis explores the significance of Music in the work of middle generation American poet, John Berryman and is funded by the Irish Research Council. More broadly, her interests include contemporary Irish and American poetry as well as poetry, music and the visual arts. She has an essay forthcoming in John Berryman at 100: Centenary Essays. Eds. Philip Coleman and Peter Campion, to be published with Peter Lang in 2016, and another in Making Integral: Critical Essays on Richard Murphy. Ed. Ben Keatinge. Cork University Press, predicted 2017.  

Alex Nica

Alex Nice

'City Rhythms: Patters of Identity Formation in 20th Century London'

Alex is a doctoral candidate in the School of English and she is funded by the Irish Research Council. Her current project locates itself at the intersection of literary and urban studies, and it aims to understand the co-dependencies among individuals, intellectual communities, and the city space using a rhythmic framework. Her analysis of early 20th century London periodicals seeks to explain how the communal structures that form around these magazines provide individuals with different ways of understanding and navigating the urban environment.

Thomas Earls Fitzgerald 

Thomas Earls Fitzgerald


'Civilian experiences of the Irish Revolution 1918-1923'

Thomas is an Irish Research Council funded PhD student in the History Department researching the various ways the combatants of the Irish Revolution, whether in the I.R.A., Crown Forces or Free State army, interacted with the civilian population. His research examines the benevolent forms of interaction  together with, the more frequent, violent and intimidatory forms. His thesis assesses what types of  people were singled out for intimidation, the nature of the intimidation, the difference in tactics between the combatants and the  levels of support the combatants believed they had from civilian population. Geographically his research focuses on south west Munster.  

Peter West

Peter West

Peter is a PhD student in the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy whose research focuses on the philosophy of George Berkeley; immaterialist and alumni of Trinity. Focusing on his early works An Essay Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, Peter hopes to provide an accurate reading of Berkeley's arguments surrounding representation and resemblance with a particular focus on the historical context in which it was written. He hopes to give a holistic interpretation of Berkeley's works, drawing on contemporary movements in science as well as more straightforward philosophy. Peter holds degrees from the University of Leeds (BA) and the University of Edinburgh (MSc).

Caitriona O'Brien

Caitriona O'Brien

'The impact of Irish Sign Language on families with d/Deaf Individuals'

Caitríona is a first-year PhD candidate in the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences and is funded by a Trinity College Dublin Postgraduate Research Studentship. Caitríona holds a BA in French and Spanish from Trinity College and an MSc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition from the University of Oxford. She is particularly interested in applied linguistics, language acquisition and sociolinguistics and their interaction with language policy. Her current research, at the Centre for Deaf Studies, focuses on the applied linguistics of sign language users in Ireland.

David Campbell

David Campbell


‘Republicanism and Criminal Theory’

David is a qualified Barrister and a current PhD candidate in the School of Law. He is also a recipient of the Trinity College Postgraduate Research Studentship. His current research examines the theory of criminal law (including areas such as culpability, punishment and criminalisation) through the prism of republican theory and in particular the Republican concept of laws as creative of individual freedom when such freedom is understood as non-domination rather than non-interference. David holds a Trinity College MA as well as both and M.Ed. and an LL.M.

Ellen Finn

Ellen Finn

'Tomb Re-aders: Anthropological Approaches to the Funerary Archaeology of Prepalatial Crete' 

Ellen is a PhD student based in the Department of Classics and funded by the Irish Research Council. Turning the lens on the interdisciplinary approach in its own right, her current research focusses on the discourse surrounding early Bronze Age tombs in Crete, in order to examine how anthropological models such as those related to death, religion and cultural cohesion have been applied to the archaeological record, in addition to the interpretative influence these methods exert. 

Stephen Furlong

Stephen Furlong

'Irish Banditry: Discipline and Desire in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries'

Stephen is a doctoral student funded by the Irish Research Council. He is jointly supervised by Professor David Dickson and Doctor Aileen Douglas, of the history and literature departments, respectively. His research is on the history of Irish banditry, which lies across the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His work draws on a number of themes, including historical change, colonialism, subalternity, power/knowledge and myth. His approach to the subject emphasises how contemporaries made sense of the subject, especially the roles of discourse, narrative forms and textual culture. 

Michael Gallen

Michael Gallen


Michael is a composer currently doing a practice-led PhD within the School of Creative Arts . His main interest lies in the rethinking of the structures, spaces and context of "live" multi-disciplinary art forms (opera, ballet, sacred music). His research also focuses on the role of non-dialectical thought in processes of collaborative creation, and how the reconsideration of these creative processes impacts upon the way in which a modern audience experiences the work produced. 

