Aston Webb building on campus
Aston Webb building on campus

EuroSLA is generally considered the foremost meeting for second language researchers in Europe, bringing together researchers working on second language acquisition, processing, and use from across the world. The globally renowned conference, now in its 32nd year, saw almost 400 researchers from a variety of disciplines on campus. 

Visiting academics came from 28 countries across Europe, South East Asia, the Middle and Far East, and North America. It was the first time this conference – which is traditionally held at a different European university every year - was hosted in the UK after Brexit. It was one of most well attended across the 32 years of the conference.

The planning and delivery of EuroSLA 32 was a cross College initiative brought together by colleagues from across campus from each unit that hosts second language and multilingualism researchers: Education (Bene Bassetti and Maria Reraki), English Language and Linguistics (Akira Murakami and Jeanette Littlemore), Modern Languages (Dagmar Divjak and Petar Milin), and Psychology (Andrea Krott and Robin Thompson).

It was my pleasure and honour to host my favourite conference at the University of Birmingham, welcoming both regular attendees and those joining us for the first time. Engaging deeply in various organisational aspects, I hope the attendees found the conference as rewarding as it was for me.

Dr Akira Murakami - EuroSLA32 Deputy Chair of the conference.

The conference programme included several papers delivered by both academic staff and postgraduate research students from across the three Colleges involved. Final-year UOB PhD student Yanan Lu presented at the doctoral workshops, with discussant Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele (Emeritus Professor, Birkbeck, London). This was an opportunity for Yanan to present and discuss her research plans with established academics in the field. 

Presenting at the doctoral workshop during the 32nd EuroSLA conference gave me a precious opportunity to receive valuable feedback from peers and experts. This experience not only boosted my confidence in completing my thesis but also opened doors to meaningful academic networking opportunities.

Yanan Lu - PhD student at the University of Birmingham.

The conference was also an outcome of the campus-wide research network LACAB (Language and Cognition at Birmingham), which Bene Bassetti created and led together with Andrea Krott and Jeanette Littlemore from 2019. All members of the organising committee were LACAB members.

My role as Chair of the Organising Committee offered me a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across campus. The conference certainly raised the profile of myself and my fellow LACAB colleagues in the second language research community. It was challenging but also fun!

Dr Bene Bassetti - EuroSLA32 Conference Lead.

EuroSLA believed Birmingham to be a very suitable and diverse location to discuss issues of multilingualism and the learning and use of more than one language. It was also the first EuroSLA to devote a roundtable to the topic of language learning in special populations, a topic that is one of the areas of expertise of the University of Birmingham, where many researchers are investigating deafness and Special Educational Needs in Education, English Linguistics and Psychology.