It was the UK that gave the world ‘le chav’, first broadcast the social interaction of the inarticulate through reality television and were so busy testing our children in school that we forgot to teach them how to communicate effectively. Now we reap the results: an epidemic of “word poverty” and a widespread lack of communication skills. In response, the government has designated 2011-12 the National Year of Speech, Language and Communication.
Kingston University is proud to announce a new Institute of the Spoken Word, and an associated conference which for the first time brings together all those with an interest in this emerging research agenda.
Our conference will be opened by a distinguished panel of spoken word experts:
-Professor Robin Alexander, Director of The Primary Review
-David Roche – former CEO of Borders UK and now Group Sales and Trade Marketing Director of Harper Collins
-Janet Suzman – award-winning stage and screen actress
-Philip Collins – Columnist for The Times and former speech writer for Tony Blair
-Government’s new Communications Champion – tbc
This will be a dynamic and forward looking conference. Contributions are invited from all concerned with word poverty, whether they are trying to improve the horizons for new generations, communicate in language that is widely understood or challenge those in the media to stop ‘dumbing down’ and aim higher. The conference will be cross-disciplinary and we encourage a wide participation.
Themes may include:
-The practical use of classical texts as vehicles for developing confidence in speaking and listening
-The paucity of communication skills in the business sector
-The development of language ideologies and language attitudes in relation to the spoken word (especially in young children)
-The effects of status, demographic background and educational interventions on the use of language in business settings.
-The rise of the spoken word in the publishing sector.
-Cultural policy and the teaching of spoken word
In keeping with the agenda-setting nature of the conference, participants are invited to present proposed research and work in progress. Abstracts should be submitted by 1st July 2009 at
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