This year’s finalists had a very busy schedule. Working hard on their dissertations and submitting their final pieces of coursework, as well as job-hunting, several of them seemed to find time to set up the first ever student journal for those working in Applied Linguistics and Language-related disciplines.
Aptly named the Swansea Linguistics Journal, the process of setting up an editorial team, clarifying the criteria for submissions and sending out the call for papers was far from easy work. However, from inception to launch, the student’s energy, vision and creativity, yet again, amazed and impressed the staff.
Launching the journal at the Dissertation Symposium, the editorial team were keen to share with us their experiences in this endeavour with the hope that some of our other students might get involved! This is what they had to say:
This year was my final year of my degree, and I was lucky enough to be part of the team involved in setting up the first ever student Applied Linguistics journal at Swansea University. As an editor I was responsible for liaising with the article contributors; organizing deadlines and workload distribution for each team member, and ensuring that each article was edited to standard. I also took the role of Design Manager alongside fellow student, Georgie Winters, who designed all our logos, while I was responsible for website development, as well as creating the template for the journal. These roles were fantastic for working on my inter-personal, organizational and creative skills, as well as giving me valuable managerial experience.
The journal spawned out of a desire to recognise students’ work and it has been a student led project from the start – written by students, edited by students and designed by students. We had a broad cross-section of work highlighting undergraduates, postgraduates, and our spotlight on a lecturer section. The topics covered range from teaching methods, through to dialect studies, and age effects on working memory. It is a kaleidoscope of achievement. Our dream is that the journal will inspire future students to achieve the best they can and give them an avenue to show that work with pride to the outside world.
We assumed that it would be quite challenging to get enough pieces of work from students but we were inundated with options! It was great experience to proof read through them all (with all personal details taken out so as not to have bias) and work as a team to determine which papers to show and why we had chosen them. While we did have some issues at first with setting up the website, deciding on a name that everyone liked and fitting meetings around everyone’s different schedules, we soon fell into a rhythm and things sailed along after that! I really would recommend getting involved with the journal for its second edition, either by submitting work or being part of the actual team!
Why a journal? When I first started my degree in 2015, it struck me that there was very little happening in the way of student involvement in our subject area outside class. I wanted to start something that would not only help students to form and feel more of a community but also something that would become an inspiration and aspirational focus for their studies.
It was very challenging at first as a) I’d never done anything like this before and didn’t know where to start, and b) the prevailing belief was ‘why bother?’. I knew I needed to firstly research how to set up and run a journal. Secondly, I needed to convince everyone (staff and students) that it was a good idea. Luckily, I was blessed with help from two different quarters: Amy Megson, who is the Chief Editor of Gorffennol, Swansea Univeristy’s History journal, gave me hours of priceless meetings; helping me to understand the structure and organisation needed to run a journal, while Dr Alexia Bowler (lecturer in the department for Applied Linguistics) helped me to find ways of connecting with staff and students.
Once the basic ideas were laid down, we needed to find a team. After a short recruitment drive, Swansea Linguistics Journal was officially formed. The next challenge was encouraging submissions. However, we need not have been worried about this as we received many more submissions than we were able to print – the desire for a journal was obviously shared by the student body! Once the submissions were in and decisions had been made, the team then went to work on design and publishing and we launched the first ever issue during the dissertation showcase in May.
The journal has been a great journey and one which has taught us many skills from organisation, PR, publishing, designing, proof reading, editing, and managing social media! All of these are great skills for your CV.
Next year, the journal will have a new team as all of us are leaving for pastures new, but I hope that it continues to grow and develops into a staple of the Applied Linguistics experience at Swansea!
If any of our students are interested in joining the team and/or submitting to the journal, you can contact our first new recruits Atlee and Ashley at: firstname.lastname@example.org