Cultures, Languages and Linguistics

Animal rights documentary


Prof Annie Goldson


Cultures, Languages and Linguistics; Communications

Project code: ART001


We are in development on a documentary that involves animal rights (explored within a critical animal studies and feminist framework). We plan for it to be a 2-3 part broadcast or streaming series that will be re-versioned as a feature for a film festival release. We intend to apply for NZ on Air and possibly NZ Film Commission funding but at this point, cannot give more detail due to commercial sensitivity. The topic involves highly relevant and sensitive political and social issues so the scholar will be need to be both resilient and engaged.

Scholar’s Work: (a) The summer scholar would take up a range of tasks depending where the development process has taken us. We may still be researching and writing proposals. In this instance, the scholar could help us summarise academic literature, conduct archival research, design proposals, conduct outreach and explore potential documentary subjects. (b) If we have gotten funding, we may be in early production. In this instance, the scholar could help us with production management (organising crew, locations, equipment and so forth), accompany us on shoots as a production runner and/or driver, if this is appropriate. They could also assist with archival research which can run in parallel with production. If they have the skills, they could begin to assist in post-production on the footage shot to date., for example, creating logs, transcriptions and timelines on editing software. (c) If we are further through production, the skills mentioned in b) would still be relevant, but in addition, the scholar may assist us with outreach, distribution and social media campaigns.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Good research and writing skills; Be an excellent team player; Confident communicator; Strong computer skills – adept at Excel, Word, Google docs; Strong social media, outreach and publicity skills; Full driver’s license; Graphic design a plus; Experience in and Premiere Pro also a plus.

Benefits to Scholar: The scholar would have the opportunity to work on a funded project with experienced and award-winning filmmakers (director and producers) and gain a holistic understanding of the many aspects of the documentary process – from development, through production and post, through to distribution. Documentary making involves a broad range of skills: understanding rhetoric and narrative (writing and editing); developing appropriate aesthetics and formal style (not just ways of filming and editing, but also in graphic, animation and music design); working ethically in one’s encounter with documentary subjects; refining research skills and written expression at every stage of the project, from archival research and proposal writing to distribution documents; extending business acumen (understanding markets, audiences, budgeting, and distribution); and learning a wide range of technical skills, basic and advanced, including working in major postproduction facilities in sound-mixing and grading.

Expectations: That they engage with the topic, are responsive and have requisite skills as cited above (or are prepared to learn), be courteous and communicate well with a wide range of individuals, including key creatives, crew and ‘cast’.

Complex conversations: Investigating new forms of citizen input into political decision-making


Dr Tatjana Buklijas

Dr Anne Bardsley


Cultures, Languages and Linguistics; Koi Tū (science studies, politics, policy)

Project code: ART007


The “Complex Conversations” project (official name Testing a postnormal approach to consensual technological evaluation and adoption, PROP-61332-ENSI-UOA) investigates how government and public organizations get citizen input around complex issues, and then proposes and tests new forms of citizen engagement. It builds on the theory and practice of the field of deliberative democracy and adapts engagement models developed overseas to Aotearoa New Zealand circumstances, in particular the alignment with Te Tiriti o Waitangi as well as the fit to political processes and structures. Over the past 2.5 years we have completed interviews and focus groups with engagement professionals and local politicians (Phase 1); we ran “deliberative workshops” with the total of 130 community members in four parts of Auckland (Phase 2a, in 2021). In Phase 2b, we are currently preparing to run a citizens’ assembly in Auckland, in collaboration with Watercare, a process in which we will invite randomly selected Aucklanders (a representative sample of 40) to deliberate and propose recommendations on the issue of “What should be the next source(s) of water for Auckland, post-2040”. We anticipate that all data collection will be completed in September 2022. The summer project relates to the analysis and interpretation of data collected in this project.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: Over the summer 2022-2023 we will be collating, transcribing, analysing and interpreting the data collected in 2022 – the final set of interviews from Phase 1, and the data collected in the citizens’ assembly. The summer scholar will be assisting the team in the data management, analysis and interpretation. Their work will include organizing research documents, transcription of audio files and written documents, editing documents and preparing them for analysis, assistance with thematic analysis including the use of nVivo software, assistance with the literature review and with the preparation of research publications as well as reports or short pieces aimed at the funder (MBIE), government organizations and media.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: The summer scholar should have good English language writing skills, good knowledge of Excel and MS Word, be resourceful and able to communicate clearly. Experience in data management and analysis is advantage but not a prerequisite: as explained below, we are building in training time and support into the project timeline. Similarly, skills in editing audio and video material are advantageous but not a prerequisite.

