Call for Activities, Talks and Volunteers

We are currently welcoming applications for activities and talks at this year’s Dublin Language Garden. This is an opportunity to put your research into practice and to share it with the public in an engaging way.  

ACTIVITIES – If you want to propose an activity, email Emily Barnes at and use the subject line ‘Activity’ by Tuesday 27th June 2017

LIGHTNING TALKS – If you want to be considered for one of 3 postgraduate lightning talk spaces we have available, please email Sarah Sheridan at, and use the subject line “DLG Lightning Talks” by Tuesday 27th June 2017

VOLUNTEERS – If you want to volunteer either at the event, or in the lead up to the event, email Antoin Rodgers at and use the subject line “Volunteers”.  The call for volunteers is open up to the event on 22nd September (although to make sure you get a free t-shirt, please register to volunteer before 31st August 2017)

Call for Lightning Talks!

Calling all PG Students – Would you like your research to be accessible to a public audience? Do you relish the challenge of giving a 5-minute Lightning Talk with no slides?

We also have three Lightning Talk slots available for postgraduate researchers within the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences.  Lightning Talks are 5 minutes long, and are your opportunity to tell the world about your research, using just your communication skills, and a microphone!  If you want to be considered for one of these slots, speaking alongside some of the leading academics within the School, please email Sarah Sheridan at by Tuesday 27th June 2017

Call for Volunteers!

“What if I don’t have an idea for a talk or activity, but still want to be a part of the Dublin Language Garden?”

Don’t worry!  We are still looking for volunteers who can help bring this event to fruition!  That might be through distributing posters around Dublin, or by helping out to decorate the Garden and supervise activities on the night!  If you are keen to be involved, and will be available on Friday 22nd September (or before), then contact Antoin Rodgers at  Be sure to include ‘Volunteers’ in the subject line of the email.


You may have questions……

What do you mean by ‘Activity’?

Activities should be:

  • Game-like or in some way interactive
  • Take no more than a few minutes for visitors to complete
  • Reflect a linguistic theory or practice, either something you are researching currently, or something you have an interest in generally
  • Accessible to people of ALL ages

Does a poster count as an activity?

No.  Posters can only used if they are accompanying an activity, and the poster is needed to provide additional information on how to either play the game, or interact with the activity.  They may also be used for a very brief explanation of the linguistic theory the activity is demonstrating, but they must contain absolutely no academic jargon (unless it is explained clearly), and definitely no graphs!

What Activities have been used in previous years?

  • Morpheme Boggle – players have 30 seconds to come up with as many words as possible using the morphemes available to them.  The winner gets a small prize.
  • ‘What Accent’ – visitors listened to recordings of various accents from around Dublin, and guessed where they thought the speaker was from. In turn they then had the chance to record a short clip of their own for others to take a guess at.
  • The Language Change Board Game – based on games such as ‘The Game of Life’ and Monopoly, the board game presented various scenarios that have been shown to alter the course of a language in society, from invasion to politics to trade.  This was aimed at player aged 7 upwards.
  • Family Phrases – visitors added phrases to a ‘tree’ that form part of their family’s idiolect, but that wouldn’t be understandable to anyone else.
  • The Sound Garden – a foam-board cut out tree with an MP3 player in it that played sound files related to activities else where in the Dublin Language Garden.
  • Cryptolect Treasure Hunt – used in the ‘Night Garden’ part of the evening in 2016 – words from cryptolects were displayed around the room, with information about their origin – players had to find them all.
  • Internet Slang Crossword Puzzle – players had to guess the internet slang from clues and fill in the giant crossword.
  • Live research – in previous years, some researchers have chosen to use the DLG as an opportunity to ‘crowdsource’ data.  However, this still has to be through a fun and engaging activity, and written ethical approval must be sought in advance of the Dublin Language Garden.  A copy of the approval submitted to the DLG Committee before we can allow the activity to be set up on the night.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain ethical approval, the DLG Committee takes no responsibility for the process or decision of ethical approval.

Who pays for developing the activity?

The Dublin Language Garden has a small budget that can help to bring your activity to life.  This could mean buying some props or toys that can help to illustrate your research, printing or developing materials for games, or providing small ‘lucky dip’ prizes for winners of games.  The pot is limited though, so we have to make sure that the funds are allocated fairly, and only for necessary expenses.  You can talk with Emily or Vicky in the DLG team to see how feasible your idea is, just email

If I suggest and develop an activity, do I have to be there on Culture Night?

Yes!  If you propose an activity to be placed in the Garden it is your responsibility to set it up before the DLG opens, to supervise the activity and explain it to the visitors, and then take it down again at the end of the night.  

So what do I get out of this?

The ability to demonstrate and communicate your research is not something that is specifically taught during your PhD or MPhil, but it is becoming an increasingly important skill for a PhD or MPhil graduate.  More and more funding is based on the ‘impact’ and outreach of your research, and therefore the need to communicate why your research is both interesting and important for the general public will become apparent as you progress throughout your career.  Moreover, explaining your research in non-technical terms also improves your abilities as a lecturer.  Plus, you get to dress up for the evening and have fun!

If you sign up as a volunteer for the evening before 31st August, you will also get a free DLG T-Shirt to wear on the night (and any other time, they’re so lovely why wouldn’t you want to?!)