Research with Impact research stand at BCL

Current and recent projects under the Research With Impact strand of the Bristol Centre for Linguistics (BCL) at UWE Bristol.

ESOL for Somali Women

This project has been funded by the Community University Partnership Initiative and brings together researchers and students from the Bristol Centre for Linguistics and members of staff and women from the Somali Resource Centre.

Somali women can often be isolated at home with small children. This project aims to help them acquire better English Language skills which will open both social and economic opportunities for them. Student volunteers have helped develop and deliver learning materials, leading to increased confidence and independent excursions. The materials have been based on research conducted by applied linguists working out of BCL.

In addition to regular classes at the Somali Resource Centre every Wednesday morning, we have had outings to Bristol Museum and the Arnolfini and we held a Macmillan coffee morning for the local community.

From Utility to Social Entity (FUSE)

The project seeks to create a “bot” with a human-like avatar and voice for the training of nurses in delivering nutrition advice to newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients. The research will explore how different ‘behaviours’ expressed by the bot alter the relationship with the student and the effectiveness of the training. The key outcome is to generate transferable guidelines for the creation of relatable AI training bots.

The team includes Dr Luke Rudge, along with a psychologist, a computer scientist, an interactive media specialist and an Associate Professor in Emergency Care. External partners include the Bristol Biomedical Research Centre and Elzware Ltd, makers of conversational systems for training healthcare professionals. The project is funded by the Vice-Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Research Challenge Fund at UWE Bristol

Celebrating linguistic diversity

The ‘Talk for Writing’ project, funded by the UWE Bristol Community Fund, developed teaching materials for Fonthill Primary school which recognised the conflict of the National Curriculum’s focus on ‘Standard English’ with its impetus to celebrate difference. Working with BCL researchers, students from English Language and Linguistics, and UWE Bristol's Department of Education supported teachers in helping pupils to value their own variety, to recognise register and how it changes according to context and mode of delivery (e.g. informal spoken, formal spoken, text message, written document), and to develop their writing in Standard English.