The New Speakers Studio is a series of cultural ‘tools’ conceived and made by Deirdre MacKenna for the EU COST Action ‘New Speakers Network‘ which is a group of researchers, policy makers and stakeholders working together to explore the dynamics involved in becoming a new speaker of a language in the context of a multilingual Europe.
The Network has sought to understand the potential social tensions that emerge from unequal access to participation of new speakers in Europe’s multilingual projects. These inequalities pose challenges to European integration, social cohesion and economic collaboration, as well as to the full participation of territorial and immigrant minorities.
Deirdre and Bernadette O’Rourke, Chair of the New Speakers Network, first met at one of the regular GRAMNet collaboration development meetings in Glasgow in November 2016 and their fluent dialogues began to map out ways which could bring valuable academic research to the attention and use of people in related contexts and situations.
Deirdre created The New Speakers’ Studio by working with cinematographer Gordon James to film a series of semi-structured interviews with Agata Urbanska, Brian Thunder, Daniele Sambo, Hanneke Scott-Van Weil, Leena Nammari, Miren Manias, Nadifa Essa and Nina Bacos, who shared their stories and opinions about learning and using a language other than their mother-tongue in Scotland today; being a New Speaker.
In order to avoid the audience being distracted by images of the interviewees (their age, gender, cultural styling etc) Deirdre asked the interviewees to identify an object which could act as a visual-substitute. Images of these objects were filmed and photographed and along with animated text and audio, the interviewees’ narratives and language journeys have been brought to life.
The film and photographs are accompanied by ‘The New Speakers’ Guide’ which is the first booklet published to explain the New Speakers concept and provide quotes from New Speakers about their experiences.
The Milk Café, 452 Victoria Road, Glasgow G42 8YU,