Centre for Research and Enterprise in Language


CREL runs regular events through two main knowledge-exchange and training clusters: the Narratives and Linguistics Series, as well as running international conferences

25 January 2023 - Language Analysis for Determination of Origin (LADO): Is it a gatekeeper?

Dr Mohammed Ateek, University of Leicester

With discussions from Dr Elena Vacchelli, Centre for Applied Sociology and Dr Erika Kalocsányiová, Centre for Thinking & Learning & CREL, University of Greenwich

The issue of Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin (LADO) has been well documented in linguistic research over the last decade (Eades et al. 2003; Maryns 2004; Spotti and Detailleur 2011; McNamara, Van Den Hazelkamp and Verrips 2016). LADO is used by immigration departments in different countries, including the United Kingdom, to assist in identifying an asylum seeker’s place of origin or nationality. This is often used in cases where asylum seekers lack valid identification documents through which their origin or identity can be verified, or when there are doubts about the validity of those documents. Research on LADO have shown the pitfalls of the language test, but the relevant literature lacks research on the asylum seekers’ experiences with LADO. In this talk, Mohammed will discuss asylum seekers’ views and experiences with LADO based on his research with them. Mohammed will also show how LADO is used as a gatekeeper by the Home Office based on his investigation with the Guardian on this issue.

About the speakers
Dr Mohammed Ateek is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Language Education at the University of Leicester. Mohammed came to the UK in 2013 to complete his PhD in Applied Linguistics and TESOL after fleeing the war in Syria. As a refugee academic and social justice activist, his research focuses on language and migration, language and identity, linguistic issues affecting refugees and migrants, minority language education and others. Mohammed has also worked as a TV journalist and was involved in making different investigatory reports on international contemporary stories, as well as researching emerging news stories.

Dr Elena Vacchelli is an Associate Professor in Gender & Migration at the University of Greenwich. Elena's teaching and research interests include migration, diversity and social inequality; gender and space; embodiment; art-based and digital research methodologies.

Dr Erika Kalocsányiová is a Research Fellow with the Institute for Lifecourse Development, at the University of Greenwich. Her research focuses primarily on displaced and refugee students' transitioning and re-integration into higher education.

6 December 2022 - Poetry Reading: If the River is Hidden

Dr Cherry Smyth, Associate Professor Creative & Critical Writing

If the River is Hidden (époque press, 2022) reflects the shape of Northern Ireland’s River Bann in a hybrid, prose and poetry form: long, sinewy poems are bridged by a lyric essay. This hybridity speaks to the third space emerging in the North, as well as how belonging starts with the words we inherit.

What is hidden? The pagan past and its associations with An Bhanna, the Goddess; the Mesolithic treasures offered to the river; histories of sectarianism and division in towns on the river’s course; the pollutants destroying the ecology of the Bann; and how blood belonging streams through us, even if we no longer live in the North of Ireland, or never did.

‘If the river is hidden

So is what enters it.’

About the speaker
Cherry is an Irish writer, living in London. Her first two poetry collections, When the Lights Go Up, 2001 and One Wanted Thing, 2006 were published by Lagan Press. Her third collection, Test, Orange, 2012, and fourth, Famished, 2019 were published by Pindrop Press. Her debut novel, Hold Still, Holland Park Press, appeared in 2013. Famished tours as a performance in collaboration with vocalist Lauren Kinsella and composer Ed Bennett. Cherry was nominated as a Fellow for the Royal Society of Literature in 2022 and is also a Hawthornden Fellow. She is Associate Professor in Creative & Critical Writing at the University of Greenwich.

13 October 2022 - Practitioner Research, Teacher Education and Ethics: Do they Matter? And Why?

Dr Inés Kayon de Miller, PUC-Rio, Brazil

In this talk, I will draw on ethical issues arising from my own experience as a practitioner researcher and as a teacher educator. I will illustrate the work of Exploratory Practice, a modality of practitioner research developed in initial and continuing teacher and learner development in Brazilian universities, language institutes, and private and public sector schools. Working within this practitioner research framework, practitioners collectively engage in understanding their local issues by integrating research into their regular academic/professional activities. I will also address some of the ethical challenges faced by practitioners who have been working to bring together practitioners and academic research.

About the speaker
Dr Inés K. Miller is an Assistant Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Brazil. She is involved in English language teaching and teacher education and development at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her research interests focus on the discourse of professional reflection generated by learners, teachers, teacher educators and consultants. As a core member of the Rio Exploratory Practice Group, she co-mentors the exploratory practitioners who engage in developing and disseminating Exploratory Practice. She is widely published in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections nationally and internationally.

