1. Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Cardiff University, 23 – 24 June, 2011
This was the first interdisciplinary conference for applied linguistics and there was an interesting range of papers from researchers working in varied fields such as health, law, religion and education. Some researchers employed multimodal analysis and showed how video footage could reveal the situational complexity of habituated practices. For example, in his plenary session, Rick Iedema (University of Technology Sydney, Australia) looked at Designing the cross-professional interface: The ambulance-to-emergency communication protocol. Other papers included research into interpreter strategies and modes of interpreting in court and investigated complex ethical challenges in terms of disclosure and ‘the interviewee’s right to lie!’ (Isabella Perez). In looking at the cross-institutional communication of research, Simon Pardoe raised questions about how applied linguists can contribute to the dissemination of research in a paper Collaborating in the cross-institutional communication of research insight: the challenge of informing reflective practice. A fascinating area of research that was presented at the conference was a paper investigating gendered identities in the National Assembly for Wales (Sylvia Shaw). There was also some interesting research analysing classroom discourse and the role of teaching assistants (Julia Radford).
In conversation at the conference I discovered a useful resource available to educators working in the field of language and literacy – Literacies for Learning (Simon Pardoe and Roz Ivanic):
2. New Methods for New Literacies, University of Sheffield, 8 – 9 July, 2011
This was an excellent conference that brought together researchers who are carrying out key work in the field of new literacies. One of the plenary speakers (Bronwyn Williams, University of Louisville) discussed The World on Your Screen: Literacy and Popular Culture in a Networked World and David Barton (University of Lancaster) spoke about Ways of researching the internet in a mobile world. In these discussions there was a move away from talking about boundaries to talking about the flow of languages and learning and a view of literacies that aid, impede, shape and interrupt global flows. A paper was presented on a multiliteracies pedagogy for teacher professional development in Bangladesh (Christopher Walsh, Open University) and Margaret Mackay (University of Alberta) drew fascinating connections between old and new literacies in her paper on an auto-bibliographic project.