Professor Emma Cayley

Nominated for Best Supervisor (Research)

Active and inspiring research

Name Professor Emma Cayley


Head of Modern Languages and Associate Professor of Medieval French

College College of Humanities

Active research

Emma’s research focuses on Fourteenth and Fifteenth Century French poetry of the French court. Emma is also working on a collaborative project with Antenna International to create an iPad app; ‘The Exeter Manuscripts Project’, which aims to introduce young people to medieval manuscripts.

“I think it’s really important that research reaches out and affects the wider community, and that the things that we do don’t just stay within the academy… the wider public should be actually interested and inspired by the things that we do.” Emma often works with local primary schools; enabling children to have access to medieval books and lightly engage with academic research.

Engaging and supporting students

Mentoring of undergraduates and postgraduate students through their research and learning is a high priority at the University. Emma believes that the qualities of a good supportive staff member include the ability “to listen… and to understand [student] needs, because all research students are different… It’s offering support… giving good advice, and also not being too directive… understanding their ideas and trying to inspire them where possible to go off and perhaps look at different aspects.”

Multi-disciplinary work

Multi-disciplinary learning has come to the forefront of the University’s aims for education, through programmes such as Flexible Combined Honours. Emma describes it as “an interdisciplinary programme whereby students can choose from a range of different modules and disciplines from across the University. It’s a brilliant programme because students can essentially tailor it to meet their particular interests.”

An interdisciplinary approach to learning is “incredibly valuable… I don’t think that with just one approach, you can possibly hope to tackle a problem from all of its complex angles.” The Modern Languages Department teaches across a range of different languages and cultures, and a range of different disciplines.

Aim 3: Research-inspired, inquiry-led learning

To extend the opportunities for students to learn in innovative ways through their own research and inquiry

Actively engaging students with their studies

"I try to engage students with original sources, so I take them out of the classroom..."

Active research to inspire students

“It's really important to have a group of leading researchers who are all at the cutting edge of their fields..."