Teaching visit of Professor María Martínez Lirola

We are absolutely delighted to host Professor María Martínez Lirola (University of Alicante) for a teaching visit to BA English at Middlesex, between 18th and 22nd of March 2019.

This is a list of the three diverse seminars she will lead at Middlesex University, London- all part of the Language & Communication Research Seminars series. Everyone is welcome!

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AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMAGE OF WOMEN IN COSMETIC SURGERY LEAFLETS: VISUAL GRAMMAR AS A TOOL TO DISCOVER STEREOTYPES. 

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 16.00-18.00 at room PRTCB6B (Portacabin)

There are many texts in which images of women are used for different purposes in our society. This research explores the main strategies used to create meaning in multimodal texts used by leaflets advertising cosmetic surgery in Alicante (Spain).  The study aims to point out that women are treated as objects in these leaflets. To demonstrate this argument the main visual and linguistic characteristics will be analysed in multimodal texts in which people are persuaded of the benefits of such surgery. Special attention will be paid to the influence that the different linguistic and visual choices may have on society. This study reveals that the image of women that appears in some leaflets of this type is so aggressive that it could be understood as a new form of gender violence.


 

APPROACHING THE REPRESENTATION OF SUB-SAHARAN IMMIGRANTS IN A SAMPLE FROM THE SPANISH PRESS: DECONSTRUCTING STEREOTYPES 

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 14.30 -16.30, at room V105 (Vine building) 

Spain has become a country receiving immigrants in the last years. The majority of the items of news related to immigration that appear in the press exhibit negative characteristics. The main purpose of this article is to observe the linguistic and visual representation of Sub-Saharan immigrants in a sample of the Spanish press in order to answer the following research questions: how are Sub-Saharan immigrants portrayed linguistically and visually in the given press? What are the implications of the choices in language and images?

The researcher collected all the pieces of news related to Sub-Saharan immigrants in the three most popular Spanish newspapers, i.e., El País, ABC and El Mundo from 1 June 2011 to 31 December 2014. Visual grammar and critical discourse analysis (CDA) will be used in order to deconstruct the visual and linguistic representation of such immigrants. In addition, van Leeuwen’s (2008) classification of social actors will be used in the analysis.

The analysis demonstrates that the representation of Sub-Saharan immigrants displays the following characteristics: they are represented as vulnerable, lacking autonomy, as victims, etc. This representation does not contribute to the fact that the autochthonous population favours the integration of immigrants into the socio-economic structure, exercising the same rights as the Spanish population, and therefore that the dichotomy we-they is emphasized.


HOW CAN WE INTRODUCE CULTURE AND CRITICAL THINKING IN THE CLASSROOM? EXPLORING THE USE OF MULTIMODAL TEXTS IN THE CLASSROOM 

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 17.00-19.00, at room C110 (College building)

The multimodal nature of present societies makes clear that teaching with authentic multimodal texts can contribute to bring different cultural realities into the classroom. In this sense, it was decided to use texts published by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to teach visual grammar (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2006) in a master course.

These texts were also selected because they are appropriate to teach cultural aspects, and the reality of poor countries; they also allow the acquisition of interpersonal competences. This paper will point out that teaching students to be critical with the discourse produced by NGOs is essential in order to unveil relationships of domination and power because discourse is always a powerful tool used to reproduce social reality.


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María Martínez Lirola is Professor of the Department of English at the University of Alicante, Spain and Research Fellow at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Her main areas of research are Applied Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis and Systemic Functional Linguistics. She has published more than 70 papers and seven books, such as Main Processes of Thematization and Postponement in English (Peter Lang, 2009). She has been a visiting scholar in different universities such as: Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD, 2015), University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus (2015), University of British Columbia and University of Montréal (2014), Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada, 2012), University of South Africa, UNISA (Pretoria, South Africa, 2012), University of Anahuac Mayad (Mérida, Mexico, 2008), University of Kwazulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 2006), and Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia, 2005). She has presented papers in international congresses all over the world.

 

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 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

A good life: citizenship, skills and employability in English studies

‘How can English Studies overcome instrumentalism when it comes to the employability agenda? Is it possible to move beyond having to prove that our degrees are good value because they lead to good careers? Can we work together with students to consider how to live ‘good lives’ through education?’

On the 13th and 14th of April, I attended my first ever University English  Annual General Meeting & Heads of English networking event at the University of Lancaster. The two-day meeting had everything: innovative practices in learning, teaching and assessment of English at University level, discussion of hiring and promotion practices in the sector, surviving your first year as Head of Department, recent A Level reforms, and of course TEF and REF 2021.

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I found the panel on Employability really interesting, as it showcased some exciting and innovative ways of connecting students with the wider world.

Dr Fiona Douglas (Leeds) talked about the great (but also tricky to organise) module on Heritage & Dialect that takes students outside the classroom and into local museums and blends teaching, research and public engagement.

Dr Clare Egan (Lancaster) emphasised the importance of treating degrees not as tools to get a job but as central to developing skills for everything we are doing. She showed the importance of problem-solving learning, moving from ‘careers talks’ to ‘career-focused problem solving’, helping students develop critical reflection and self awareness, and discussed modules that fully integrate work in the field: local schools, arts organisations etc.

Yvonne  Battle-Felton, co-founder of  Stories at The Storey (true story open mic night) and North West Lit Salon and Creative Writing PhD spoke about the PhD creative writing student as entrepreneur.  

