The importance of language-based research to promote social justice
A new research centre exploring why social inequality and injustices are largely enacted through language has been launched at York St John University.
The Centre for Language and Social Justice Research (LSJ) will undertake language-based research with the intention of breaking down barriers to social equality that are enforced by language. It will work for and with communities who are intended to be key beneficiaries of their activities. These include deaf communities, LGBT groups, people whose first language is not English, and asylum seekers.
At the Centre’s launch event this month, Professor Helen Sauntson, Director of the Centre for LSJ Research said:
“Language and social justice are at the heart of York St John University’s inclusive and socially transformative ethos. Our aim is for the Centre to be embedded in the communities in York, with the intention of both helping and collaborating. The work of the Centre will enhance students' experience through the teaching and learning process, with staff and visiting scholars providing curriculum content and expertise in research methodology and skills.”
Organisations who attended the Centre’s launch include Lollipop (a charity which supports children, young people and their families), Time To Be Out (a York-based group which supports LGBT+ asylum seekers), Refugee Action York (an organisation working with and for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in and around the City of York), and York City of Sanctuary (a movement aiming to create a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK).
The Centre’s current research projects include exploring language in deaf communities; language and inequalities in higher education; languages beyond English and inclusion in schools; language, gender and sexuality-related school inclusion, and multilingualism. More details can be found on the Centre’s webpages.