Richard GowRichard Gow

'Letter-writing to the Authorities in Spain under General Primo de Rivera, 1923-1930'

Richard is an Irish Research Council-funded PhD student in the Department of Hispanic Studies. His research examines letters written to the authorities in Spain during the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera from September, 1923 to January, 1930. Using a from-below approach, it considers how the regime's attempts to elicit consent from the Spanish population were reflected in the experience of everyday life in Spain. The personal narrations contained in these letters shed light on the range and depth of local and national identities in Spain, the extent and limits of personal loyalties to the Spanish State, and survival strategies during dictatorship.

Allison Harmon

Alison Harmon

'Joseph’s Assimilation and Re-assimilation in Genesis'

Allison is a first year PhD student at the Loyola Institute. She is funded by a TCD Studentship Award and by The Church of the Redeemer Baltimore (USA). Previously Allison earned an M.A and an M.T.S from Loyola University Maryland, where she explored neighbour relations within the context of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith traditions. Her current research focuses on the shifting migrant identity of Joseph in the Book of Genesis and will draw upon various Biblical, philosophical, sociological, psychological, and anthropological resources to present a full picture of the intricacies of individual ethnic translation and the impact that migration has on familial identity. She plans to apply her work to the current migration crisis in the European Union.  

Mary Hatfield

Mary Hatfield

‘Growing up in Ireland: constructions of gender and childhood in nineteenth-century Ireland.’

Mary Hatfield is a PhD student in the Department of History and an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar. Her research interests focus on Irish childhood and gender in nineteenth-century Ireland, particularly the construction of normative bourgeois childhood and aspects of children’s education, recreation, and material cultures. She has published on boyhood masculinities, Dublin boarding schools, and photographic depictions of Irish childhood. She received the James E Todd award from Queen’s University Belfast and is a committee member for the History of Irish Childhood Research Network and the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth.  

Angela Butler


'Immersive Sensory Spectacle as Performance: a study of sensory spectacle performance and the influence of digital culture'

Angela Butler is a PhD student in the Department of Drama, School of Creative Arts. She is currently funded by a TCD Postgraduate Studentship. Her research presents a phenomenologically guided study of immersive sensory spectacle performance. Sensory spectacle performance aims to foreground the embodied experience and felt aspects of performance whereby the emphasis is always on stimulation of spectator’s senses and communication of sensation. Angela’s thesis considers the connections between the affective experience offered by sensory spectacle performance and the influence of digital culture upon it. Her research interests include performance and digital culture, aesthetic experience, perception, attention, and phenomenology.

Sophie Hingst

Sophie Hingst

'Here the sea of pity lies. Conflicting Views of Ireland's position in the Early Modern World'

Marie Sophie Hingst is a PhD candidate based in the Department of History. Her research aims to trace different aspects of the process of Irish colonization in the seventeenth century. Her work seeks to present this within the context of the Atlantic and other continental relationships, and to capture these analytically in a broader framework. The aim of this work is not to provide a single anecdote of a historical event into an already existing body of historiography, but to consider the Irish case as an optical prism that allows us to open up concealed aspects, to give subtle nuances to conventional interpretive patterns and, as such, to enable new refractions.

Jonny Johnston

Jonny Johnston

Jonny is a PhD candidate and Government of Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholar based in the Department of Germanic Studies at TCD. His doctoral work examines and assesses how contemporary fiction from German-speaking Switzerland engages with the post-colonial turn to subvert and re-frame existing mythopoetic narratives of Swissness. His doctoral research has previously attracted funding from Trinity College Dublin and from the Swiss Federal Government and he spent 2012/2013 as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Basel. Jonny holds degrees from the University of Edinburgh (MA 2006), University of St Andrews (MLitt (T) 2008), and the UCL Institute of Education (PGCE 2010).

Jillian Kellough

'Promoting teacher learning and implementation of assessment for learning through a virtual learning environment'

Jillian is a PhD candidate based in the School of Education. Funded by a TCD Studentship, Jillian’s research explores innovative practice and design for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that aims to promote Assessment for Learning (AfL) among Ireland’s secondary teachers. Her research focuses on the development and implementation of personalised CPD through a flipped learning instructional approach, within a virtual learning environment. The purpose for this research is to support teachers’ integration of formative assessment approaches to optimise the learning experience for students.

