We have introduced an innovative element into the Corpus & Discourse conference series which is designed to explore the effects of our choice of tools, methods and approaches. We are calling this new kind of panel event the Festival of Methods because we hope it will be an engaging exploration and celebration of the range of methods we have available. In many ways, this follows on from inter-researcher and objectivity/subjectivity studies such as Marchi & Taylor (2009), Baker (2011) and Baker & Levon (2015), Baker (2015) but also draws on the traditions of the shared task in computational linguistics where conference participants are given the chance to all work on the same data with the same research question. One of the difficulties we face when comparing effects of different methods is that we are all working on different projects, and the Festival of Methods is designed to allow us to overcome this. Our plan is that it will become a regular feature in the Corpora & Discourse conference series and so, ahead of each conference, a task will be set dedicated time will be set aside at the conference for papers reporting findings and extended discussion on the kinds of analyses that were developed and findings that were reached. It is anticipated that the structure of the task will vary each time.
For Corpora & Discourse 2016, to recognise the centenary of the Easter Rising, a key moment on Ireland’s journey to independence, the Festival of Methods task is as follows: Research topic: How is Ireland / being Irish represented in UK parliamentary discourse? Corpus: Hansard Corpus (from Mark Davies’s BYU suite) Participants are encouraged to approach the topic from any aspect. They may make as little or as much use of corpus tools as they wish, and approaches using different discourse analytic frames are very welcome. Collaborative contributions are also encouraged. For those who wish to use their own software, we will make a downloadable version of the Hansard corpus available.
If you would like to participate in the Festival, please send a 300-word abstract summarising your planned approach to FestivalofMethods@gmail.com by 31 January 2016. If accepted, you will be asked to submit a short summary of findings by 10 June 2016. These summaries will allow us to identify the main themes for discussion. The event will run on the afternoon of 30 June, and will be structured around an extended poster presentation session, followed by discussion groups working on particular themes and a final panel to which all participants will be invited. Other conference attendees will also be invited to join in the discussions and put questions to the panel. We expect it to be a stimulating and interactive afternoon for all involved. NB Presenters may submit abstracts both for the main Corpora & Discourse conference and for the Festival of Methods.
Organisers: Charlotte Taylor, Tony McEnery, Vaclav Brezina, Anna Marchi