News & Events

Aston University and Örebro University Joint Event

Integrating refugees moving beyond the migration crisis: Are we building a new society?

Monday, 22 May 2017
Room MB375

9:30 am - Welcome by the Vice Chancellor of Aston University
Public Lecture by Dr. Emma Arneback, Örebro University
Anti-Racist Education in a time of Migration

10.00-10.30 - Public Lecture by Amanda Russell Beattie, Aston University
Families, Children & Mobility Politics:
Attending to child voice in the 2012 Family Immigration Rules (UK)

10.30-11.00 - Questions and Answers

11.00-13.00 - Roundtable: the View from Practitioners
Helen Clare, City of Sanctuary Committee
Lea Fanara, Support Worker, Ashley Community & Housing
Shari Brown, Project Coordinator, Restore Project, Birmingham
David Hirst, Refugee and Migrant Support Practitioner, Birmingham Community Housing Network
Haliima Ali, Ashley Community and Housing

13.00 -14.00 - Buffet lunch for all participants

All welcome.
Please contact lss_researchsupport@aston.ac.uk if you would like to attend.

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Day at Aston

Saturday March 18th 2017

Plenary talks:
Peeter Mehisto  (University College London Institute of Education) - Getting concrete with CLIL

Judith Woodfield  (Head teacher, Bordesley Green Girls School) - How Content and Language Integrated Teaching Can Halt the Decline of Languages in Schools

Elisabeth Wielander (Aston University) - Something to talk about: Integrating content and language in tertiary education

Workshop with Peeter Mehisto - Scaffolding through the unavoidable gateway of short-term memory: A CLIL essential

Show and Tell Event

9.30-10.00     Registration
10.00-11.00    Welcome and Peeter Mehisto
11.00-11.30    Coffee
11.30-12.15    Judith Woodfield
12.15-13.00    Elisabeth Wielander
13.00-13.45    Lunch
13.45-14.45    Workshop with Peeter Mehisto
14.45-15.30    Show and Tell 1
15.30-16.00    Coffee
16.00-16.45     Show and Tell 2
16.45-17.00    Closing

Register to reserve your free place at this event

'Narrating the Crisis' Workshop

CLaRA Workshop: Narrating the Crisis Programme

English spoken: The position of English in Brussels

Tuesday 30th May 2017, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles

With the support of SESLA (Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles), CLaRA (Aston University), BRIO, Brussels Studies Institute.

English in Brussels Partner Logos

Event Description:

Located in a Germanic dialectal area as attested by all historical toponyms, Brussels has known over the centuries an increasing influence of French that culminated in the 19th century when French became de facto the language of the newly funded Belgian state. That state of affairs discriminated against speakers of Dutch dialects, which led to claims for linguistic equality that is still being pursued through the reforms of the Belgian State. Since 1989, Brussels is officially bilingual (French-Dutch). However this status does not reflect the linguistic diversity of the capital city where over 100 languages are spoken according to the latest “Taalbarometer” (Janssens 2013) nor the influence of English that is the second best known language after French.

The presence of English as a world language is well documented in metropolises but it may have found in Brussels a very fertile ground due to the presence of EU- and international institutions but also due to its increasing instrumental value as a lingua franca between French- and Dutch-speaking Belgians.

Call for Papers:
Yet, the position of English in Brussels is under-documented and the first aim of this research day is to offer a better overview of the prevalence and functions of English in Brussels. More specifically, the following questions among many others could be discussed:

  • In what domains – for instance business, advertisement, (higher) education, the media… - is English used in Brussels?
  • Is the use of English widespread or restricted to specific geographical areas?
  • Where and how is English visible in Brussels? How prevalent is it in the linguistic landscape? What is its share in the local media?
  • Among which groups is it used? Is it the prerogative of highly educated expats or is it reaching other parts of the population such as recent migrants? Could it become an intra-national lingua franca between Dutch- and French-speakers?
  • What are the attitudes towards English? Is it welcome as a prestige marker or a useful neutral lingua franca or is it resented as a foreign influence?
  • What are the characteristics of the English spoken in Brussels? Is it a foreign language relying on British or American norms or is it turning into a second language with local features as may be the case in EU institutions and their ‘Euro-Speak’? Could the recent Brexit influence the future of English in Brussels?

The research day is primarily intended to facilitate cross-disciplinary discussions as a starting point for a large scale research project on English in Brussels.