12 October 2022 - Why Litter? The evils of abundance demonstrated by paper re-use in the long eighteenth century

Dr Amélie Junqua, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France

Thoughtlessly discarding whatever is considered as refuse comes as second nature nowadays, as attested by the myriad materials dumped on streets, or washed ashore on the world’s beaches. The impulse to litter seems to be analogous to the way some animals leave by-products of their food consumption in the wild.
Perhaps this might the reason why human campaigns promoting recycling and a more responsible behaviour never succeed, whether on the individual or collective scale – there will always be a lazy idiot to litter a pristine nature reserve, a city council to turn a blind eye to an unauthorized dumping ground, and an oil company to hire an unseaworthy tanker.
Looking towards the past may provide some further explanations for this failure. Studying the generation, re-use and circulation of one material which was considered “waste” in eighteenth-century England, i.e. paper, offers an insight into far more potent motivations to recycle. Scarcity, want and thrift appear to be the mothers of invention. The now unimaginable creativity displayed by paper users -- servants, housewives, surgeons, scientists, street-sweepers and thieves, as well as men of letters – will be contrasted with the neglect displayed by mid-nineteenth-century consumers of cheaper, and abundant machine-made paper.

About the speaker
Dr Amélie Junqua is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Language at the Université de Picardie Jules Verne. Her research interests lie in British literary, material and cultural history of eighteenth century. Dr Junqua’s published work includes edited essays collections, book chapters and journal articles on topics including the career and writings of Joseph Addison, eighteenth-century periodicals and the history of re-use and recycling.

15 July 2022 - Silvina Montrul, Multilingualism Summer School Open Lecture

Supporting Heritage Language Acquisition When it Matters Most

Heritage language acquisition is concerned with the developmental stages and outcome of learning a minority language as a first but secondary language in a bilingual context from childhood to adulthood, as well as the wax and wane of the heritage language in response to input factors. Most studies of heritage languages focus on adults, who are unbalanced bilinguals with stronger command of the majority language than of the heritage language, because the heritage language exhibits systematic differences in vocabulary, morphological knowledge and in certain discourse-pragmatic interfaces compared to baseline speakers. In this talk, I focus on recent studies of Spanish and other languages in school-age heritage speakers, because it is during late childhood and adolescence that input decreases substantially with effects in the still developing linguistic system. I will show that many of the apparent grammatical differences found in young adult heritage speakers can be traced back to protracted development in childhood. Two important factors that can be observed with this age group are the roles of parental input in heritage language development and of academic support of the heritage language. The emerging conclusions from recent studies are that 1) there is little relationship between the language of the parents and the patterns that emerge in the heritage language children, and 2) academic support of the heritage language during the entire school-age period is critical to maintain and develop the language to achieve fluent bilingualism.

Professor Silvina Montrul completed her undergraduate university education in Argentina and received a Masters in English from the University of Cincinnati and a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Professor Montrul is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois. In 2010 she founded the University Language Academy for Children, an after school and summer camp Spanish program for 4–16-year-old children, which she directed until 2018. Professor Montrul’s research interests include second language acquisition, bilingualism and heritage language acquisition.

30 March 2022 - Mathematics, Memetics & Artificial Intelligence: An Exploration through Performance | Dr Neil Saunders

Artificial Intelligence has become a major focal point for so much research in mathematics, science, linguistics and the arts. But what does it mean for a computer to be genuinely intelligent? Does it even make sense to talk about computers in these terms? When we start to try and answer these questions, we are drawn to more fundamental questions around how our own human understanding arises and how it works. This talk will explore ideas of human and artificial intelligence from a range of viewpoints: philosophical, mathematical, artistic and memetic. Drawing on recent and historical work of Dennett, Searle and Seth and with selected readings from David Harrower’s powerful play Knives in Hens by professional actors Bryony Miller and David Young, this talk will explore how language is central to intelligence and understanding, whether that be human or artificial.

Neil Saunders is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics and part of the Steering Group of CREL at the University of Greenwich. His research focuses on geometric and combinatorial aspects of representation theory, and language and the philosophy of mind. Neil has presented on the syntax and semantics of mathematics and the relations between form and meaning.

Bryony Miller is an actor from Leeds, trained at the National Youth Theatre and Manchester School of Theatre. She plays a principal role in Ben Wheatley's film adaptation of Rebecca and appears in 3 episodes of Netflix series Cursed. She worked with prolific director Mike Leigh on his most recent feature film, Peterloo, playing Bessie. Most recently, Bryony filmed the role of Tonya in the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 and performed a one-woman show, Everything, for the Arcola Theatre.

David Young graduated from Lamda in 2014 and went straight into two UK tours. The History Boys by Allan Bennett and Single Spies, also by Allan Bennett. (He promises he can do more than just Bennett.) In 2019 he made his West End debut opposite Clive Owen and Anna Gunn in The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams. He’s also a writer and is currently in the process of selling his first feature film The Lost Boys based on JM Barrie’s Peter Pan

Guests may wish to read the following articles:

'A Perfect and Beautiful Machine': What Darwin's Theory of Evolution Reveals About Artificial Intelligence

How language helps us think - Ray Jackendoff

09 March 2022 - A psycholinguistic study on bilingual speech recognition

Dr Siyu Chen

Dr Siyu Chen obtained her PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Greenwich in 2021 and very quickly got hired as a data scientist at the renowned firm Ernst & Young. She continues developing her research career in psycholinguistics and has already published in highly regarded venues.

The processing of lexical tone in bilingual speech recognition: the case of Chinese-English bilinguals.

