UrBEn-ID is being carried out by Dr Rob Drummond and Dr Susan Dray from Manchester Metropolitan University with the help and support of the educational teams and pupils in each of the research sites. This project would not be possible without them and we are indebted to them and very grateful for their time, patience and interest.
Rob has a background in sociophonetics and dialect acquisition. He is particularly interested in the ways in which identity is constructed through language, especially at the level of sound (accent). Having spent some time last year in learning centres within Manchester’s Secondary Pupil Referral Unit as part of a pilot study, Rob is keen to explore the ways in which certain linguistic features and practices are used by young people to position themselves in relation to their context, particularly when these features relate to what might be seen as some kind of Multicultural Urban British English variety. This brings in issues of ethnicity, authenticity, and gender.
Rob is a senior lecturer in Linguistics at MMU, and is heavily involved with the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies.
Susan’s background is in socio-linguistics. She is interested in the role of language in communication processes and how language, meaning and knowledge change as they move (or fail to move) across different practices and different spaces. In this project she is interested in learning about how young people enact identities (by looking at the skills, materials, technologies and knowledges they bring to these acts), what these identities mean to them and what they mean to others, in order to think about how any differences might work together in the future. In previous research she has explored how sexualities are performed in Jamaican dancehall music practices; how the distinction between English and Patois is known (or not) in Jamaica; how ‘ethnicities’ are performed in young people’s language practices in Manchester, and how ‘authentic’ language is created in interactions between people.