Annual IVACS One-Day Symposium – Barcelona 2016

Now in its 16th year this year’s Annual IVACS One Day Symposium was be hosted by Institut de  Lingüística Aplicada (IULA), Institute of Applied Linguistics, Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona) on Friday, January 22nd, 2016. This year’s main theme was Corpus, Discourse and Beyond.

Presenters at the conference represented many of the IVACS network members, including Mary Immaculate College, Pompeu Fabra University, University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham, Leeds Beckett University, University of Leeds and University of Extremadura and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in attendance. The programme is available here.

Speaking at the opening of the one-day symposium Dr Janet DeCesaris, Director of Institute of Applied Linguistics in Pompeu Fabra University said “At the IULA we have always had a strong commitment to providing opportunities for young researchers to present their work and exchange ideas with researchers from other institutions and countries, and as such I was particularly delighted to support this initiative. In addition to hearing about ongoing doctoral work, symposium participants were also able to hear reports by experienced researchers, such as Prof. Michael McCarthy and Dr O’Keeffe herself. I hope this event leads to further collaboration between our university and the IVACS network”.

Speaking of the event Dr Anne O’Keeffe, IVACS research centre founder and coordinator said, It is a great honour to see the IVACS research centre and network go from strength to strength over the years. The IVACS network has brought together many researchers who would otherwise work alone in departments with limited resources. The network has allowed us to build a community of practice which optimises resources and skills-sharing. Therefore, by linking up with other top researchers in the field, more data has been gathered, more collaborative insights have been attained and as a result more publications have been brought to fruition.

Established in 2002 the IVACS Research Centre at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has a vibrant international research network, connecting over 40 leading researchers and PhD students in the field of Corpus Linguistics, across 23 institutions. While the network initially linked MIC, University of Limerick, Queen’s University Belfast and University of Nottingham, over the years, it has expanded to link researchers in many other institutions, including University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Extramadura, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, University of Tokyo, among others. The network has grown strategically so as to broaden its expertise base through links with key corpus-based researchers and research centres, especially in the UK.

Dr O’Keeffe paid special tribute to Alba Milà Garcia, a postgraduate student from the Institute for Applied Linguistics, at PFU, who was the main organizer of this year’s symposium.  In 2014, Ms. Garcia was awarded a grant from the Catalan government to undertake a three month research period at MIC within the IVACS research centre, and from this a new and vibrant network partnership has been formed with her institution.

The area of Corpus Linguistics is a relatively new field and corpora (the datasets on which the research is based) are time-consuming and expensive to build. In partnership and co-funding arrangements, the IVACS centre holds four corpora of English. With UL, The Limerick Corpus of Irish English (with UL) and with Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Limerick and Shannon Corpus (with Cambridge University Press); The Newcastle University Corpus of Academic Spoken English and the Limerick-Belfast Corpus of Academic Spoken English. These databases provide empirical testbeds for ongoing research as well as numerous doctoral studies.

This cutting edge expertise and output has been recognised in the field by the recent establishment of a dedicated IVACS book series with Routledge publishers. The series entitled Routledge Applied Corpus Linguistics is edited by Dr Anne O’Keeffe, MIC, Prof. Ronald Carter and Prof. Michael McCarthy University of Nottingham and is described as a ‘series of monograph studies exhibiting cutting-edge research in the field of corpus linguistics’. The first book from the new series, Language, Corpus and Empowerment – applications to deaf education, healthcare and online discourses, was published last year and was written by Luke Collins, University of Nottingham. Three further monographs are a various stages of production. All editorial royalties from the series go to the IVACS research centre, at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

The 8th Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies (IVACS) International Conference is to be hosted by Bath Spa University in June with the theme Corpora and Context.



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