Whilst many studies have shown that bilinguals automatically activate the lexicons of both languages during word recognition, how activation is mediated by lexical tone has rarely been considered. In this talk I will present a study developed for my PhD dissertation, where we used a visual-world eye-tracking paradigm to explore the effect of lexical tone on Chinese-English bilingual cross-language activation in spoken word recognition. Results show automatic activation of the first language phonological equivalents in the processing of a second language, which is in line with previous findings that bilingual spoken word recognition is language non-selective. Importantly, the difference in both target and competitor fixation between condition shows that the lexical tone of the first language is accessed during the processing of a non-tonal second language, and modulates cross-language lexical activation.

27 October 2021 - Transnational Narratives, Writing across borders in 19th-century Europe

Dr Laura Kirkley (University of Newcastle), Dr Marianne Van Remoortel (University of Ghent) and Dr Stefan Huygebaert (University of Ghent)

Featuring presentations by Dr Laura Kirkley (University of Newcastle), Dr Marianne Van Remoortel (University of Ghent) and Dr Stefan Huygebaert (University of Ghent) for a panel exploring transnational crossings, cosmopolitanism and translation across cultures in nineteenth-century Europe.

Revealing the nuanced and distinctively gendered cosmopolitanism of nineteenth-century feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (Kirkley), and mapping nineteenth-century translations of ‘The Sculptor of Bruges’ from its Flemish origins to its reincarnations within the British print market (Van Remoortel and Huygebaert), these papers will invite us to consider what the past can tell us about the challenges and possibilities of border-crossings, be they national, linguistic or cultural.


Dr Laura Kirkley

“Wollstonecraft's 'Ardent Affection for the Human Race': the cosmopolitan ethic of caring in Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark”

This paper is taken from my book, Mary Wollstonecraft: Cosmopolitan, which shines a light on Wollstonecraft's transnationalism and argues that her works are shaped by her rejection of national allegiances and ethical commitment to philanthropy, in its root sense of 'love of humankind.' Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (1795) has a philanthropic ethos derived from an erotic source: the cycle of letters between Wollstonecraft and her wayward lover, Gilbert Imlay. I demonstrate that she depicts her intimate affections for Imlay and their daughter as wellsprings of philanthropic love for a broader transnational community. Moreover, Wollstonecraft identifies her personal suffering with that of female outsiders from otherwise alien cultures, constructing an epistolary voice that is at once compassionate and distinctively gendered, wholly unlike the lazy stereotype of the eighteenth-century elitist touting a totalising and detached universalism. Through imaginative and practical engagement with foreign and distant others, the letter-writer of Short Residence embodies a cosmopolitan ‘ethic of caring,’ a philanthropic commitment to the well-being of others that stems from sentiment but can be reconciled with the principles of justice.

Dr Laura Kirkley is a Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century at Newcastle University. She is a comparatist with expertise in French and English women's writing and translation in the Revolutionary era, especially the works of Mary Wollstonecraft. Her monograph, Mary Wollstonecraft: Cosmopolitan, will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2022. Her new research project focuses on the cosmopolitanism of Germaine de Staël, Mary Shelley, and other women novelists contending with an age of rising nationalism. She is also part of the team behind The Gothic Women Project, which is running an online seminar series to showcase new strands of research on 'Gothic Women', in particular how they challenge mainstream narratives of gender, sexuality, race and nationhood in times of crisis.

Marianne Van Remoortel and Stefan Huygebaert

“From picturesque anecdote to viral story: the many lives of the ‘Sculptor of Bruges’”

The ‘Sculptor of Bruges’ is a popular story first published in Belgium in French in 1837. It was originally conceived by a local archivist, Joseph Octave Delepierre, as an anecdote explaining the origin of a monumental mantelpiece in the aldermen’s chamber of the mansion of the Liberty of Bruges. According to the anecdote, the creator was a sixteenth-century artist named André wrongfully convicted of murder, who was given a year to sculpt the mantelpiece pending execution of his death sentence. Though entirely fictional, the story quickly went viral, appearing in reprinted, translated, and adapted versions numerous times across Western Europe throughout the nineteenth century. This talk will focus on the story’s connections with and crossings to British literature and culture. After situating the original anecdote in the context of the development of modern tourism, we will discuss two British versions of the story: one published by Dinah Craik in Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal in 1847 and another, in the form of an 1886 poem entitled “The Chimneypiece of Bruges”, by Constance E. Dixon. Our focus will be on how the two versions dealt with the story’s legal plot as they built on, modified, and recontextualised its central themes of (capital) punishment and miscarriage of justice.

Stefan Huygebaert is an art historian and a Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University, Belgium, on the topic of picturesque and symbolist Bruges. He co-edited the exhibition catalogue The Art of Law: Three Centuries of Justice Depicted (Bruges, Groeningemuseum, 2016–17), and the volumes The Art of Law: Artistic Representations and Iconography of Law and Justice in Context (Springer, 2018), and Sensing the Nation’s Law: Historical Inquiries into the Aesthetics of Democratic Legitimacy (Springer, 2018).

Marianne Van Remoortel is Associate Professor of English Literature at Ghent University, Belgium. She is the author of Lives of the Sonnet, 1787–1895: Genre, Gender and Criticism (Ashgate, 2011) and Women, Work and the Victorian Periodical: Living by the Press (Palgrave, 2015) and editor-in-chief of the Journal of European Periodical Studies. In 2015–21, she directed the ERC Starting Grant project “Agents of Change: Women Editors and Socio-Cultural Transformation in Europe, 1710–1920.”