Sarah Kuenzler

Sarah Kuenzler

'Losing the Brain of Forgetfulness: Memory in Early Irish Literature'

Sarah studied interdisciplinary medieval studies at the Universität Zürich (MA) and also holds an M.Phil. in Medieval Language, Literature and Culture from Trinity College Dublin, funded by an Irish Government Scholarship. She recently completed her dissertation on bodies in mediality discourse in early Irish and Old Norse-Icelandic literature at the Universität Zürich. In Spring 2016, she commenced an early-career post-doctoral research project at the Department of Irish and Celtic Languages, Trinity College Dublin. Her project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, examines processes of remembering in early Irish literature. It offers critical readings of selected texts in which individual cognitive processes such as remembering and forgetting and cultural phenomena interact in terms of a temporal, spatial and social structuring of the narrated worlds. The aim is to link these readings to theoretical approaches to memory studies which will help to understand medieval Irish ideas about memory in an interdisciplinary context.

Chiara Mizzoni


Chiara Mizzoni

'The Missing Gender(s) in Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Programmes. Implications for Peace in Post-Conflict Societies. A case study analysis of Colombia'

Chiara is a second year doctoral candidate within the Irish School of Ecumenics and an IRC Andrew Grene Postgraduate Scholar in Conflict Resolution. Her research explores gender mainstreaming practices and reintegration outcomes within Colombia’s Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Programmes. The research argues that truly engendering DDR necessitates gender relational analysis which recognises the complexity of gender relations and the intersectional nature of identity. The research seeks to understand how DDR programmes approaches former combatants and if such programmes reinforce existing harmful masculinities, gender dichotomies and inequalities in the way they position men and women post-conflict. The research explores what this may mean for gendered power relations, gender norms and sustainable peace in post-conflict societies.

Lara O'Muirithe



Lara obtained a BA (Hons) in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London), where she studied art from antiquity to the present. She graduated with an MPhil in Irish Writing from Trinity College Dublin’s Oscar Wilde Centre. Her doctoral thesis is a single-author study of the Irish storyteller and aesthetician Aidan Higgins. She is analysing the stylistic qualities of Higgins’s prose. This involves pursuing research in the field of art historiography. Larissa is a recipient of the Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship (2015-2019). During 2016-2017, she will be co-convening the TCD School of English Staff-Postgraduate Seminar Series.

Adrian Gramps

Adrian Gramps

Adrian is a PhD student in the department of Classics at TCD who is interested in exploring the poetry and poetics of the ancient Mediterranean through the lens of aesthetic experience. His current project, which is funded by the Irish Research Council, is a critical account of the techniques employed in certain Hellenistic and Roman poems for the production of fictional 'occasions' - virtual performance spaces to be explored as part of the embodied experience of reading. He holds an MSt in Greek and/or Latin Languages and Literature from Oxford and a BA in Classics from King's College London.

Tom KellyTom Kelly

‘Assessing the Agency Costs of Fiduciary Capitalism’

Tom Kelly is a PhD student in the School of Law and is funded by a TCD Postgraduate Studentship. He has an LLB from Trinity College Dublin and an LLM in Commercial Law from the University of Cambridge. His focus is on corporate governance and the causes and consequences of commercial practices in the investment industry, including shareholder engagement, fiduciary duties and pension fund investment especially with regard to how the law can respond to these practices.

Elspeth PayneElspeth Payne


‘Britain, Ireland and the Press, 1922-1939’

Elspeth is an Irish Research Council funded doctoral candidate in the Department of History, Trinity College Dublin where she previously held the R. B. McDowell Fellowship. Her main research looks at the presentation of Anglo-Irish connections in British newspapers to explore the imagined reality of events spanning 1922-1939. She is particularly interested in: the meaning and development of media representations; the production and consumption of press discourses, and using contemporary understandings to interrogate the traditional, retrospective narratives of academic and public histories.

Mona Syrbe

'Global Englishes in international English examinations and textbooks: An investigation of content and construct validity in the IELTS and TOEFL'

Mona is a second year PhD student at the Centre for Language and Communication Science. Her research concerns teaching and testing English as an international language. Considering the global importance of English as a lingua franca, she is investigating large-scale international English tests, such as the TOEFL and IELTS, as well as best selling international English textbooks in terms of their representation of English as a global or international language. 

Ruzana TukiminRuzana Tukimin

'An Evaluation of The Effectiveness and Impact of Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): A Comparison Between High Performance Schools and Other National Post-primary Schools in Malaysia'

Ruzana is a PhD candidate in the School of Education. Her main research interest is on ICT in education. Ruzana’s PhD research fully sponsored by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. With her experience as an Assistant Director in the Educational Technology Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia, Ruzana aims to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which is currently being implemented in all schools in Malaysia. Ruzana’s focus is to firstly compare the level of VLE engagement for teaching and learning purposes between High Performance Schools and other national post-primary schools in Malaysia. Her research will also explore the effectiveness and impact of VLE on the teachers’ professional practice as well as the teacher-student relationship.

