• Northlands Road, Magee Campus

    BT48 7JL Londonderry

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile




Dr Philip McDermott is a senior lecturer in Sociology within the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences.

Philip teaches modules on the popular undergraduate programme in Sociology and currently acts as the year two tutor. He teaches an optional module on Media Sociology for year three and a core module, also for final year students, relating to dissertation preparation and research methods. His research specialisms are especially embedded in a core module on Contemporary Irish Society for second years. In 2018 he achieved Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

At postgraduate level he has regularly contributed to masters programmes including the MA in Museums and Cultural Heritage where he has disseminated his expertise to students in the area of identity, heritage and multiculturalism. For several years he lectured on the MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies, a programme of which he is a proud graduate.  

In addition, since 2021 he has taught Sociology of Health to year one and year two students within the Graduate Entry Medical School. This role has involved working with colleagues in the 'Patients, Populations and Society' strand and coordinating wider social science input.

Philip has produced several pedagogical reports and textbook materials utilising sociological ideas for the teaching of Youth Work (With Breda Friel). This was part of an ERASMUS Plus Programme (Youth Work and You) which developed online tools for Youth Workers relating to identity in diverse settings which are now used at universities across Ireland, Australia, Finland and Estonia.

More recently, he developed teaching aids on global business and the use of the English language which merged sociolinguistic thinking with anthropology and business. The outputs are now published as a text book chapter by Palgrave and used at several global business schools in Edinburgh, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. 

Philip has supervised four PhD researchers to completion (Friel, Harper, Stancombe-Taylor and Valderamma). He also acts as the external examiner for a range of Masters programmes in cultural studies at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.

He has also acted as an external PhD examiner for the Universities of Cardiff and Aberdeen. Philip has extensive internal examining experience at doctoral level across schools and units of assessment.  He has examined five final vivas and chaired several other examination panels within Ulster University.  


Philip’s research is concerned with the broad field of cultural identity and heritage. His work focuses specifically on the relationship between the state and the heritage of minority groups – especially linguistic and migrant minorities.

In 2021-2022, Philip was Ulster University's Distinguished Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. 

One key strand of Philip’s work is in the area of language policy and planning for (and by) migrant communities. He has a specific interest in the perception of migrant languages in public places, the ways that government and communities deal with such linguistic diversity and the manner in which multilingualism and bilingualism are dealt with in policy contexts. This work formed a central component of a highly-rated REF 2021 impact case study for the Modern Languages Unit of Assessment (Unit 26)

A second element of Philip’s research relates to concepts of heritage and identity in diverse settings. He has researched on the political dynamics of Derry’s year as UK City of Culture, and also on the context of heritage, migration and memory in Northern Ireland. 

Philip's research income totals circa £400,000. This includes from sources such as the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the National Trust and the Department for International Development to support his research. Recently he was the PI on an AHRC/Living Legacies-sponsored project on the dynamics of commemorating WWI amongst migrant communities living in Northern Ireland. He was also a Co Investigator and Work Package lead on a multi-tiered AHRC project on Museums, Crisis and Covid-19.

In addition to a single authored book on migrant community languages in Northern Ireland, Dr McDermott's work has also appeared in top-ranking international journals. These include:

  • English Today
  • Current Issues in Language Planning
  • Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
  • Ethnicities
  • Language Problems and Language Planning
  • Ethnopolitics
  • Anthropological Journal of European Cultures
  • Memory Studies.

He is the editor/co-editor of several collections including an edited book, four special journal editions, and a collection with the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation on the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Philip's articles have appeared in a range of edited volumes and handbooks published by Routledge, Lit Verlag, Manchester University Press, Sage, and Palgrave.

From 2015-16 he was the holder of a prestigious Charlemont Scholarship from the Royal Irish Academy. McDermott has also given keynote presentations for the British Association of Applied Linguistics (University College London), for the Cambridge Bilingualism network (University of Cambridge), the Finnish Learned Society /Youth Research Network (Helsinki), and the Irish Museum Association's Museums in the City conference (Belfast).

In recognition of his international esteem, Philip has also acted as an independent research expert and panel member for several awarding bodies including the European Commission, the National Academy of Poland and the Velux Foundation in Denmark. He has also reviewed for the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council. He acted as an independent expert on the Indylan project which developed mobile technologies for the teaching of indigenous languages in several regions of Europe. 

Philip's research continues to be impact-focused. He works closely with a number of NGOs representing ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland and was awarded a Breaking Barriers Award at the Northern Ireland Race Equality Awards in 2021. He was appointed, in a voluntary capacity, as policy and strategic planning advisor for the North West Migrants Forum in 2022. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, A Collective Analysis of Migrant Language Communities and Their Needs

Award Date: 10 Dec 2008

Master, Peace and Conflict Studies

Bachelor, Media Studies

External positions

Full Executive Board Member (voluntary), North West Migrants Forum

1 Nov 2023 → …

PhD External Examiner, School of Welsh, Cardiff University

Mar 2023 → …

External Examiner MSc Programme Cultural Studies, Heriot-Watt University

Jan 2023 → …

External International Expert in Social Sciences, NCN National Academy Poland

1 Dec 2022 → …

PhD External Examiner, School of Sociology, University of Aberdeen

May 2022 → …

External Revalidation Subject Expert Sociology, University of Huddersfield

1 Jun 202131 Jul 2021

Editor, Irish Journal of Sociology

1 Sept 2020 → …

External Independent Expert Advisor - INDYLAN -Mobile Virtual Learning for Indigenous Languages

Oct 2019Jan 2021

Editor Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

1 Jan 2018 → …

Independent Expert - Horizon 2020, European Commission

1 Jun 2017 → …

Charlemont Scholar, Royal Irish Academy, The Royal Irish Academy

1 Feb 201531 Jan 2016


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