13 October 2021 - CREL Opening | Language in Autism

The Centre for Research & Enterprise in Language 2021-22 opening event

Welcome and introduction to activities

Professor Mark O’Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Professor Chris Bailey, Director of Research of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences

CREL & Institute for Lifecourse Development (ILD) initiatives’ leads (M. Arche, R. Pacella, J. Baillie, C. Laval, A. Samara, N. Saunders, K. Stenke)

Guest talk

Language in Autism

Language in Autism Lab, University of Amsterdam

Professor Jeannette Schaeffer is a world-wide recognised expert on the links between language development and extra-linguistic cognitive knowledge across populations and languages. She studied at the university of Utrecht, UCLA and MIT, worked at Ben Gurion University in Israel and has been at the University of Amsterdam since 2011. Schaeffer has been the founding lead of international networks such as Language Abilities in Children with Autism (LACA), where the analysis of language development and Intelligence, Executive Function, Theory of Mind and Coherence has provided a more refined picture of human cognition.

Dr Ileana Grama lectures at the University of Amsterdam. She got her BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Bucharest and MA and PhD in Linguistics at Utrecht University. She is an expert in statistical learning and its potential role in language development in infants, adults and clinical populations, as well as in the relationship between language, learning and cognition in Autism.

Harriet Reynolds obtained her BA in Modern Languages at the University of Sheffield and MA in Linguistics from the University of Amsterdam. Her PhD research focuses on information structure in autistic and neurotypical subjects, connecting linguistic areas (pragmatics, prosody) with cognition and psychology.

Ileana Grama, Harriet Reynolds and Jeannette Schaeffer

University of Amsterdam

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) is characterized by (1) persistent deficits in social interaction and communication, and (2) restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities, both of which occur with varying degrees of severity (DSM-V; APA, 2013). Despite the fact that language is not one of the diagnostic criteria for ASC, language is affected in all autistic children. Around 30% of autistic children remain non- or minimally verbal. As for verbal autistic children, they differ from neurotypicals in their pragmatic language, and many of them demonstrate structural language (morphosyntax, phonology) differences.

Our Language-in-Autism (LiA) lab investigates the development of various language domains in autistic individuals and the interaction of language (development) with non-linguistic cognition. We will report on some ongoing studies regarding language skills in relation to statistical learning, and regarding pragmatic language development. Special attention will be paid to methods of data collection and to the way autism and autistic individuals are referred to in the research literature.

9 July 2021 - Linguistic competence and how to measure it​, Multilingualism Summer School Open Lecture

Professor Lydia White, McGill University

This talk is organised by the Centre for Research and Enterprise in Language and the Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR), University of Southampton, with the collaboration of the Center for Language Science (CLS), Pennsylvania State University (USA).

A distinction between competence and performance (or, more recently, representation and processing) has been adopted, implicitly or explicitly, in many different domains of language acquisition, particularly in research coming from the generative linguistic perspective. At the same time, there are researchers who do not believe in such a distinction. In this talk, I will consider what is meant by linguistic competence and argue for the continuing usefulness of such a concept, as well as discussing different methodologies that are used to assess it.

About the speaker
Professor Lydia White is a linguist and educator in the area of second language acquisition (SLA). She is James McGill Professor Emeritus of Linguistics. Lydia received her BA in Moral Sciences and Psychology from Cambridge University in 1969 and PhD in linguistics from McGill University in 1980. In 2010 she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in the Academy of Arts and Humanities. In 2012, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Language Acquisition, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, and Second Language Research.

16 June 2021 - CREL Open Research Evening, Language & Healthy Ageing

Welcome and reflections on activities and events

Professor Christopher Bailey, Director of Research & Enterprise, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Professor Mark O’Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Professor Derek Moore, Pro Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Education, Health and Human Sciences
CREL & Institute for Lifecourse Development (ILD) initiatives’ leads (M. Arche, R. Pacella, J. Baillie, A. Palacios, A. Samara, N. Saunders, K. Stenke)

Guest speaker

University of Greenwich Alumna Dr Caroline Beese, Scientific Researcher at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
How Language-Specific are the Declines in Language Functioning in Healthy Ageing?

Dr Caroline Beese is a Scientific Researcher at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. She has been working on the connection between syntax and neurocognitive factors such as aging and memory for several years, since her undergraduate dissertation in 2012 to the present. She obtained her undergraduate degree in International Studies: Language and Culture from the University of Greenwich. The linguistics modules were her ‘options’ and became her life. She completed an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Radboud University in The Netherlands, and PhD from Max Planck Institute at the Department of Neuropsychology. She has recently accepted a new position at the University of Vienna.

