Imagining inclusivity: The role of language in an increasingly diverse Ireland

July 1, 2021

10am-1 pm Irish Standard Time

Online (Event is free but please register by June 29, 2021: )


This workshop is designed to facilitate dialogue between academics, policymakers, practitioners, and NGOs in imagining a more inclusive Ireland, and the role that language plays in how we envisage this inclusivity. The event stems from the project ‘Languages, Families, and Society’ (LaFS) at NUI Galway, which uses an ethnographic approach to understand more about the everyday lived experiences families who speak Irish as a home language; Polish as a home language; and Kurdish as a home language, and how these experiences intersect with language policy and support (or lack thereof) at the wider level.

The workshop will consist of five 10-minute presentations, followed by 5 minutes for questions.  We will then break out into groups and take part in a targeted discussions about key issues before coming back together as a whole group. Our collective thoughts and recommendations will form the basis of a document to be published on the project’s website.  Even if you do not wish to participate in the group discussions, we warmly invite you to attend this workshop.


Dr.  Cassie Smith-Christmas (Roinn na Gaeilge, NUI Galway) is the research fellow with LaFS. This project builds on her extensive research within the area of ‘Family Language Policy’ which encompasses work with in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht and the Hebrides of Scotland.

Professor Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin (Roinn na Gaeilge, NUI Galway) is the mentor with LaFS.  He is a pioneer of ‘Family Language Policy’ in an Irish language context and has conducted research in Gaeltacht communities, across Ireland and in other minoritised language settings in Europe, as well as advising state and community language planning agencies.

Annie Asgard (Claddagh National School, Galway) is an EAL teacher and Chairperson of English Language Support Teachers’ Association of Ireland (ELSTA).  Annie has extensive experience working with EAL learners of different backgrounds in different contexts, ranging from primary schools to refugee camps.

Dr. Lorraine Connaughton-Crean (Institute of Education, Dublin City University) helped design the NCAA Primary Curriculum for Languages (2019).  She recently completed her PhD thesis (2020) which explored the linguistic experiences of Polish-speaking families in Ireland.

Dr. Carmen Kealy (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway) is part of the research team Crisis Coping: Living and Learning through COVID-19 which is a HRB and IRC funded study (collaboration between UCFRC and the School of Education). With a strong research interest in parenting and migration, she completed her PhD thesis (2019) on the experience of Polish parents in Galway.

This workshop is hosted by the project ‘Languages, Families, and Society’ (Grant no.: 794800) at NUI Galway, in conjunction with the Moore Institute and the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism (CALM).

“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 794800”.

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