I have an MA in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh (1992), and a PhD in phonetics from Newcastle University (1998). I have held teaching positions in phonetics/phonology, sociolinguistics and English language at a variety of universities in the UK and in Germany, and since 2007 have been Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, in Forensic Speech Science at the University of York. I act on a part-time basis as a forensic consultant for JP French Associates, the UK's oldest and largest commercial forensic speech and audio laboratory, and am regularly invited to contribute to TV and radio productions on topics in speech, language, and forensic science.
My research interests are in forensic linguistics and phonetics, speech production and perception, language and identity studies, sociophonetics, language and the law, and dialectology. I have published books, book chapters and journal articles in all of these fields. Major publications include 'Language and Identities' (Edinburgh University Press, with Carmen Llamas, 2010), 'Language, Borders and Identity' (Edinburgh University Press, with Carmen Llamas, 2014), 'English Accents and Dialects' (Hodder Education, with Arthur Hughes and Peter Trudgill, 2012) and 'The Handbook of Dialectology' (Wiley-Blackwell, with Charles Boberg and John Nerbonne, 2018).
I was Principal Investigator on the Economic and Social Research Council-funded project 'Accent and Identity on the Scottish/English Border (AISEB)' project (with Carmen Llamas and Gerry Docherty, 2008-11, RES-062-23-0525), and with Carmen Llamas and Peter French was Co-Investigator on 'The use and utility of localised speech forms in determining identity: Forensic and sociophonetic perspectives (TUULS)' (2016-19, ESRC ES/M010783/1). I am currently Co-Investigator on 'Accent Bias and Fair Access in Britain (ABB)' (2017-20, ESRC award ES/P007767/1; see accentbiasbritain.org).
I am a member of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics, for which I served as chair of the Research Committee, and of the British Association of Academic Phoneticians. I am a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law and a regular article reviewer for a range of high-impact journals in forensic phonetics/linguistics, sociolinguistics, and social psychology, as well as for UK and international research funding bodies and publishing companies. I was a member of the Home Office Forensic Science Regulator's working group on drafting ISO 17025-compliant professional practice guidelines in forensic speech and audio analysis and am currently a member of the UK Economic and Social Research Council's Peer Review College for linguistics and phonetics.