It was put into question whether age-related declines in domain-general cognitive functions like verbal working memory (vWM) or inhibitory control have an effect on language processing. First, we examined which language processes are affected later in life when vWM capacity is typically limited. In comparison to younger adults, we found that older adults focused more on what is said (i.e., semantics) rather than how it is said (i.e., syntax) to cope with vWM limitations. We then examined how this wealth of information in sentences is successfully encoded into vWM. To this end, we compared encoding-related electrophysiological activity between sentences that were later remembered and those that were later not remembered by younger, middle-aged and older adults. Age-related declines in encoding success were found related to age differences in the electrophysiological network underlying inhibitory control. We followed this up by examining older adults’ inhibitory functions with a picture-word interference (PWI) task combined with eye tracking. Here pre-activated semantically related but irrelevant words needed to be inhibited in order to subsequently name a picture. Though generally slower and less accurate, older adults were able to speed up picture naming through stronger pre-activation, possibly counteracting inhibitory deficits. Overall, the findings of these studies suggest that age-related declines in domain-general cognitive functions differentially affect some but not all language functions.

12 May 2021 - Play texts and poetry pamphlets: stories of print publication in the 17th, 20th and 21st centuries

Ian Heames (Face Press) and Dr Jennifer Young (University of Greenwich)

Exploring the narratives embedded in print history – in the work of a little-known Early Modern publisher of Shakespeare, and in the practices of independent poetry presses in the UK and US.

Turning to the past to re-imagine the canonical playwright’s work within a network of print-based communities (Young), and considering what the late twentieth century’s ‘mimeograph revolution’ can teach today’s DIY publishers (Heames), these papers will invite us to consider the stories that material texts can tell and their value in the present.

Dr Jennifer Young, ‘Shakespeare for the ‘Triers’: Richard Hawkins and Q2 Othello at the Serjeants’ Inn’

Abstract: In 1630 the Stationer Richard Hawkins began selling an edition of Shakespeare’s Othello from ‘his shoppe in Chancery-Lane, neere Sergeants-Inne’. This edition, identified by modern scholars as Q2, is remarkable as the first edition to fully conflate existent quarto and folio texts of a Shakespeare play. Scholars have remarked on the process that brought Q2 into being—but the question of why a 17th century publisher/bookseller would invest the time and money to create such an edition remains to be considered. This paper decentres the author to reconsider Q2’s place amongst the people and ideas of the area in which it was published and sold: the Serjeants’ Inn in the heart of the Inns of Court area of London. The paper examines how Hawkins fashioned the books sold in his shop to entice this local readership. Literary and textual evidence from the Quarto is then reconsidered in the light of this new readership, providing new insights into the construction of this unique quarto and its place in modern editorial practice. This paper also highlights the extent to which individual members of the book trade in the early 17th century engaged with local readerships and the value of second-plus editions to that market.

Biography: Jennifer Young is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature at the University of Greenwich. She is co-author of Shakespeare in London (Arden Shakespeare 2015). Her research focuses on the printers and publishers of Shakespeare’s earliest editions and she is currently working on a monograph exploring the relationship between early modern members of the book trade and Shakespeare. This summer an article inspired by the research in this paper will appear in the Journal of Early Modern Literary Culture.

Ian Heames (Face Press), ‘Some mimeo precedents for contemporary small press poetry publishing’

Abstract: This talk will offer a brief overview of some of the varied independent publishing efforts sometimes collectively styled as the 'mimeo revolution' (circa 1960-80). It will consider how these publishing practices might have shaped the reading and writing of texts originally produced and circulated in such low-key DIY contexts, and how the legacy of these networks of reception and production continues to inform certain cultures of approach to the idea of 'publication', and of the poet's own mooted sense of their own first (or only) audience in 'print'. A couple of case studies of important historical publications (1960s) will be offered, along with some thoughts on what these traditions could offer to poets writing and sharing new work today.

Biography: Ian Heames is the founder of Face Press, http://face-press.org/, which has published work by poets such as Jeff Keen, J. H. Prynne, and Tom Raworth, as well as his own compositions. He also edits the Earthbound Poetry Series (2020-) https://earthbound.press/poetryseries-volume1, the London Review of Bookshop Sampler series (2018-) and the poetry magazine No Prizeshttp://face-press.org/np5.html (2012-). He is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on the US poet Stephen Rodefer.

28 April 2021 - Vampire Migration: Searching for Dracula in Stephen King’s Salem's Lot

Connor Long-Johnson, Postgraduate Student, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dracula has been inescapable since its publication in 1897. The Count still looms large over popular culture in the twenty-first century and his brethren have spread to all forms of media, with novels and films such as Twilight, The Strain and Buffy the Vampire Slayer finding huge success. In 1975, horror author Stephen King helped to bring the undead from the antiquity of Eastern Europe to the modern suburbs of American New England with Salem’s Lot. The influence of Stoker’s novel is evident throughout King’s second published novel as is Salem’s Lot’s role in bringing the vampire mythos into the modern era. Through comparing Stoker’s work with King’s, we can discover how the latter has not only borrowed from Stoker, but also evolved the figure of the vampire, making it more fit for purpose in the late-twentieth century and beyond.

Connor Long-Johnson completed his English BA and MA English: Literary London at University of Greenwich. He is currently a postgraduate in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, also at the University of Greenwich, researching his PhD thesis on American novelist Stephen King and the gothic tradition. Connor Long Johnson published his short story, ‘Completion’ in The Hollow Vol 6 (Pompona Beach, FL: Breaking Rules Publishing, 2020) and won the award for best debut conference presentation at Children of the Night: International Dracula Congress, hosted by Transilvania University of Brașov, Romania and Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Poland in April 2021.