Katherine Morales

Katherine is a final year PhD student in the School of Linguistic, Speech, and Communication Sciences. Her research looks at the realization of identity in the linguistic practices of contemporary youth in colonial settings. Her fieldwork focuses on describing the bilingual situation of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a previous Spanish colony (1493 - 1898) and current U.S. “territory” (1898 - present), and the linguistic practices found on the present-day island. Her research incorporates methods from linguistic anthropology, ethnography, variationist sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis in order to uncover the complex ideological roles inhabited by Spanish and English on the island, how islanders orient to these roles, and how they assert and construct their social identities through variable deployment of language in interaction.

Joseph Vellanal

'The Influence of Operating a Professional Learning Community on Principals’ Leadership Styles and Teachers’ Level of Efficacy'

Joseph Vellanal is a third year PhD candidate in the School of Education. He is funded by a TCD Studentship. His research explores the possibility of improving the leadership quality of principals and teacher-efficacy through leading and participating in professional learning communities (PLCs). His work aims at proposing a model of the learning environment that includes deep learning, democratic commitment, critical reflection, and collaborative responses to students’ learning needs. Prior to beginning the PhD programme, Joseph worked as a principal in a senior secondary school in North India.

Nicole Volmering

Nicole Volmering

Religious Writing in Ireland, 800-1630: The Transmission and Reception of the 'Félire Óengusso'

Nicole is an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Irish and Celtic Languages. Her research focuses on the Félire Óengusso (‘Martyrology or Calendar of Óengus’), an Old Irish text commemorating the saints. This unique martyrology, which was composed in verse in the early ninth century, was copied over a period of more than eight hundred years, but is largely preserved in late medieval and early modern manuscripts. The project includes a new critical edition of the text as well as a comprehensive study of the transmission and reception of the text during this period through an examination of the individual manuscript witnesses. Nicole previously held the De Finibus Postgraduate Scholarship at University College Cork and an O'Donovan Scholarship at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Further information about her research can be obtained here

Joanna Rzepa

Joanna Rzepa

'The Holocaust and the Politics of Translation'

Joanna Rzepa is an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies. Her research project seeks to evaluate the importance of translation in the creation of a transnational and cross-cultural memory of the Holocaust. Before coming to Trinity, Joanna was an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick. She received her PhD from the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick.

Martin StickerMartin Sticker

'Kant and Moral Demandingness'

Martin is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy. His research interest is the role of the pre-philosophical perspective for academic philosophy as well as the role that philosophy can play in turn for non-philosophers. Many philosophers believe that an ethical theory which demands that, for the sake of morality, its followers give up almost everything that makes their life worth living cannot be correct. This Over-Demandingness Objection is usually levelled against theories that evaluate actions based on consequences. Recently, philosophers have started to debate the potential over-demandingness of other theories. Martin aims to produce the first extensive and thorough discussion of this with regard to Kantianism, one of the most important non-consequentialist theories. Kant's aim is to systematize and ground common sense moral prescriptions. His project is thus also an enquiry into how demanding everyday morality is and should be. 

Sonja Heppner


'Procedural Transparency in Investor-State Arbitration'

Sonja is a PhD candidate in the School of Law and an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar. Her research examines a right of public access to investor-state arbitration through the prism of constitutional law and legal theory. Sonja holds an undergraduate law degree from the University of Hamburg and an LLM from Trinity College Dublin, where she received the 2014 American Arbitration Association/Rory Brady Memorial Prize for Excellence in International Conflict Management. In 2016/2017, she spent five months as a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, where she conducted research on a right of public access under the constitutions of the world.

Zheyu Wei

Zheyu Wei

'Post-Cold War Experimental Theatre of China'

Wei Zheyu received his B. A. in Sun Yat-sen University and his M. A. in Nanjing University, both in English Language and Literature. Co-funded by Trinity College Dublin and Chinese Scholarship Council, he is currently a PhD student in Department of Drama in TCD. His doctoral research offers a study of contemporary Chinese spoken drama, especially experimental theatre, in relation to globalisation, consumerism and interculturalism.


Funding Bodies

Ireland EU Structural Funds Programmes 2007 – 2013, European Regional Development Fund, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, HEA, Trinity College Dublin, and

Last updated 1 February 2017 by Trinity Long Room Hub (Email) .