Centre for Research in Language and Heritage

CREL | Centre for Research in Language and Heritage

The Centre for Research in Language and Heritage seeks to improve lives by better understanding what makes us human: our unique ability to speak, create societies and transform landscapes over time.

Centre Lead
Maria J Arche

Deputy Director, Institute of Inclusive Communities and Environments; Professor of Linguistics & Spanish; Lead of the Centre for Research & Enterprise in Language

Contact details


The ATLAS Think Language First manifesto launched at the House of Lords

Written with input from 60+ multidisciplinary scholars and stakeholders at a scientific meeting in Leiden, the ATLAS #ThinkLanguageFirst Manifesto has been endorsed by over 55 organisations.

About us: our vision

The Centre for Research in Language and Heritage (CREL) is founded on the view that a powerful way to address the world’s most complex social, economic and environmental challenges is through a better awareness and understanding of the things that make us humans. By exploring our unique ability to speak, to create texts, to build societies and shape landscapes – and how these and other practices may change over time and space, CREL’s world-leading, interdisciplinary researchers seek to construct a healthier, happier and more equal society.

We aim to:

  • Create and support a high-quality inclusive academic community, recruiting, mentoring and upskilling members at every stage of their career.
  • Foster multisectoral networks of researchers, stakeholders and policy advisors within and across centres at university, regional, national and international levels to increase opportunities for new funding and multidisciplinary publications.
  • Provide multidisciplinary, evidence-based responses of the highest quality, arising from rigorous specialised knowledge of linguistics, history and literature, and active collaboration in multisectoral networks.
  • Engage with professional organizations, NGOs, civil societies, policymakers, students, and local and central government to raise awareness about inequalities stemming from inadequate attention to different language needs and to the value of literary education and heritage.
  • Influence social structures, policy and our academic disciplines through rigorous and impactful research and knowledge exchange activities.

Our impact on the world

At CREL we posit that raising awareness of, and sensitivity to, language, literary creations and heritage can play a role in addressing many health, education and other challenges faced by societies in the UK and around the world. For instance, failure to support language needs affecting children and young people impacts their wellbeing and contributes to disengagement from education. Through literature and creative writing we can impact the conceptions about race, gender and ecology. Similarly, working to improve the relation between people, communities and their environments in the past and present through the uses of (in)tangible heritage can improve the inclusion of those communities, their health and wellbeing. Our research seeks to address such cultural blind spots, exploring new ways to exchange ideas and ensure that everyone is included in the conversations that shape societies and transform landscapes.

The Centre for Research in Language and Heritage seeks to contribute to many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key examples include:

  • Our work to raise awareness and improve the assessment of language needs – including a ground-breaking Manifesto for language needs, an Early Day Motion brought to the British Parliament in late 2023, which supports Good Health and Well-being (SDG3).
  • Our work on how to bridge the gap between linguistic theory and practice for those teaching pupils for whom English is an additional language, which supports Quality Education (SDG4).
  • Our research on how narratives can change perceptions about critical issues, including climate, ecology and labour, which supports Work (SDG8) and Climate Action (SDG13).
  • Our leadership in the Greenwich Heritage Network, an initiative that brings together researchers and communities to increase knowledge of our roots and explore the impacts on wellbeing from the ways heritage sites are used, which supports Reduced Inequality (SDG10).
  • Our projects on language abilities in young offenders, to bring inclusivity to the criminal justice system (EU COST Action Justice to Youth language needs) which supports Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG16).

Who we are

An interdisciplinary approach

The Centre for Research in Language and Heritage combines expertise from cognitive, health, education and social sciences (e.g., linguistics, psychology, speech and language therapy) with insights from the humanities, notably literature, creative writing, history and heritage practice. We see this highly interdisciplinary approach, where different voices are heard and new forms of research and engagement are co-produced, as the only way to respond to many complex issues. Regardless of specialism, however, all CREL members share the aim of addressing inequality and lack of inclusivity.


