Our names are entwined with our personal identities, often chosen with care and laden with personal meaning yet people with names that many find unfamiliar report having their names regularly mispronounced or avoided, or being pressured to change their name to fit in. This project will explore whether a lack of familiarity with the pronunciation and spelling of the names of others creates barriers to teaching and learning, such as in schools, as well as in other interactions.
The research project
The project is being undertaken by the Community Values Education Programme (CVEP) team in the Dean of Student's Office at Warwick. Led by Dr Jane Bryan (Warwick Law School and CVEP Academic Lead) and Puja Laporte (CVEP Programme Manager), it explores whether a lack of familiarity with the pronunciation and spellings of people's names creates barriers to teaching and learning and other social interactions.
The project will seek to capture the experiences of those encountering names with which they are unfamiliar and the experiences of bearers of names that many find unfamiliar, including those who adapt their names or adopt new names to navigate this issue.
Dr Jane Bryan and Puja Laporte will be collaborating with Verity Pabla, singer-songwriter and founder of the Coventry-based music production company I'm Not A Machine.
Most recently she has been involved in artists and repertoire (A&R) for a Rolling Stone Magazine video promo, whereby she sourced and coordinated Coventry rapper DeeLayDee to record at the Coleshill studio. Verity explains: "I've helped regional and international artists to get their music onto media - from TV to film to adverts, including on Neighbours, DAZN, Gogglebox and BMW. I was also fortunate to be paired with the Mapping Women's Suffrage researchers for Coventry Creates 2020."
The collaborative Say My Name Project will explore the experiences of staff and students, and the stories around their names, with an aim to develop these into a short video and spoken poem, to be recorded for promotion purposes and performed as part of theResonate Festival.
These artistic outputs will enable the project team to connect with Coventry's public in a way that more prosaic dissemination would not allow. It will also highlight the value of the research around names and identities, and why they should be respected.