The Uses of Oracy Conference

Join us Online 26-28 January 2022


The Speaking Citizens project team presents 'The Uses of Oracy', a landmark conference on the future of speech and citizenship education.

In the spirit of Richard Hoggart's seminal The Uses of Literacy (1957), the conference aims to revive interdisciplinary dialogue between the humanities, social sciences and education. 

Over three days, we will bring together researchers, activists, students, politicians and charity leaders to think about the current state of debate over speaking and listening, citizenship and education in Britain.

 Five Rountables

We have curated five roundtables, each focusing on a key question, on which you will hear from a wide range of invited speakers, who will offer fresh and complementary perspectives intended to stimulate debate.

For details of these roundtables see the provisional programme below.

 Three Plenary Talks

We are also delighted to present three plenary talks: 

- On Wednesday 26th January, Lord David Blunkett looks back over his career as education secretary and his own relationship to 'oracy'.

- On Thursday 27th, Deborah Cameron, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Oxford will  use a case study of the BBC archive of the 1920s-30s to illuminate current discussions.

- On Friday 28th, Cyril Delhay, Professor of Oratory at Sciences-Po, Paris, will reflect on the introduction in 2021 of Le Grand Oral into the French baccalaureate.  

 How to attend?

Attendance is free. Sign up for access to all events Using the link here

All sessions will be live-streamed, and available for viewing after the event. 

Uses of Oracy Poster

Provisional Programme

Subject to change

Wednesday 26th January:

  • 12.30-13.15: Welcome and Introductory remarks
  • 13.15-14.15: Roundtable 1 “What more can be done?”
  • 15.00-16.00: Plenary 1 David Lord Blunkett Q&A  
  • 16.30-17.30: Roundtable 2 “What can we learn from the past?”

Thursday 27th January:

  • 13.30-14.30: Plenary 2 Prof. Debbie Cameron, University of Oxford (title tbc)
  • 15.00-16.00: Roundtable 3 “What speech styles do young people use?”

Friday 28th January:

  • 12.30-13.30: Plenary 3: Grand Oral Case Study, Cyril Delhay, Sciences-Po
  • 14.00-15.00: Roundtable 4: “How is citizenship performed outside the classroom?”
  • 16.00-17.00: Roundtable 5: “How are pupils’ spoken selves embraced within UK education?”