Language Policy Forum 2018

Language policy in the age of diversity: Dilemmas and hopes

31 May — 1 June 2018, Sheffield Hallam University, UK


Click here for the online version of the programme (printable version to follow).

Click here for the abstracts.


Registration deadline for non-presenting attendees: 30 April.


  • Employed full-time, BAAL non-member: £65 (to join BAAL, click here).
  • Employed full-time, BAAL member: £60
  • Student with conference funding: £20
  • BAAL student member: £0
  • Fractional, adjunct, hourly-paid, retired, unfunded PhD student, or between jobs: £0
  • Dinner, 31 May at Piccolino (optional): £15
    • NOTE: we have kept the dinner fee low, for inclusivity, by agreeing with the restaurant a fixed menu: bread & olives starter, then choice of one meat dish (Pollo Milanese: Chicken breast with parmesan & rosemary breadcrumb and mozzarella & spaghetti pomodoro) or one vegan (Rigatoni pomodoro: pasta, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, basil), plus glass of wine/juice. Dietary needs can be accommodated; and diners can pay for extras like desserts individually.

To register:

1) Click here to make a registration account

2) Click here to register

(If you already registered for the conference but not the dinner, then you reconsidered the dinner, you can book in for that separately here.)


The conference will feature British Sign Language interpreters - we ask deaf delegates to contact us on to ensure interpreters are present in their chosen parallel session. We are extremely grateful to the Humanities Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University for making this possible.

If you have other accessibility needs, please also email to discuss.

Plenary speaker(s): Prof. Marilyn Martin-Jones (University of Birmingham), Prof. Tony Liddicoat (University of Warwick)

Editors’ Panel (for advice on publishing):

Our sponsors

Venue: Owen Building, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB. Five minute walk from Sheffield central train station. Click 'View larger map' below to work out directions from elsewhere.

Travel: we suggest ordering your train tickets as early as possible, via Train tickets in the UK are dramatically more expensive if you buy them on the day, especially for longer distances; and they become gradually more expensive as the date of travel approaches. (NOTE: if you pay and select to collect your ticket from the train station, you may be told you can only collect your ticket from a specific station, but actually this has recently changed; you can now pick up your ticket from any UK train station with your booking reference.)

Accommodation in Sheffield is very affordable. We recommend and/or to find somewhere (though some universities will not reimburse AirBnB accommodation for insurance reasons, so check that first). The Ibis and Travelodge hotels in central Sheffield are about 5-10 minutes' walk from the venue, and both relatively affordable and modern. (The Best Western is closer and also cheap, but a bit old and worn!) The university is also on the Sheffield tram route, so you could stay a little outside of the centre and still have easy access.

Map with walking directions

Point A: Sheffield train station. Point B: university main entrance (for all rooms). Point C: Piccolino, conference dinner restaurant. Point D: Head of Steam, recommended after-dinner pub.

Click here to open the map in a new window.

The Language Policy Forum 2018 invites scholars, practitioners and other stakeholders to take stock of what language policy means in times of growing diversity. We are especially interested in presentations that discuss dilemmas (language-related problems in the world) and hopes (possible solutions, perhaps as a result of applying research findings).

Language policy permeates all domains of life, from the workplace, to the home and family, to schools, government, and other institutional settings. It materialises as something that enables some people to participate in these domains of life, and constrains others. The BAAL Language Policy group exists to enable dialogue on all areas of language policy research. We therefore encourage theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions from fields such as (but by no means limited to): sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, political philosophy, economics, education, globalisation, and migration.

As well as presentations of new empirical findings, we encourage discussions of our own diversity of research practices: topics and data, methodologies, and practical applications. We also encourage pedagogical submissions, exploring innovative approaches to the teaching of language policy in higher education.

Within this broad scope, we have no preferred themes or sub-disciplinary areas. This is the Language Policy Forum, a forum for all research about language policy.

Updates and preliminary discussions will take place on the mailing list of the Language Policy special interest group. The group is open to all, and free to join. Just click the 'Join!' link in the menu at the top of this page.

Finally, there will be book raffles at the end of the Forum, so please don’t miss the fun!

Feel free to contact us with any queries. We are listed under the 'Committee members' page, linked in the menu at the top.

A note about the conference fees & dinner

We are aiming for maximum inclusivity in this conference, at all career stages, and taking into account variations in job security throughout academia. For this reason we are keeping costs low, which includes not providing lunch, or a wine reception. (There is an excellent canteen on campus for delegates to buy lunch, or supermarkets a few minutes away in the city centre for cheaper alternatives.) Instead we are spending our budget mainly on ensuring everyone can take part, including sign language interpreters, childcare, and coffee! The conference dinner will also be cheaper than is conventional, also in the interests of inclusivity, limited to a set main course (meat or vegetarian) and one drink. Diners can order extra items like desserts individually on the night.