Undergraduates, an opportunity not to be missed!

by Craig Evans

I was pleased to see that UWE is supporting students wishing to attend the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) next year, no doubt due in large part to the tireless efforts of Jenny Hill to secure funding. As a recent UWE graduate of the English Language and Linguistics degree course, and someone who benefited from this support in 2014 and 2015, I feel that I should stress how it is an opportunity not to be missed. This is especially the case for those thinking about continuing your studies postgraduate. I am currently studying for an MA in Discourse Studies at Lancaster University, and I believe the experience of attending an undergraduate conference not only helped bolster my MA application, but also my self-belief for studying at a higher level.

Of course, it is not only an opportunity for would-be academics, but also invaluable for anyone hoping to get ahead in a variety of industry sectors. No doubt we’ve all had our fair share of advice about the importance of doing extra activities to get an edge in an increasingly competitive graduate work market. Well, if you only do one extra activity during your time at university, then I recommend you make it the attendance of an undergraduate conference. The drive, focus and initiative demonstrated by students who present their own independent research at a national conference is something that will impress any discerning employer.

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Some thoughts on ‘impact’, the theme at iMean 2015

by Craig Evans

It was the fourth meeting for iMean, a biennial linguistics conference first held at UWE in 2009. Jointly organised by staff and students from UWE and the University of Warwick, this year’s event took place at Warwick. Here are some of my thoughts on the main theme of the conference…

‘Impact’ was the theme at this year’s iMean conference. I was there as a student volunteer helping out for four days in April. ‘Impact’ emanates from a source, and I had the opportunity to experience firsthand the source in question at iMean 2015, that is: the linguistics research community. Or at least, I should say, a variety of academics from across the world whose research focus is language. This seems to be an important distinction to make now that the onus falls increasingly on the individual researcher – rather than research community – to justify their work in terms of its ‘impact’.

It was fascinating, as an English Language and Linguistics undergraduate still fairly new to the world of language research, to observe seasoned academics as they grappled with this buzzword ‘impact’.

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British Conference of Undergraduate Research – Nottingham 2014

by Craig Evans

It’s hard to believe it, but after 6 months of anticipation, from first hearing about the UWE-funded opportunities to attend BCUR 2014 to finally making the trip to Nottingham’s Park Campus with rolled-up poster under arm, the conference is now over.

After months of thinking up a research topic, designing an experiment, background reading, realising that I may have bitten off more than I can chew, and somehow finding a way to present meaningful(ish) research, I can now reflect on an experience that has been inspiring and a great deal of fun.

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Undergraduate Linguistics Conference 2014

by Jeanette Sakel

Some of you may remember the second ULAB conference, which was held here at UWE Bristol. Now it’s time again to submit abstracts – this time for ULAB Edinburgh (April 2014)! This is your chance to talk about the research you’ve done so far (a project, an essay, a study of accents, etc.). All students are welcome to contribute, even those only just starting out. If you think a career in academia may be for you, this could be your chance to showcase your work and try out going to (and presenting at) a conference. If you need any support / help / guidance in writing your abstract, get in touch 🙂

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Undergraduate Conference – Diary Entry 2

by Craig Evans

Well, you’ve got to speculate to accumulate. Right? That’s what they say isn’t it? Although ‘they’ are probably just someone who wants you to invest in some hare-brained financial scheme or other. They don’t ask me because I am a student and I wear my pockets turned out in a manner that seems to say: nothing to venture, nothing to gain. So instead these maxims are scooped up by my fledgling but eager academic ear.

And what do I hear? – You’ve got to speculate to accumulate. Meaning: have some ideas, try them out for size, don’t worry if they don’t always fit, for it’s all a part of the wonderful rich experience that is learning.

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