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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles




Elena completed a Ph.D. in women’s studies, comparative literature and folklore in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, Italian Section, in co-supervision with the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Department. In 2014, she obtained an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to attend the Master’s programme Crossways in Cultural Narratives. Prior to that, she secured a scholarship for a research training in Reception and Translation Studies at the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies ULICES.

Before coming to Cambridge, she was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach Italian language and culture in the United States. Her PhD project was funded by an AHRC scholarship and the University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Award. Her research on women’s studies, comparative literature, folklore, intermedia studies and creative approaches to language learning has featured in several international peer-reviewed journals.




Elena’s PhD project explores how the collection of folk and fairy-tale narratives was influenced by nineteenth-century ideologies, cultural identities and linguistic thought by focusing on the works of women writers and folktale collectors who worked in, and were inspired by, insular contexts. As such, her research is tied to socially and culturally relevant dimensions, such as women’s studies, the history of linguistic thought, the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, regional versus national identities, and creative storytelling.

Research interests: Women’s studies; Comparative literature; Folklore and fairy-tale studies; Interdisciplinary approaches to nineteenth-century and twentieth-century studies; Children’s literature; Film and adaptation studies; Intercultural communication; Language teaching methodologies


Other Professional Activities


  • Postgraduate Session Leader (Postgraduate Outreach Scheme of the University of Cambridge);
  • HE+ Lecturer for the Higher Education HE+ Lecture Series;
  • Ph.D. Tutor for The Brilliant Club Scholars Programme, an award-winning university access charity that recruits doctoral researchers to share their academic expertise in UK-state schools with pupils from underrepresented backgrounds.
Faculty: Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, Italian Section
Supervisors: Prof. Helena Sanson, Prof. Paul Russell
College: St. Catharine's College
AHRC subject area: Languages and Literature
Title of thesis: Women Writing Folklore: Politics of Folk and Fairy-tale Collections from Italian and Irish Islands (1870-1920)