BAAL IC SIG 2015 (Sheffield) reflections
I co-presented a paper with Richard (aka “the boss”) at the BAAL IC SIG (British Association for Applied Linguistics: Intercultural Communication Special Interest Group) Annual Seminar which was held at the University of Sheffield from May 14th to 15th 2015. (Please see the original post and Richard’s reflection here: http://lantern.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/?p=7291).
Our paper’s title was “ASEAN policy documents as an articulation of discourses of intercultural communication and English as a lingua franca”, so you can tell that it was a part of my Phd topic and was developed from what I did on my own last year (ASEAN and Thai policy documents analysis).
This whole experience, however, was new to me because it was my first co-presentation, and especially it was the first presentation I did with Richard. I might have had presented in some conferences before, but I did ‘it’ my way (Frank Sinatra), a way an ordinary PhD student or a novice researcher would do, but working with Richard, as you know him, phew………………….. He is so….. supportive as always, but as a superman, (as I usually call him), he always has a lot of energy and thoughts (nod if you agree). I have learned a great deal from working with him and think that I was pushed to think outside my comfort zone and do what I had never done in terms of analysis.
If you have read our abstract (http://lantern.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/?p=7527), we used discourse analysis to consider what the documents might mean regarding the intercultural communication and English as a lingua franca. I’ve learned from Richard that the analysis doesn’t have to be only about the coding, coding and looking for themes, but we can do it by giving our own interpretation (as informed by who we are and the relevant literature) to the texts. This is how I learned more about discourse analysis but I might be wrong.
I was also encouraged by Richard to look at things from a more political perspective. As you know me, I am kind of okay with (almost) everything. In previous papers, I would just talk about the context of my study in a descriptive way such as what is ASEAN and who they are, but this time, I was encouraged to look at its history and the characteristics of it which can be problematic or post challenges to the ASEAN integration.
Finally, I have some observations regarding giving a presentation to share with you:
1) Academic/ expert audience seems to be interested when the givens are problematized (as I heard many ums with nods during our presentation);
2) PhD students tend to present about their PhD main studies (e.g. the plan). As I’ve learned from Richard, we can do something else too!; and
3) One needs to be able to answer the “So what?” question at the end of their presentation.
P.S: Dear Lanterners, you might want to know that our blog has been read and found useful by people from the wider community too. I met Jingya, a PhD student from Exeter at the BAAL (Hi Jingya if you’re reading this. Welcome to our community!). She told me that she has read my blog posts, she knows Richard Fay and that she learned about the BAAL conference from our blog! Keep up the good work, everyone 🙂