MARG (pronounced ‘marge’, perhaps confusingly!) began in the School of ECLS way back in spring 2007. At that time, the newly-arrived Alan Firth and Chris Jenks (now of University of South Dakota) decided that the School should take more advantage of the growing team of researchers and students interested in language, discourse and social interaction. Along with Paul Seedhouse and Steve Walsh, the team began to meet on a weekly basis, along with PhD students, to jointly analyse pieces of audio/video data of real life spoken interaction.
In the ten years since, MARG has grown in size and stature, now being regularly attended by 15-20 staff and students from the school and other parts of the university. MARG also regularly welcomes visitors from other universities, both in the UK and overseas, and has developed a worldwide reputation for being an exciting forum for the collaborative analysis of social interaction, particularly in settings related to second language learning and use, and typically from the research approach of ethnomethodological conversation analysis.
The principal aim of MARG is to provide a weekly forum for the informal presentation and group-based analysis of audio and/or video recordings of social interaction. The data presented is usually from a on-going research project one of our members is involved in. As such, these ‘data sessions’ are a chance for the presenter to share some of their own ideas, as well as to receive ideas, feedback and suggestions from other members of the group.
Individuals from any academic and methodological background are welcome to participate in MARG data sessions, although all members share an interest in understanding social interaction and discourse from a micro-analytic perspective.
In addition to our weekly data sessions, MARG holds a number of events during the course of the academic term, including talks, reading group sessions, and an annual ‘MARG Day’ in the summer. We aim to provide a lively forum for the exchange and germination of research ideas, and provides the foundation for possible research collaboration.
If you would like to discuss MARG-related matters more, we have a Facebook page. And if you would like to join the MARG email list, please send an email to one of our MARG co-ordinators, Adam Brandt or Chris Leyland.
The upcoming semester is another exciting one for MARG, with staff and students presenting data from a wide range of interesting interactional contexts; we will post more MARG news through the ALC blog throughout the year, and the schedule for this semester will be published here this afternoon!