The New Speakers Studio is a series of cultural ‘instruments’ conceived and made by Deirdre MacKenna for the EU COST Action ‘New Speakers Network‘ which is a group of researchers, policy makers and stakeholders from 28 countries working together on the first study which explores the challenges and opportunities involved in becoming and being understood as 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; these inequalities pose challenges to 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 learning to be speakers of languages which are new to them.
Deirdre devised The New Speakers’ Studio to represent the experiences new speakers have when negotiating society. In doing so, her aims are to increase and improve representation of new speakers in the academic arena, and also, create situations in which new speakers can see and engage with these aspects in contextualised public situations; a process to externalise one of the many intangible aspects of our everyday lives.
Deirdre invited Agata Urbanska, Brian Thunder, Daniele Sambo, Hanneke Scott-Van Weil, Leena Nammari, Miren Manias, Nadifa Essa and Nina Bacos to contribute two things to be filmed and photographed by cinematographer Gordon James:
The objects are utilised in the The New Speakers’ Studio as a visual-substitute, or proxy of an image of each interviewee in order to enable the audience not to be distracted by any associations they might make about age, gender, ethnicity etc.
From the images and interviews (a new research archive), Deirdre created The New Speakers’ Studio which comprises printed booklets and posters, films and photographs. These are presented in site-specific installations / interventions designed by Deirdre in order to invite audiences to consider the issues involved; rather than enabling us to hear new speakers’ voices, The New Speaker Studio is a representation of the experiences new speakers encounter during their language trajectories.
The following components of The New Speaker Studio can be translated into any language, and
are available for exhibition, presentations and as teaching instruments.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to arrange this:
framed photographs – these can be curated into series of narratives for specific interventions, events and presentations (please see images of the photographs in previous exhibition/installation/interventions on this page).
film works – this series includes:
posters – The New Speaker Studio posters are currently available in
booklet – The New Speakers’ Guide is the first booklet published to explain the New Speakers concept and provide quotes from New Speakers about their experiences.
transcripts – A written transcript of the key comments made during the interviews.
interviews – The original filmed interviews are also available for academic teachers and researchers.
The Refugee Festival Scotland at the Milk Cafe, Glasgow, Scotland – June – September 2017
Cultural Documents Studio, Filignano, Italy – August – December 2017
New Speakers Conference, Coimbra, Portugal – September 2017
Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal – September 2017 onwards
Instytut Anglistyki, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland – November 2017 onwards.
New Speakers Final Whole Action Conference, Coimbra, Portugal – September 2017