British Academy Summer Showcase 2022

Speaking of prejudice: Mapping accent variation and bias in the UK

 In recognition of and to maximise the research impact of The Speaking of Prejudice project, we have been selected as one of 12 research teams to exhibit our research at the highly prestigious week-long British Academy Summer Showcase in June 2022. The British Academy Summer Showcase is an annual festival which highlights the best new research projects shaping the humanities and social sciences.

The Mapping Accent Variation and Bias in the UK exhibit is fully interactive and aims to increase visitors’ knowledge of accent variation in the UK. Since people form judgements about others from the way they speak, and listeners are often unaware of their deeply embedded ‘implicit’ linguistic biases, the exhibit also aims to increase visitors’ understanding of their own, and others, language-based prejudices. As described below, the exhibit offers three hands on activities. 


Discover Implicit Biases

Exhibit visitors drop-in and take a short (7-minute) computer-based activity to discover their own deeply-embedded biases against specific UK accents. The activity is suitable for both children and adults. Visitors view their results immediately following completion.
Boundary mapping

To share their perceptions of accent differences in the UK, visitors take a brief exercise to draw/circle boundaries on a minimally-detailed map of the UK where they think different accents of English are spoken. To create discussion about UK accent differences, visitors write adjectives on a whiteboard describing particular accents.
Categorising speech

Visitors take part in a short activity to listen to and categorise short recordings of different UK speech varieties. Subsequent feedback sessions will create debate about the linguistic features listeners use to recognise accents.