The New Speaker Studio

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 aims to engage with people to explore the dynamics involved in becoming a new speaker of a language in the context of a multilingual Europe.

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 as a unique approach intended to enable people with differing views and experiences of speaking languages to find commonality. The three main groups are

  • self-motivated speakers (who’s motivations are to enhance their relationships, cultural understanding and/or employability),
  • service providers (who provide information and services in multiple languages) and
  • researchers, who are studying how the uses of languages are evolving). 

Deirdre invited new speakers to identify an object which they felt represents an aspect of their experiences speaking new languages. The interviewees then took part in a semi-structured interview in dialogue with Deirdre and filmed by cinematographer Gordon James. Deirdre invited them to share their stories and opinions about speaking new languages, and also to tell the story of the object they selected.

Deirdre transcribed the interviews, and she and Gordon photographed the objects to create an archive of phrases and images from which Deirdre produced the following items:

Deirdre then developed these into the following resources

  • a range of films, edited in different ways to suit audience preferences and situations, (including art exhibitions, public sector meetings, and general internet-based awareness-raising). These films do not show the interviewees, but rather use images of the objects they nominated, as a sort of proxy, in order to encourage the audience to concentrate on the stories and avoid consideration of interviewees’ age, gender or other aspects of their visual character,
  • filmed interviews for use by academic researchers,
  • a series of photographic images of the objects and the phrases from the interviews,
  • ‘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
  • a set of posters which introduce the New Speaker concept alongside a selection of the interviewees’ statements,
  • an archive of key statements which were expressed by the interviewees.

These resources were then programmed by Deirdre Mackenna into a range of situations in which they would resonate with audiences. These include nation-wide Refugee Festival Scotland, UK Being Human Festival and COST Final Whole Action Conference as well as localised events including the Oban Winter Festival and the Milk Café, Glasgow.

Please follow these links to use the resources which make up The New Speakers Studio:

A range of films, edited in different ways; these do not show the interviewees, but rather use images of the objects they nominated, as a sort of proxy, in order to encourage the audience to concentrate on the stories and avoid consideration of interviewees’ age, gender or other aspects of their visual character:

- Part One - informed by eight new speakers living in Glasgow in 2017 - produced as a Trailer, in order to introduce the New Speaker Studio on the internet (3 minutes),

- Part One - informed by eight new speakers living in Glasgow in 2017 - produced to be presented in general exhibition situations (20 minutes),

- Part One - informed by eight new speakers living in Glasgow in 2017 - produced as a tool used for public sector staff development purposes (9 minutes),

- Finding Gaelic - informed by six new speakers living in West Scotland in 2017 - produced as a Trailer, in order to introduce The New Speaker Studio on the internet,

- Finding Gaelic - informed by six new speakers living in West Scotland in 2017 - produced to be presented in general exhibition situations (15 minutes)

Filmed interviews for use by academic researchers.

- Part One -  informed by eight new speakers living in Glasgow in 2017 (Interview 1  (32 minutes), Interview 2  (25 minutes), Interview 3 (56 minutes), Interview 4 (40 minutes), Interview 5 (51 minutes), Interview 6 (46 minutes), Interview 7 (26 minutes) and Interview 8 (30 minutes): please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the password to access these interviews.

- Finding Gaelic - a group discussion and series of interviews with six new speakers of Gaelic living in West Scotland in 2017: please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the password to access these interviews.

Photographs :

A series of photographic images of the objects and phrases from some of the interviews,

The New Speaker Guide :

The New Speaker Guide is the first booklet published to explain the New Speakers concept and provide quotes from New Speakers about their experiences:

- The New Speaker Guide in Gaelic / English,

- The New Speaker Guide in English.

Posters :

A set of posters  introduce the New Speaker concept alongside a selection of the interviewees’ statements:

- New Speaker Studio Poster in Gaelic-English

- New Speaker Studio Poster in Portuguese-English

- New Speaker Studio Poster in Italian-English.

Key statements :

An archive of key statements which were expressed by the interviewees.

Evaluation :

The above resources were produced as tools within durational programmes of public presentation and dialogical engagement. This has enabled some evaluation procedures to be carried out and the following documents are available for research and qualification of processes:

- New Speaker Studio Part One interview agreements and permissions (please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the password to access these documents),

- New Speaker Studio Finding Gaelic interview agreements and permissions (please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the password to access these documents),

- New Speaker Studio Refugeee Festival feedback (please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the password to access these documents),

- New Speaker Studio Coimbra feedback (please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the password to access these documents),

- New Speaker Studio Finding Gaelic Oban feedback (please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the password to access these documents).

 

Please follow these links to The New Speakers Studio events:

20 June to 17 September 2017 - Exhibition - The New Speakers Studio at the Milk Cafe for the Refugee Festival Scotland

24 June 2017 - Event - Launch of the New Speakers Guide at the Milk Cafe for the Refugee Festival Scotland

14 to 16 September 2017 - Intervention and Screening at The New Speakers Studio at Faculdade de Letras Universidade de Coimbra for the Final Whole Action Conference of the COST New Speakers Network

17 - 19 November 2017 - Finding Gaelic Exhibition for the The Being Human FestivalThe Languages Lost and Found Festival and the Oban Winter Festival

18 November 2017 - Finding Gaelic Public Discussion for the The Being Human FestivalThe Languages Lost and Found Festival and the Oban Winter Festival

Project Photos

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