24 March 2021 - Attitudes to accent in Britain: Variation in strength of bias by context

Professor Devyani Sharma & Dr Yang Ye

Abstract: Accent is one of the most salient signals of social background in Britain, yet its role in unequal professional outcomes remains under-examined, with no large-scale survey of British attitudes using audio stimuli. We present results from a set of recent studies (www.accentbiasbritain.org): attitudes to accent labels, attitudes to accented voices, attitudes among legal professionals, and perceived opportunities for success in relation to different professional sectors. Together the studies show continuing bias in Britain, particularly against working-class accents, but also incremental attenuation of bias by context. Drawing on psychological and sociolinguistic models, we interpret this not as a reduction of biased attitudes themselves but rather an effect of context on the extent to which individuals permit attitudes to influence their behavioural outcomes.

Professor Devyani Sharma (Queen Mary University of London)  is a world renowned expert in Sociolinguistics. Her research focuses on how languages and dialects vary, and what that variation can tell us about cognitive and social systems.

Dr Yang Ye is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich. His research focuses on topics in the area of social psychology such as automatic and implicit forms of attitudes, stereotypes and bias.

10 March 2021 - Maths & Linguistics Puzzles

Tony Mann & Katie Steckles

Tony Mann, University of Greenwich - ‘What is the point of this puzzle?’

Mathematical puzzles have been a source of fascination to many over the centuries. But what is the point of a puzzle? Is it just about an elegant piece of mathematics, or to find out what would happen in a real-world situation, or is it really about something else entirely? Does the enjoyment come from solving, or from understanding the solution? This informal talk will look at examples, simple and difficult, abstract or “real-world”, going back to the first printed mathematics book in English (1536) and up to puzzles presented to the public during lockdown in 2020.

Tony is Director of the Greenwich Maths Centre. His research interests lie in the history of mathematics with particular interest in the uses of mathematics in fiction. He was President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics from 2009 to 2011 and editor for the Newsletter of the London Mathematical Society from 2007 to 2017.

Katie Steckles -  ‘Logic puzzles: ambiguity and language’

Many popular recreational maths puzzles involve logic - liars and truth-tellers, known and unknown facts and deduction from given statements. However, these types of puzzles can offer opportunities for ambiguity, especially given the precise nature of mathematical thinking and the frustratingly inexact English language. I’ve collected some examples of such puzzles and the traps you can fall into while writing them, and offer some general advice to improve wording and close any logical loopholes.

Katie studied maths at the University of Manchester, completing a PhD in 2011 and has since worked in public engagement with mathematics — giving talks and workshops, writing about maths, delivering events at science festivals, talking about maths on YouTube, TV and radio.

05 March 2021 - What can we learn from cross-syndrome comparisons? Grammar comprehension in children with ASD, Developmental Language Disorder and Williams syndrome

Dr Alexandra Perovic, Associate Professor in Linguistics, UCL

Alexandra is an expert on the development of different aspects of language in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and Specific Language Impairment, in English and cross-linguistically. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Greenwich, did a PhD in Linguistics at UCL and later on obtained a postdoctoral position at the department of Brain and Cognitive Science of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Alexandra teaches clinical linguistics on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences, a professional degree leading to a qualification in speech and language therapy at UCL.

Abstract: Cross-syndrome comparisons between populations that share some general characteristics such as language or intellectual impairments are particularly valuable in revealing the extent to which these characteristics may affect the course of language acquisition. In this talk, I will present experimental studies investigating linguistic constraints governing the comprehension of personal vs. reflexive pronouns (‘principles of binding’), in children with three distinct developmental disorders: Williams syndrome (WS), known for reasonably spared grammar but significant intellectual limitations, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), known for pragmatic, as opposed to grammatical deficits, in the presence of heterogeneous language and cognitive abilities, and DLD, known for primarily grammatical deficits. The results will reveal important differences in the linguistic profiles of these populations, which cannot be attributed to the presence of cognitive impairments or an overall language delay.

03 March 2021 -  Poetry, Narratives & Creative Translation

Four global experts explore the issues at stake in the developing narratives of poetry in translation. Leo Boix, Edward Doegar, Jèssica Pujol Duran, Richard Parker

10 February 2021 - Gender Politics in Writing Shame: an evening with Kaye Mitchell & Nuar Alsadir

Senior academic and feminist scholar, Dr. Kaye Mitchell, will be discussing her book Writing Shame: Contemporary Literature, Gender and Negative Affect (EUP, 2020) in conversation with poet and psychoanalyst, Nuar Alsadir, author of (among other works) Fourth Person Singular (Liverpool University Press, 2017) and Dr. Emily Critchley, poet and senior lecturer. This seminar will take shame as its object of investigation – a condition at once private and social, inhibiting as well as productive, ‘narrative’ as well as ‘disjunctive’ - and seek to understand ‘the peculiar, ineluctable, persistent entanglement of femininity and shame’ (Mitchell).

09 December 2020 - What the linguistics of “if” could teach social psychology, health psychology, and the study of rationality.

