Author: Anna Charalambidou

The Embodied Nature of Narrative: Moving with purpose with others, and its disruption in autism

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to welcome Dr. Jonathan Delafield-Butt, Reader in Child Development, University of Strathclyde for a presentation on The Embodied Nature of Narrative: Moving with purpose with others, and its disruption in autism.

When? Wednesday 14 March 2018, 16.00 – 17.30

Where? Room BG09A (Building 9), Middlesex University, Hendon campus

Abstract

In this talk I will examine the embodied, affective nature of human meaning-making before it achieves linguistic expression, as a route to basic principles of agency in movement with social awareness, affective contact, and learning to achieve projects of common purpose.   Conscious human experience is first evident in purposeful movements of the body made in basic actions in utero.1  Even at this early stage, these actions require an anticipation of their future effect, and generate basic satisfaction on their successful completion.  This constitutes the first form of knowledge, knowing ahead of time the effects of a particular self-motivated, self-generated action, and its likely affective value.  Made in intersubjective engagement after birth, these basic actions serve to co-create embodied narratives, or shared projects of meaning-making with common purpose.  These are first and foremost embodied, then become linguistic.2,3  In autism, new evidence demonstrates the subsecond timing and integration of basic motor agency is disrupted, thwarting consequent social engagement and learning.4,5  This emerging motor perspective in autism presents a strong embodied view of development, illustrates its importance when disrupted, and gives impetus for novel therapeutic routes that include embodied, motor rehabilitative strategies.

Bio

Jonathan Delafield ButtJonathan Delafield-Butt is Reader in Child Development and Director of the Laboratory for Innovation in Autism at the University of Strathclyde.  His work examines the origins of human experience and the embodied foundations of development, especially in neurodevelopmental disorder.  He began research with a Ph.D. in Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, then extended to Developmental Psychology in work on the embodied nature of infant learning and development at the Universities of Edinburgh and Copenhagen.  He has held scholarships at Harvard University and at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Edinburgh University for bridgework between science and philosophy, and has trained pre-clinically in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Scottish Institute for Human Relations.  His research combines disciplinary perspectives (neuroscience, psychology, movement science) to present new insight into early meaning-making in children, on the aetiology of autism spectrum disorder, and novel routes to therapeutic intervention.

References
  1. Delafield-Butt, J. T., & Gangopadhyay, N. (2013). Sensorimotor intentionality: The origins of intentionality in prospective agent action. Developmental Review, 33(4), 399-425. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2013.09.001
  2. Delafield-Butt, J. T., & Trevarthen, C. (2015). The ontogenesis of narrative: From moving to meaning. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01157
  3. Delafield-Butt, J., & Adie, J. (2016). The embodied narrative nature of learning. Mind Brain & Education, 10(2), 14. doi:10.1111/mbe.12120
  4. Trevarthen, C. & Delafield-Butt, J. T. Autism as a developmental disorder in intentional movement and affective engagement. Integr. Neurosci. 7, 49, doi:10.3389/fnint.2013.00049 (2013).
  5. Anzulewicz, A., Sobota, K. & Delafield-Butt, J. T. Toward the autism motor signature: Gesture patterns during smart tablet gameplay identify children with autism. Rep. 6, doi:10.1038/srep31107 (2016).

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018 Language & Communication research seminars.

 

Video recording of Jenny Cheshire’s talk at Middlesex

We were absolutely delighted to welcome at Middlesex University last December the internationally renowned sociolinguist and Professor at Queen Mary University of London, Jenny Cheshire, for a fascinating and really engaging presentation on new youth language in London and Paris.

If you’ve missed it, here’s a teaser and the full videorecording of the presentation.

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For more information on the talk click here.

And of course, check our exciting upcoming Language & Communication research Seminars for 2018!

Language and Communication Research Seminars 2017-18 – Term 2

We are delighted to confirm the updated line-up for the second term of our 2017-18 Language and Communication Research Seminars at our Hendon Campus.

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The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Goodbye Billy

DRH6279W0AAx2s4We were sad to say goodbye at the end of 2017 to our wonderful colleague Billy Clark after 24 years of exceptional work at Middlesex University.

Billy has now taken a chair in English Language and Linguistics at Northumbria University and we wish him the very best. We will continue to work with him in a number of ways, including our project on accent diversity in the curriculum.

We had a great time at his leaving do in December, though!

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And although Billy is no longer a member of Middlesex staff, his legacy still lives on:

… His vision of ‘Integrating English’ in at the heart of our BA English programme;

… His work on embedding PDP & employability into the curriculum has inspired many degree programmes in the university;

… His insight that research/practice and teaching are sides of the same coin is reflected in university-wide priority of research into pedagogy;

… The spirit of egalitarianism, collegiality, incurable optimism will (hopefully) stay.

 

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The long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions (new date)

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to welcome the acclaimed anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani (Durham University) for a presentation on the long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions.