Benefits to Scholar: For each new task in the project, the summer scholar’s skills will be assessed by the mentors and an appropriate training plan developed. The summer scholar will receive training in qualitative data management (data transcription for example) and data analysis, including the use of nVivo software. They will receive training or skills refreshment in areas such as literature review, referencing, and academic writing. The hands-on training on the project data will be supported by the access to online learning material via subscription to the Research Accelerator (which we will provide). This programme should give the scholar a good insight into qualitative social science research and equip them with skills useful for postgraduate study (but also professional career where similar skills are required, from national and local government to NGOs and businesses).

Expectations: We expect the summer scholar to be interested in this field of research and practice, to have good work skills and habits, to be willing to learn, open and able to offer their insights and views. The scholar will be a valued member of the team and we expect that they will take part in team meetings.

Language ideologies and national identity in Taiwan


Dr Karen Huang


Cultures, Languages and Linguistics; Asian Studies; Chinese

Project code: ART012


In the 1990s, the local languages in Taiwan, particularly Southern Min, were used to symbolise Taiwanese national identity with the rise of localisation and democratisation. However, the past two decades have seen the Taiwanese national identity grow into a supra-ethnic identity with the growing threat from China. As a result, the language ideologies of the local languages, as well as the dominant language Mandarin, gradually changed. This study investigates the contemporary language ideologies of the languages in Taiwan and sees how they were used to signify Taiwanese national identity. Specifically, this study is interested in how millennials and Gen-Zs construct and use languages to symbolize their national and ethnic identities. By examining the language ideological debates on internet forums and media, this project captures how young Taiwanese utilize language varieties and (co-)construct language ideologies to express their national identity.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: The ideal summer scholar is expected to conduct work in: General literature review: Collect and write up summaries for important literature on language ideologies and national identities; Taiwan-specific literature review: Collect the literature and news events related to language policies and ideologies, and identities in Taiwan; Data analysis: collect and analyse language ideological debates (in Chinese) on online forums, newspapers, and commentaries, and conduct thematic analysis using NVivo.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Good academic writing ability and analytical skills; Training in Linguistics or Asian Studies; Advanced Chinese proficiency in reading and writing (prerequisite: CHINESE 302).

Benefits to Scholar: This project benefits the scholar in the following ways: First, this would be an excellent opportunity for the scholar to get familiar with the literature on language ideologies and national identity. I hope to introduce the scholar to the general research area. Secondly, this would be an excellent opportunity to encourage the scholar to understand the socio-cultural context in Taiwan as well as East Asia. Lastly, the data analysis will allow the scholar to examine the authentic data and further advance their Chinese language ability. The scholar will also be familiar with the qualitative tool NVivo. It is hoped that the experience will inspire them to undertake PG study to study the areal linguistic projects.

Expectations: I hope the summer scholar would be someone who is passionate about language diversity and interested in Chinese-speaking areas and their social, cultural and political issues. The scholar should have a good command of Chinese in reading comprehension, but he/she might have some difficulties in analysing some of the more difficult authentic texts. I do not expect the summer scholar to have a strong theoretical background in sociolinguistics, but I hope the student finds the issues of language and national identity interesting.

What motivates New Zealand university students’ investment and divestment in Korean?


Dr Mi Yung Park


Cultures, Languages and Linguistics; Asian Studies

Project code: ART023


This study explores New Zealand university students’ reasons for investing and/or divesting in Korean. While the Korean Wave has had tremendous effects in Asia since early 1999, it has taken off in the West only in recent years, resulting in a rapid increase in the number of people learning Korean. For example, a study by the US Modern Language Association showed that, between 2006 and 2016, the number of US university students taking Korean language courses almost doubled. The number of students taking stage 1 Korean courses at the University of Auckland has increased five-fold from 63 in 2007 to 308 in 2021. Korean popular culture may be a vital source for students’ motivation to study the language; however, little is known empirically about the degree it actually drives students to study Korean, along with other reasons for embarking on Korean language learning. Moreover, despite large numbers of beginning-level students, few continue to an advanced level of the language. Thus, it is necessary to investigate factors that lead students to divest in formal study of Korean at a relatively early stage. Understanding students’ investment and divestment in Korean is crucial in providing effective instruction and developing a healthy and sustainable language programme.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: The summer scholar will support this project by: (1) conducting a literature review; (2) reviewing questionnaire items from previous studies; and (3) conducting thematic analysis of the transcribed interview data collected for a pilot study. The scholar will be guided in all aspects of the work by the principal investigator. The scholar’s work lays the foundation for a larger qualitative study in 2023-2024, which will draw on questionnaires and interview data from students enrolled in stage 1 Korean language courses at the University of Auckland. Thus, the scholar will have the opportunity to observe and participate in the process of preparing to conduct a survey research project. The principal investigator plans to apply for a research grant to carry out this study.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: This research project requires a highly motivated student who is interested in motivation, learner identity, and language learning. The successful applicant will have: (1) the ability to communicate effectively in English; (2) strong writing and analysis skills; and (3) strong organizational skills. Previous experience in learning Korean and familiarity with Korean cultural norms are desirable but not required.