Dr Peter Collins, Lecturer in Psychology, School of Human Sciences

Presentation Slides

Abstract: We are famously prone to framing effects: we tend, for example, to make difference choices when a treatment is described in terms of lives saved rather than lives lost. On the dominant view, these effects are irrational but effective ways to persuade, but this view largely neglects language. I argue that, to understand or predict such effects, we should investigate their linguistic content. I focus on the goal-framing effect: the alleged persuasive difference between messages such as “If you give up smoking, you’ll reduce your risk of lung cancer” and “If you don’t… you won’t”. I will show how a large literature in social and health psychology neglects the meaning of “if”, contributing to inconsistent findings, and will sketch the basis of an alternative account.

25 November 2020 - How (and why) to research multilingually? Challenges and opportunities.

Dr Erika Kalocsanyiova, Research Fellow, Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences

Presentation Slides

Abstract: An important part of mainstream research is currently being conducted in more than one language, especially where marginalised and disadvantaged communities are concerned. The role and impact of interpreters and translators on knowledge generation, as well as issues of access, power, and language bias, require an active and careful consideration from planning, through implementation to dissemination of research findings.

In this talk, I will introduce the concept of "researching multilingually" (Holmes et al. 2013) as an emerging dimension of research training and practice. Drawing on examples from a linguistic ethnographic research conducted with refugees in Luxembourg, I will discuss ways of engaging with multilingual research data and outputs.

The focus will be on two common aspects of qualitative research: interviewing and transcription. Through the microanalysis of an interpreter-mediated research interview, I will first show how to tackle some of the complexities of cross-language interviewing and meaning construction. The second part of the talk will focus on the processes and politics of multilingual transcription. I will explore transcripts that capture mixed language practices and/or the voices of refugees who are striving to be themselves in a foreign language to shed light on the analytical and ethical consequences of transcription decisions.

11 November 2020 - Jumping the Creative Fence? From Lit. Crit. to Historical Murder Mysteries

Professor David Fairer, University of Leeds

Abstract: After more than four decades working in the field of criticism and scholarship, I recently jumped to the other side of the fence to begin writing historical murder mysteries set in the early eighteenth century - the period I had taught for so long. After writing critical studies of many authors, how big a leap was this move into my own fiction? Making the break into the "creative" has brought several challenges to the fore: how to build a narrative; how to embody and animate the characters; how to enter a historical period and bring it alive for the reader; how in dialogue to avoid writing a kind of 'parody' language; how to convey the historical context to the reader ...

30 September 2020 - Arts-based Research and a Novel about Celtic London

Professor Susan Rowland, Pacifica Graduate Institute, California

Presentation Slides

19 May 2020 - Defining the Field: Category Problems in Research. The example of the Trade and Professional Press 1845-1900.

Professor Andrew King, Professor of English Literature and Literary Studies

Abstract: Whenever we do research we need to be clear about our research questions. To do that also means being clear about our analytic and descriptive categories. This paper considers those problems when faced with mapping a previously uncharted area of media and literary history, the Victorian trade and professional press, and also why that area remains unknown when all readers of this abstract will have been heavily influenced by such periodicals either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, whether the THE, the TLS, the Grocer, the Builder, the British Underwriter, the Engineer, the Law Magazine or the Journal for Advances in Manufacturing. What academic discipline would such a study fit into and what methodologies would therefore be used to pursue it? What might be the advantages and disadvantages of each methodology? At a fundamental level, what can be considered a "trade" and "professional" periodical and how is the field to be defined and subdivided into domains of knowledge, morphologies, genetics, development characteristics, environment, function?  Crucially, who is to define these categories and how? Only having considered these pre-questions can we begin to forward our research, thereby gaining greater clarity of the history, practices, limits and possibilities of our own fields and, indeed, of our lives more generally.

26 February 2020 - Syntax and Semantics in Mathematics and Mathematics Education

Dr Neil Saunders, Senior Lecturer in Mathematical Sciences

Abstract: This will be an expository talk into what language, syntax and semantics mean to a research mathematician, and will also explore these concepts from an educational point of view. Following Easdown (2006), we will provide a variety of examples of 'enlightening errors' in mathematical/logical reasoning, committed by students and seasoned researchers alike that reveal the perennial tension between syntax and semantics in mathematics. As Easdown argues, a heightened awareness of this tension and its possible resolution in certain scenarios may lead to better student experiences in their mathematical learning, enabling more robust and creative thinking. No prior mathematical knowledge will be required for this talk, which is aimed to promote interdisciplinary discussion and possible research collaborations in the CREL spirit.

22 January 2020 - What can "semantic" associations tell us about sexism?

Dr Yang Ye, School of Human Sciences

Abstract: In the last few decades, one of the most significant developments in social psychology is the emergence and popularization of so-called "implicit" measures (e.g., the implicit association test, the evaluative priming task). Such measures provide indirect assessment of psychological constructs such as attitudes and stereotypes, using tasks (e.g., reaction-time based) that seem to be irrelevant to the construct assessed. They are in sharp contrast to traditional self-report measures, which are often criticized to be prone to the influence of respondent's self-presentational motivation. In this talk, Dr Yang Ye will present research on the semantic misattribution procedure and talk about what it is, where it comes from, and how to apply this procedure to the assessment of implicit gender stereotyping at the individual level. He will present empirical evidence on the psychometrics properties and construct validity for this measure.