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Middlesex and Haringey Sixth Form College students shortlisting submissions for ‘Haringey Unchained’ magazine

We are already incorporating many of these ideas in the BA English at Middlesex. To name just a few examples:

  • First-year modules, such as Global Englishes, include problem-solving based learning. Students have to work in groups to design and carry out an experiment testing a hypothesis. Through their empirical projects, they develop high level research skills but, perhaps more crucially, really valuable interpersonal, negotiation, leadership and teamworking skills.
  • Our students develop employability skills by mentoring local 6th form college students in producing a literary magazine, Haringey Unchained.
  • Also, from 2018-19 we will extend students’ opportunities to volunteer at local schools, act as ambassadors for English and make a positive impact to their communities through the two third-year modules ‘Work Placement’ and ‘Teaching Englishes’.
  • Students get to work with acclaimed writers and practitioners of a range of genres. These include their own tutors but also guest speakers. For example this year, second year BA English students invited and interviewed Ian McGuire, author of the celebrated novel and soon-to-be BBC series The North Water.
  • From 2018, BA English students will be involved in the organisation of the 2019 North London Story Festival.

New Partnership with Haringey Unchained

We are absolutely delighted to be the 2017-18 University partner of the Haringey Unchained. Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to showcase the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form Centre in Tottenham, London.

This collective publishes a volume of creative writing every year. Below is their 2017 collection, in collaboration with the University of Warwick.

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The collection is a great read and was launched on June 22nd, at  the final show of the Haringey Unchained and We Move Creative Arts Festival. Poetry readings were combined with dance performances inspired by the poems in the collection. Industry experts in the audience enjoyed the show as much as we did.

To find more about the work of Haringey Unchained check their website: https://haringeyunchained.wordpress.com/

We are really looking forward to working with students and staff at Haringey Sixth Form College. Our Middlesex students at BA English will work with and mentor Haringey students in editing volume 3 of Haringey Unchained.

All submissions welcome!

Close reading, codes and interpretation: Speakers and room confirmed

Our Language & Communication research cluster warmly invites you the one-day symposium on ‘Close reading, codes and interpretation’. Room number and speakers have now been confirmed

When? 9 am-7 pm, Tuesday 13th June 2017

Where? Room H116, Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, London, NW4 4BTmdxIn some reckonings, ‘close reading’ is now around 90 years old, having been inaugurated in I. A. Richards’ Principles of Literary Criticism (1926) and Practical Criticism (1929). The close reading of texts has become arguably the central activity of the humanities and close reading is carried out across different levels of education and through a number of disciplines. As its practitioners recognize, procedures of close reading can become ossified into routine practices of code identification rather than active interpretation.

This day symposium seeks to ask what ‘close reading’ is like now, how it is exercised in education in different contexts and how it might differ from or resemble ‘codes’ of reading. It features talks by experts in education, including school teachers and university academics. Our speakers are:

  • Barbara Bleiman (English and Media Centre)
  • Billy Clark (Middlesex University)
  • Paul Cobley (Middlesex University)
  • Louisa Enstone (Darrick Wood School)
  • Marcello Giovanelli (Aston University) and Jess Mason (Sheffield Hallam University)
  • Andrea Macrae (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Jon Orman (University of Hong Kong)
  • Adrian Pablé (University of Hong Kong)
  • Stefan Peto (Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys)
  • Johan Siebers (Middlesex University)

Cost: £10 flat fee (includes lunch and refreshments).

Registration opens soon.

For further details in the meantime, please email Paul Cobley p.cobley@mdx.ac.uk

Symposium on Close Reading in Education: 13th June 2017

The Language and Communication Research Cluster is pleased to announce its upcoming whole-day symposium on Close reading, codes and interpretation.

In some reckonings, ‘close reading’ is now around 90 years old, having been inaugurated in I. A. Richards’ Principles of Literary Criticism (1926) and Practical Criticism (1929). The close reading of texts has become arguably the central activity of the humanities and close reading is carried out across different levels of education and through a number of disciplines. As its practitioners recognize, procedures of close reading can become ossified into routine practices of code identification rather than active interpretation. This symposium seeks to ask what ‘close reading’ is like now, how it is exercised in education at different levels and how it might differ from or resemble ‘codes’ of reading.

The symposium will include presentations from academics as well as teachers in secondary education.what-reading

When? 9 am- 7 pm, Tuesday 13th June 2017

Where? Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, London, NW4 4BT

The day will also include the launch of the undergraduate magazine Mesh and of the volume Critical Humanist Perspectives: The Integrational Turn in Philosophy of Language and Communication, edited by Adrian Pablé (Routledge, 2017).

More information and a full day schedule to follow.

Last date to register for free teachers conference

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Our free conference for English teachers (mentioned in our previous post) is just under three weeks away. The last date to register is next Monday, 31st October.

This will be a really fun and useful event. Teachers always respond positively to the opportunity to step outside the classroom to exchange ideas,  to hear about current research, and to consider how to apply some of these ideas in class. Some of the sessions will focus on developing specific resources and activities for class.

This year, the conference takes place the day before the NATE (National Association for the Teaching of English) post-16 conference, New Directions in Post-16 English, which is also being hosted at Middlesex.

If you can spare two days, why not come to both? If you’re already coming to one, maybe you could take an extra day to attend the other event.

You can find out more and book for the Integrating English conference here:

Fourth Integrating English Conference for Teachers

and for New Directions in Post-16 English here:

New Directions in Post-16 English

There is also a blog for the Post-16 conference here:

Post-16 conference blog

Hope some more teachers out there can join us.

Contact me if you have any questions about this.