Over the 19th - 21st April, Warwick Foundation Studies' English for Academic Purposes team hosted the 2023 Biennial BALEAPLink opens in a new window Conference. BALEAP (British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes) is the global forum for EAP practitioners and every two years the conference is hosted by a different university. This conference is a highlight of the EAP calendar, and the small organising team of 8 Warwick colleagues were able to produce a large-scale spectacle bringing together over 350 colleagues from around the world, including New Zealand, China, Canada, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Luxembourg, Ireland, Finland, and Singapore, as well as colleagues from across the UK.
The Warwick team chose the title for the conference: ‘Caution! EAP under Deconstruction’. The aim was to take a critical look at where EAP is as a field and to encourage debate, conversation and thinking that would push the field forwards. Given that EAP has been established as a profession and academic field for over four decades, it seemed that now was an opportune time to reassess. Themes that emerged from the conference included: practitioner contributions driving the field forward, challenging orthodox EAP approaches and practices, disrupting academic writing norms and perspectives, AI, and Social Justice and Feminism within EAP.
The organising team aimed to create a collegial atmosphere by using a range of seminar-style formats rather than plenary sessions to encourage greater engagement and discussion. Participants and speakers were not just established names in the field; the conference welcomed practitioners new to the conference scene, who brought fresh insights into the discussions. This was the first face-to-face BALEAP Conference since the pandemic and many delegates commented on how great it was to meet people they had previously only seen online. Many enjoyed being on the Warwick campus and said it was the best conference they had been to. Attendees also suggested that future BALEAP hosts should ‘follow the Warwick example.’
For further information about the conference, or Warwick Foundations Studies' EAP offering, please contact Dr. Susie Cowley-HaseldenLink opens in a new window.
If you are interested in watching any of the conference recordings, please see BALEAP’s Youtube channelLink opens in a new window.