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Languages in Coventry Research Group

We were established in 2018 as a group of colleagues in the Department of Applied Linguistics and the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Warwick interested in research and positive action regarding the learning, teaching and use of different languages in Coventry, in schools and in wider society.

For 2018–19 we put together a successful bid for internal (GRP Connecting Cultures) funding for a project connected with Coventry City of Culture 2021: 'Evolution and change in language education provision in the city of Coventry: Tracing language policy and local curriculum initiatives over the last 50 years'. (PI: Richard Smith). For this, two research assistants worked with us to establish a comprehensive timeline of national language education policies and to establish the nature of some specific local initiatives, including the Coventry ‘Investigating Languages’ primary schools project (early 2000s). This helped us to begin to build a network of contacts (teachers, head teachers, local authority administrators, etc.) in Coventry who can provide valuable perspectives on the effects of language policy and curriculum change from a contemporary and a historical perspective.

For 2019–20, we received Faculty of Social Sciences Research Development funding for a project titled 'Mapping the teaching and learning of languages in Coventry' (PI: Tony Liddicoat), investigating specifically:

  • Which modern languages are taught and where? 
  • Which schools provide English support for immigrant students and how? 
  • What is the relationship between the distribution of languages and social features of the schools’ areas: 
  • Types of schools (e.g. differences between private and public schools, the role of complementary schools) 
  • Socio-economic factors (e.g. is there an influence of impact of class on language learning?) 
  • Ethnolinguistic communities (How do schools respond to the multilingualism of their communities?) 

More recently, we have been engaging with and supporting a grass-roots initiative led by local schoolteachers to declare Coventry a 'City of Languages'. We have also affiliated with the Multilingual Cities Movement. We are currently pursuing research in three main areas – Community languages; EAL/ESOL; and MFL in primary/secondary schools – with a view to preparing a larger bid for research funding in association with local partners.

Current members:


Will Amos (SMLC) 

Reem Doukmak (IAS)

Guo Zhiyan (SMLC) 

Cathy Hampton (SMLC)

Holly Langstaff (SMLC) 

Tony Liddicoat (AL) [joint coordinator]

Troy McConachy (AL)

Sophie Nimmo (SMLC)

Annamaria Pinter (AL)

Shelagh Rixon (ex-AL) 

Kathryn Siddaway (AL)

Richard Smith (AL) 

Ellen Smith-Dennis (AL) [joint coordinator]


AL = Applied Linguistics

IAS = Institute of Advanced Studies

SMLC = School of Modern Languages and Cultures