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Dr Sarah Cox

Profile summary

Professional biography

Sarah is a Research Fellow within the Faculty for Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies at The Open University in Scotland. She has a background in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), refugee integration, language education and multilingualism. Before coming to the OU, Sarah worked as a senior manager in the third sector where she led a range of ESOL and integration projects.

In 2021, she completed her PhD in Language Ecologies with the UNESCO Chair Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow. Sarah’s PhD was an interdisciplinary study which drew on applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, human geography and intercultural communication to explore the gap between policy, practice and academic literature within language learning for refugees in Scotland. Her research focused on the development of an ecological, multilingual approach to language learning by working collaboratively with women who had recently arrived in Glasgow through the British Red Cross Family Reunion Integration Service. She is interested in decolonising, participatory approaches to research and language education.

Sarah is currently a Co-investigator on the Interpreting in Migration Crises: A Case Study of Syrian Refugees in Turkey project. She is also developing research projects on language education for refugees and migrants.

Research interests

  • Refugee integration
  • ESOL
  • Language ecologies
  • Multilingualism
  • Translanguaging
  • Decolonising, participatory approaches
  • Language policy


Language learning for refugee women in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: Restorative pedagogies for integrating to place—Perspectives from Scotland (2022)
Cox, Sarah; Phipps, Alison and Hirsu, Lavinia
Frontiers in Communication, 7, Article 982813

An ecological, multilingual approach to language learning with newly reunited refugee families in Scotland (2022)
Cox, Sarah and Phipps, Alison
International Journal of Educational Research, 115, Article 101967

Can an Ecological, Multilingual Approach Help Us to Better Support Reunited Refugee Families in Scotland with Language Learning? (2021)
Cox, Sarah
Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition, 6(2) (pp. 11-34)

Meeting the Needs of Reunited Refugee Families: An Ecological, Multilingual Approach to Language Learning (2023-11-14)
Cox, Sarah
Researching Multilingually
ISBN : 9781800414594 | Publisher : Multilingual Matters | Published : Bristol, UK

Supporting Refugee Families in Scotland Through an Ecological, Multilingual Approach to Language Learning (2022)
Cox, Sarah
In: Levine, Glenn S. and Mallows, David eds. Language Learning of Adult Migrants in Europe: Theoretical, Empirical, and Pedagogical Issues. Educational Linguistics (pp. 197-218)
ISBN : 978-3-030-79237-4 | Publisher : Springer