Proposals of 400 words (+ references) for 20-minute papers (+ 10 minutes discussion) are invited by 5th March 2017 through Easy Abstracts: https://easychair.org/cfp/ESB1

Register for the conference at out the booking page

Further Information:
Languages of the research day: Dutch, English, French with written support in one of the other two languages.

Organisers: Emmanuelle Labeau (Aston University, Birmingham, UK) and Rudi Janssens (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, B)



● Four disciplines ● One topic ●

The Discourse and Culture Group invite you to a one day colloquium, which explores the different ways in which disciplines – such as linguistics, sociology, politics, management and organizational studies - use discourse analysis in analysing research data. The main purpose of the event is to see whether or not synergies can be found between different methodologies used in the distinct disciplines, and to propose a way forward in developing a new, interdisciplinary perspective. 

During the colloquium attendees will have an opportunity to hear our four distinguished speakers’ take on discourse analysis, but also to ‘bring and share’ their own data or research ideas for a discussion about possible methodological approaches. 

The event is free to attend but places are limited. Please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/new-approaches-to-discourse-across-disciplines-tickets-29276391475 

Urszula Clark Presentation 

Urszula Clark gave a presentation called: ‘Teaching Grammar: where do we go from here?’ as part of Cambridge Assessment’s Aspects of Writing seminar on 30th November 2016 held at the British Academy, London. The purpose of the seminar was to launch the findings of the Aspects of Writing project, a longitudinal study that compares language change and use in GCSE students’ creative writing from 1980 to 2014 in England. The seminar was held in front of an invited audience of academics, journalists, policy makers, examination board representatives and teachers and over 900 people followed the event live on the day. It was also reported on in The Times on 2nd December.   

Information on the event, including videos of all presentations, can be found here.

Can Languages Have an "Afterlife"? 

Symposium at Aston University in Birmingham, December 7th 2016

Language shift is rarely a wholesale abandonment of a language by its speakers but a complex process normally taking place over two to three generations. In some cases language shift can lead to the development of successor lects. During the 19th century, for example, Romani speakers in the process of shift to English consciously retained a repository of words and phrases to be implemented into their English, thus forming a distinct variety of English called Anglo Romani. Another language where a conscious preservation of at least a repository and the development of successor lects took place during a process of shift is Western Yiddish in contact with Dutch and German in the first four decades of the 20th century. Funded by the British Academy a one day symposium will take place on December 7th (10 am to 4 pm) at Aston University in Birmingham.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Sarah Bunin Benor (Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles)
  • Yaron Matras (University of Manchester)
  • Anne Pauwels (SOAS, London)
  • Jakob Wiedner (University of Oslo)

The event is free of charge. Please register by 15/11/2016 under:  lss_researchsupport@aston.ac.uk

Professional Development Course in Teaching English for Academic Purposes
1st – 12th August 2016

Have you recently started teaching EAP? Or are you thinking of moving into EAP? Or would you perhaps like to enhance your existing EAP skills teaching, and network with like-minded professionals?

If you would like to learn more about Teaching English for Academic Purposes, this is the course for you!

Our 2-week full-time introductory course, led by experienced teacher trainers, will give you the opportunity to:
gain insights into EAP approaches, principles and practices

  • observe live lessons delivered by experienced EAP teachers
  • design and evaluate EAP materials and assessments
  • experience and reflect on teaching EAP through micro-teaching.

Assessed by: a group presentation and an individual portfolio of work

Award: Aston Module Achievement, 10 credits

Fee: £890 (discounts available for group bookings)

To book your place, click on the link to the booking form.

For further information, contact Kate Wakeman: c.wakeman@aston.ac.uk +44 (0) 121 204 5450

Language, Literacy and Identity: Your Thoughts

The blog for the recent Language, Literacy and Identity International Conference that was held on 1st - 2nd July 2016 can be found here.

Webinar with Dr Branca Visnjic

April 20th, 2016 at 3 pm
Title : Language analysis tools for international researchers
The aim of this CPD session is to help international researchers become more successful in their academic article and presentation paper writing.
It will cover some useful tips for international researchers who are planning to write their first articles in any academic field, and who may need some support with English grammar and vocabulary. The presenter, Dr Branka Visnjic, will explain how they can use some free online tools to improve their proofreading skills so as to feel more confident in their academic writing.

Interactive workshop with Dr Nathan Page

Wednesday May 4th  3.30 – 4.30 pm
Title : Addressing English as a Lingua Franca in Language Teaching Theory and Practice: Challenges and Opportunities