When? Tuesday 30th January 2018, 16.00 – 17.30

Where? Room CG83 (College building), Middlesex University, Hendon campus

Many fairy tales are believed to be derived from oral folk traditions, some of which exhibit remarkable continuities across cultures. Versions of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood – to take two famous examples – have been recorded in places as diverse as Italy, England, China and Antigua. The question of when and where these so-called “international tale types” originated and how they spread is one that has preoccupied folkorists since the time of the Brothers Grimm. In this talk I will show how some answers can be gleaned by integrating cross-cultural patterns in folktales with data from population genetics and historical linguistics. I will also discuss some of the cultural and psychological properties that might make certain kinds of stories particularly “catchy” and memorable, enabling them to survive the wear-and-tear of oral transmission over so many generations and across such vast distances.

Biography

Jamie Tehrany’s research focuses on how culture evolves as it gets transmitted from person to person and from generation to generation. He is interested in understanding what makes some things catch on, others die out, and how these processes shape patterns of cultural diversity within and across populations. Dr Tehrany was trained in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics (1995 – 1999) and gained a Master’s degree in Human Evolution and Behaviour at University College London (2000). He remained at UCL to study for a PhD in Anthropology (2005), writing his thesis on the transmission of craft traditions in Iranian tribal groups. In 2006 he took up a postdoctoral research fellowship at the AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity (CECD) at University College London, before joining Durham in 2007 as a RCUK Fellow, where he was appointed as a Lecturer in Anthropology in 2012, and then Senior Lecturer in 2014. His current work focuses mainly on the transmission of popular narratives, such as traditional folktales, urban legends and modern day conspiracy theories.

This presentation was originally planned for last November but had to be rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

For a full list of all 2018 seminars, click here.

“Four legs badass, two legs wasteman!”: Reimagining Orwell for Austerity Britain

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to announce the presentation by playwright and Middlesex lecturer in Media Narrative James Kenworth on his play ‘Revolution Farm’.

When? Wednesday 24  January 2018, 16.00 – 17.30

Where? Room C136 (College Building), Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

*Please note change in room number*

Revolution-Farm-5In 2014, James was given special permission by AM heath Agents on behalf of the George Orwell estate to adapt and modernise Orwell’s classic satire, Animal Farm, and give it a fresh, contemporary twist, injecting its timeless tale of a revolution that went wrong with a gritty, urban, ‘in-yer-face’ language.

The play was unique in another respect: it was staged on one of London’s longest established and largest inner city farms: Newham City Farm, home to a large collection of farmyard favourites such as cows, horses and sheep.

In this presentation, James will explore the process/methodology of adapting a literary classic with a contemporary spin, with special emphasis on a creative and expressive approach to playwriting language/dialogue. The paper will also address the challenges of setting the play on an inner city farm and how the use of non-conventional theatre spaces affects and reconfigures the relationship between a play and audience.

Biography

imageJames Kenworth is a Playwright and a Lecturer in Media Narrative at Middlesex University. His writing include ‘verse-prose’ plays Johnny Song, Gob; black comedy Polar Bears; issue-led plays Everybody’s World (Elder Abuse), Dementia’s Journey (Dementia); plays for young people/schools The Last Story in the World; and a Newham-based trilogy of site-specific plays, When Chaplin Met Gandhi, Revolution Farm and A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham.

His play, Dementia’s Journey, won the 2015 University of Stirling International Dementia Award in the category: Dementia & the Arts. When Chaplin Met Gandhi and Revolution Farm is published by TSL Publications. A Splotch of Red has recently been published in a collection of political plays by Workable Press, a new publishing imprint dedicated to trade unions and organised workers.

He has extensive experience of planning, preparing and teaching playwriting and creative writing programmes/workshops for a wide variety of age groups and learners including children, young people, students and adult learners. He has worked on a regular basis on the delivery of these programmes with leading arts and educational organisations such as Spread The Word, Cardboard Citizens, Workers Educational Association University, Newham Adult Learning Service, Newham Libraries, Newham College, Community Links, Soho Theatre, University of East London and Middlesex University.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018 Language & Communication research seminars.

1st Haringey Unchained – Middlesex Meeting

unchained_05We were really excited to welcome at Middlesex the twelve enthusiastic and motivated Haringey Sixth Form College students, with their inspirational teacher, Angie Smith.

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Doing some creative writing critique

Four of our BA English students will work with the Haringey students to edit a literary magazine, ‘Haringey Unchained’: a platform for high-quality original creative work in various forms: prose, poetry, illustration and photography.

In addition to the magazine, a larger collection of submissions can be found online at https://haringeyunchained.wordpress.com/.

So, if you are into writing, illustration, photography and would like your work to be considered for the ‘Haringey Unchained’ magazine and blog and reach a wide audience, please contact our four Middlesex students coordinating the project for more information:

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Our first Middlesex – Haringey group photo