Benefits to Scholar: The summer scholar will acquire valuable experience by participating in a research project involving Korean language learners. The scholar will be introduced to language and motivation research of the kind expected of postgraduate students in the fields of Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies. In addition, the scholar will gain knowledge about the motivational characteristics and needs of the Korean language student community in New Zealand, and improve their skills in writing literature reviews and conducting thematic analysis of interview data. The scholar will also learn to work independently and to manage a research project over time (10 weeks), while enjoying opportunities to work collaboratively with others.

Expectations: The summer scholar is expected to assist the project supervisor in carrying out the proposed study by contributing to the preparation of literature reviews and summaries of interview data. Throughout this process, the scholar is expected to work collaboratively and independently in an individually supervised and supportive environment.

Language learning in Zoom breakout rooms


Dr Diana Feick


Cultures, Languages and Linguistics; German

Project code: ART026


The Covid-19 pandemic has caused drastic changes in the delivery of language classes. As a consequence, a lot of Universities including the University of Auckland have moved to online teaching, supported by web-conference tools like Zoom. An essential and innovative feature of these tools are so-called breakout rooms that allow for small group work, a characteristic feature of communicative and task-based language teaching. In contrast to peer work in traditional classrooms, the potential for teacher support and feedback in this particular online teaching environment is very limited. While we have first insights of teacher perspectives on the use of breakout rooms in online language classes (Feick & Alm 2021), little is known about the behaviour of language learners in breakout-rooms. How do they participate in breakout rooms? How do they interact with each other? How do they support each other? How do they show social presence? How do they use their first language(s) and the target language? What challenges do they face during group work in breakout rooms? Which strategies do students use to meet these challenges? This project explores questions like these by using breakout room recordings that students voluntarily shared from German classes at different course levels. The outcomes of the study will give valuable insights in the nature of language learner behaviour in breakout rooms and inform language teachers about the optimal implementation of small group work in webinar-based language teaching.

Scholar’s Work on the Project: In the first stage of the project, the work of the scholar will include searching through online databases for relevant literature on the research topic and reading these sources. The work will also include retrieving texts from the library and writing up a literature review on the topic. In the second stage the scholar will help to prepare the collected data for analysis. He/she will organise the data in an online database and will transcribe the breakout room recordings, preferably using the transcription software EXMARALDA. The scholar will also collaborate in translating relevant parts of the transcripts into English. After the data preparation, the scholar will contribute to the data analysis. This includes coding the data using the analysis software MAXQDA. The scholar will be expected to contribute intellectually to the project, helping to identify relevant codes and categories, helping to guide the overall direction of the research.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: The scholar must have at least a proficiency of German at the B1-B2 level of the Common European Framework of Competencies. The scholar must have a good understanding of how library research is conducted, and a basic understanding of how applied linguistic research is conducted. The scholar will preferably have basic skills in data transcription and qualitative data analysis. The scholar will preferably have a basic knowledge of Excel and own first experiences in language teaching (as teacher or/and learner).

Benefits to Scholar: The scholar will learn how to conduct research in applied linguistics/language teaching and/or German as a foreign language. The scholar will receive guidance during the whole project in order to develop the research skills and content knowledge needed for PG study in this field, including guidance on possible PG study options at UoA. This includes how to locate resources and obtain information from these, how to transcribe verbal data, how to prepare quantitative and qualitative data for analysis, and how to code data. The scholar will also have the opportunity to contribute intellectually to the project in having the opportunity to produce a co-authored write-up based on the data collected.

Expectations: I expect them to have a keen interest in the project. I expect the scholar to be reliable, diligent and committed, to be able to work in teams and to communicate efficiently. I also expect the scholar to be comfortable with working under deadlines and be independent in pacing their own work.