Published on 14/09/2023
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A white male police detective talks to a suspect in a drug trafficking case who is sitting in an interrogation room in handcuffs
  • Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics event will feature acted scenes, accessible talks and practical hands-on activities
  • It will explore some of the ways in which an understanding of language can be put to use in addressing issues of justice
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) event is an annual, UK-wide, free celebration of the social sciences.

Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics is set to host an event as part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC’s) Festival of Social Science.

Writing Wrongs: Using Language Analysis to Improve Access to Justice will take place at The Lock Up, West Midlands Police Museum, Steelhouse Lane in Birmingham on Sunday 29 October.

The immersive event will feature acted scenes, accessible talks and practical hands-on activities that will give attendees the opportunity to explore some of the ways in which an understanding of language can be used in addressing issues of justice.

The day’s activities will revolve around the legislation, commission, investigation and prosecution of an instance of a language crime, namely the sending of a grossly offensive message in contravention of the Communications Act 2003 with talks from members of the Institute’s director Professor Tim Grant and research team members Dr Nicci MacLeod, Dr Tahmineh Tayebi, Dr Annina Heini and Dr Felicity Deamer.

Participants will have the opportunity to critique the complexities of legal language, debate the meaning of ‘grossly offensive’, engage in authorship analysis (‘who wrote this text?’), evaluate police interview practice, take part in the examination of a witness in court and finally deliberate and deliver a verdict.

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is an annual, UK-wide, free celebration of the social sciences. It consists of a series of events run each autumn, delivered by ESRC’s ‘festival partners’, higher education institutions spread across the UK. Events range from exhibitions, lectures and panel debates through to performances, guided walks and workshops and is an opportunity for anyone to explore topics from health and wellbeing to crime, equality, education and identity, through events run by researchers from UK universities.

Dr Nicci MacLeod, senior lecturer in forensic linguistics and programme director for the MA in Forensic Linguistics at Aston University, said:

“In the pursuit of justice, words hold immense power. 

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to this event where we delve into the heart of language analysis, illuminating pathways to a fairer legal system. 

“It is open to anyone over the age of 16, but particularly suited to 16 to 18-year-olds who may be considering studying English or linguistics at university.

“Together, we'll dissect, debate and deliberate, empowering the next generation of linguists and legal minds.

“Don’t miss this opportunity to put your language detective skills to the test, join us to Write some Wrongs!

You can sign up to place here.
 

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7446 910063 or email: s.cook2@aston.ac.uk

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