11 December 2019 - Miscommunications and the Language of New Media

Dr Maria KorolkovaProf Stephen Kennedy, School of Design

At this CREL talk, Dr Maria Korolkova and Prof Steve Kennedy from the School of Design will share their research on miscommunications as an emerging field in media theory. They will be discussing their chapters from the forthcoming book Miscommunications: Errors, Mistakes and the Media (edited by Maria Korolkova and Timothy Barker, under contract with Bloomsbury Academics).

The Force of Falsity, Maria Korolkova

What happens when communication breaks down? How can we understand our place in a world that seems dominated by misleading information? Is it the condition for miscommunication, mistakes and errors that is characteristic of digital culture in general? And if mistakes and errors have a certain power, what stands behind it? To address these questions, my talk will be focusing on some philosophical, linguistic and media theoretical inquiries that address contemporary culture as a terrain of miscommunication.

The Guardians of the Possible, Steve Kennedy

In his book Rome: The First Book of Foundations, Michel Serres describes the fervent activity of termites as they construct their improbable towers. Whilst this activity demonstrates a degree of order, Serres also postulates an element of deviance and anomie. The intention of this talk is to argue for an approach that designs complexity back into the system. It will challenge the received wisdom, prevalent in western thought, that reason serves to bring a coherent and universal order to chaos when in effect it imposes certain very specific patterns on a world no longer conducive to such an ordering.

20 November 2019 - Spelling as statistical learning: evidence from learning experiments with 7-year-old children 

Dr Anna Samara, Faculty of Education and Health

Abstract: Learning to spell is a vital yet understudied part of literacy development. It is also a challenging task: In inconsistent orthographies such as English and French, only few words can be spelled accurately by mapping phonemes (sounds) to their highest frequency graphemes (letters); most vowel sounds have, in fact, multiple spellings. In English, for example, /ε/ is most commonly spelled with the letter e (as in bed), but it can also be spelled with the letters ai (said), ea (head), ie (friend), and eo (leopard). How do children learn such inconsistent sound-letter correspondences? In this talk, I will present data from typically developing children that suggest that learners use the same domain-general statistical learning device believed to operate in spoken language (Saffran et al. 1996) to extract some untaught probabilistic spelling 'rules'
. Five learning experiments with artificial lexicons probe precisely what patterns young spellers can learn, and under what circumstances, to shed light on underlying learning mechanisms. Implications for theories of literacy development and broad educational implications are discussed.

22 October 2019 - CPD Workshop 'Exploratory Practice: Teachers and learners working together to understand their classroom lives


  • Inés Kayon de Miller (PUC-Rio, Brazil)
  • Adriana N. Nóbrega (PUC-Rio, Brazil)
  • Isabel Cristina R. Moraes Bezerra (UERJ, Brazil)
  • Assia Slimani-Rolls (Regent's University London)
  • Anna Costantino (University of Greenwich)

This workshop will offer combined 'practical' and 'theoretical' opportunities for understanding the underlying rationale of Exploratory Practice (EP), developed in collaboration with Dick Allwright (Lancaster, UK) and the Rio de Janeiro Exploratory Practice Group. Starting from reflection on their own and their learners' classroom puzzles, participants will be guided to understand how teachers and learners can work jointly for enhanced understandings of what happens in their classroom lives. There will also be opportunities for participants to create and discuss possible adaptations of their regular activities into Potentially Exploitable Pedagogic Activities. Such notions as 'Planning for understanding', 'Quality of classroom life', and 'Sustain ability of EP', among others that characterize the theoretical foundations of the EP framework, will be discussed on the basis of our long-term experience with EP and our involvement with the recent international research project with Brazilian teachers sponsored by the British Council.

02 October 2019 - Grit Lit in the American South as a Class Counter-Discourse

Professor Li Yang Research Paper Talk

Since the 1980s, with the rise of Grit Lit, a counter-discourse to the Southern Renaissance, the trend in southern literature has changed dramatically from aristocratic tradition to poor-folk perspective. Poor-white writers Harry Crews, Larry Brown, Dorothy Allison and Lee Smith (to name only a few) tell the stories of their families and class as insiders with unparalleled authenticity. They claim and defend their humble pedigree, articulate their survival- first creed, write about their miserable rural past, redefine poor-white social and cultural identity and dismantle their stereotypic single-dimensioned image. Their works have met with considerable critical and public claim and even become a marketable "brand" (Scott Romine) in the south and even the United States. Obviously as an important genre in southern literature it has brought about the most significant changes in it in the 20th century.

Li Yang is Professor of English at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. His academic interests have been class, gender and place in American fictions for two decades starting from his visit to University of Florida as a Fulbright research scholar from 1998 to 1999 and he has been publishing articles and books on these motifs since then. This year Tongji University provided Professor Li Yang with funding of 60,000 Chinese yuan (approximately £6,700) for research abroad, with the possibility of funded staff exchange. Having read Dr. Justine Baillie's publications on English and American fictions, Professor Li Yang applied to visit University of Greenwich as part of an exchange of research on the issues of gender and class in literary studies.