CREL researchers collaborate closely with a broad range of external partners, including the Royal College of Speech Therapists, the NHS, paediatricians and clinical networks. We also engage with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the Greenwich Heritage Trust, the Palestine Exploration Fund and the UK Punjab Heritage Association, among many other important local and national governmental and civil society organisations. Our academic partners include higher education institutions in the UK and around the world, including University College London, Birkbeck, SOAS, the University of Liverpool and the University of Amsterdam, as well as British Academy scholars. The work of the Centre for Research in Language and Heritage also benefits from an advisory board with expert input on language, literature and heritage.


The work of the Centre for Research in Language and Heritage is supported by EU Horizon, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, the Wellcome Trust and the National Army Museum and Commonwealth War Graves Commission, among others.

Teaching and training

CREL provides a range of external and internal teaching and training. We have recently launched a new course for undergraduates on Clinical Linguistics alongside our existing course on Foundation for Linguistics, which are core for those studying speech and language therapy. Among our Masters-level courses are MAs in Applied linguistics, Creative Writing and English: Literary London. An MA on Public history and heritage is under consideration.

We also offer statistics and quantitative methods training for postgraduate students and any member of staff. The Centre hosts the Science Practice Hub (SciPHub), founded in partnership with ILD in 2019. The SciPHub offers regular training on statistics, convenes science dialogues about key issues of methodology in research and captains the Open Science initiative of the ReproducibiliTea Club, which made the University of Greenwich part of the UK Reproducibility Network (a national peer-led consortium investigating the factors that contribute to robust research).

Externally, we are the leading partner with the University of Southampton for a postgraduate research Summer school on Multilingualism.

I’m excited by the opportunity to use interdisciplinary humanities to improve equality and inclusion, benefit communities and help transform the world.

- María J. Arche, Professor of Linguistics and Spanish, and Leader of the Centre for Research in Language and Heritage

International Summer School on Multilingualism 8–12 July 2024

This international summer school offers an immersive learning experience on multiple facets on multilingualism, facilitated by scholars internationally recognised, and the opportunity to access international networks.

Upcoming Events

Centre lead

Our experts

Dr Justine Baillie

Associate Professor

Mandy Barrie

PhD Researcher

Dr Laura Bowie

Senior Lecturer in Architectural Histories and Theories

Dr Victoria Carolan

Senior Lecturer

Dr Anna Costantino

Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Italian

Dr Emily Critchley

Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing

Dr Harry Derbyshire

Associate Professor English Literature and Drama

Simon Dye

Senior Lecturer

Chloe Emmott

PhD Researcher

Dr Claire Eustance

Senior Lecturer, History

Professor Andrew King

Professor of English Literature and Literary Studies

Dr Cécile Laval

Head of School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Vanessa Lemm

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean

John Leonida

PhD Researcher

Dr Sarah Ann Liszka

Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Language Acquisition

Dr Hélène Maloigne

Lecturer in History

Esther Mediero Durán

PhD Researcher

Dr John Morton

Associate Professor of English Literature

Dr Corinne Palmer-Brown

Academic Manager for English Language (CAROLE)

Dr Sara Pennell

Senior Lecturer

Professor Zoë Pettit

Deputy Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Professor of French and Translation Studies

Dr Caroline Rabourdin

Senior Lecturer in Architecture Histories and Theories

Dr Gavin Rand

Associate Professor of History

Sebastian Rose

PhD Researcher

Dr Cherry Smyth

Associate Professor in Creative & Critical Writing

Dr Fiona Snailham

Lecturer in English Literature

Ade Solanke

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Dr Katarina Stenke

Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-century Literature

Dr Michael Talbot

Associate Professor in the History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Middle East

Dr Vanessa Taylor

Senior Lecturer in Environmental History

Bob Tsukada Bright

Senior Lecturer

Professor Paul Vlitos

Academic Portfolio Lead, Creative Writing

Dr Christopher Ware

Senior Lecturer

Dr Daniel Weston

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Nancy Wong

Research & Knowledge Exchange Officer; Grant Holder Manager Y-Lang Project

Dr Jennifer Young

Senior Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature

Dr Rosie Šnajdr

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing