Recognising that systemic inequalities and discrimination exist in higher education more broadly as well as in our discipline, the ISLE Summer School Committee is committed to fostering an accessible, inclusive, equitable, and respectful environment for learning and scholarship. We value individual differences and want to ensure that no-one is at a disadvantage because of who they are or where they happen to be from.
As such, we seek to enable all participants to achieve their full potential in an environment characterised by equality of respect and opportunity.
To that end, we have:
- Chosen the theme of ‘Decolonising English Linguistics’ as central so as to ensure that the voices of peoples dispossessed and disenfranchised by “Empire” builders in the past and present are heard loud and clear.
- Invited a diverse community of presenters, workshop leaders and pop-up mentors from all corners of the globe so as to foreground as many perspectives on the topic as possible.
- Elected to offer this ISLE event for the first time in a hybrid format (i.e. registration is for either in-person or virtual participation). This flexibility enhances the Summer School’s inclusivity (e.g. for those with caring responsibilities or who wish to participate from a range of different time-zones and who would thus be excluded by a wholly synchronous, in-person event).
- Ensured that all events take place in accessible physical locations with appropriate access points for those with additional access needs. Closed captioning will also be enabled for the live transcription of virtual Zoom presentations.
- Provided bursaries with matters of diversity, inclusion, and access at the forefront of the selection process. Scholars who have not yet earned their PhD were prioritised as were others from groups which are significantly underrepresented in English Linguistics (e.g. based on characteristics of class, gender, location in a Low to Middle Income Country, race, first generation higher education and so on).
- Offered social activities in addition to the academic programme which highlight not only the cultural and linguistic legacies of historical colonialism but also the inequities they induced. Capitalising on our research expertise at Newcastle University, there is a particular focus on:
- Ireland, Britain’s first experiment in “Empire”;
- The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, once a Hiberno-Christian colony; and
- The City of Newcastle, which is associated not only with the Roman “Empire” but also with both the Slave Trade and the Abolition Movement.