Strands and Themes

STRAND I – Language and Linguistics

Theme: Multilingualism and society

Dr. Sebastian Muth, Department of Linguistics and English Language, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University

This strand discusses multilingualism as indicative of the relationship between language and society. Based on an understanding of language as a key site where social inequalities are (re)produced, this strand is interested in contributions that take a critical perspective on multilingualism and that investigate sites such as the state, the economy, legal settings, or education. Indicative areas of research include, but are not limited to:

  • Language policy and -planning
  • Bi-/Multilingualism and education
  • Language ideologies
  • Commodification of languages and speakers
  • Language and neoliberal governmentality
  • Linguistic landscapes

STRAND II – Digital Education 

Theme: Transforming education through immersive learning

Dr. Nor Hafizah Adnan, STEM Enculturation Research Centre, Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia 

The strand focuses on bringing digitalization in education to the next level through immersive learning. Immersive learning is an educational approach that uses technology to create a simulated environment where students can actively engage with and interact within their learning materials. It includes augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences, among others. Immersive learning has the potential to transform education by making it more engaging and interactive which can lead to increased student motivation and better retention of information. Additionally, immersive learning can also provide opportunities for students to learn in a safe and controlled environment, such as interactive 3D models and simulations of real-world scenarios. Both AR and VR can be used to provide students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that would have otherwise been difficult or impossible to replicate in a traditional classroom setting.

The following topics are of particular interest to this strand:

  • Gamification in education
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality in classrooms
  • Immersive learning for special education
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality in remote learning and online education

STRAND III – Contemporary Arts

Theme: Hidden voices

Dr Maryam Ghorbankarimi, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University

This theme focuses on untold stories that have shaped specific individuals, communities, or larger social movements. Hidden voices help us make connections to events that have shaped society and are often unheard and not included in historical accounts. We seek to bring to light unsung heroes, impactful stories, and contributions of underrepresented individuals and groups.

The strand welcomes discussion on the following topics:

  • How do you visually represent ‘the other’
  • How can we depict plurality of voice
  • Gender and sexual representation
  • How can film, theatre, fine art and other creative subjects help rewrite the biased histories?

STRAND IV – Psychology

Theme: Diversity and inclusivity in Psychology

Dr Alia Azalea, Department of Psychology, School of Medical and Life Sciences, Sunway University

Individuals varied, biologically, socially and environmentally, which shaped their thoughts, feelings, and affect how they interact with others. Thus, psychology is important as we try to understand ourselves and others to enable a more harmonious relationship that is based on empathy, acceptance of diversity and a sense of inclusivity. Having a holistic understanding of all individuals in our society will encourage a better relationship instead of division between us. Particular interests to this strand are research that focuses on:

  • inclusivity of diverse individuals based on, but not limited to, cultural beliefs, disabilities, religion, sexual orientation, and others.



STRAND I – Language and Linguistics

Theme: Linguistic diversity in second language education

Dr. Nur Ainil Sulaiman, Department of Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia 

This strand discusses learner diversity and linguistic diversity in relation to their cultural beliefs, home languages, socioeconomic status and other factors. These factors affect learners’ experiences of second language learning. The following topics are of a particular interest to this strand:

  • Language learning styles and cognitive learning styles in second language classrooms
  • Learning experiences in second language classrooms
  • Multifarious teaching strategies for learners of a second or foreign language
  • Research embracing learner diversity in second language classrooms

STRAND II – Digital Education 

Theme: Re-designing digital education for lower and higher education

Dr. Helmi Norman, Department of Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia 

The strand focuses on integration of technology for catering the needs of educators and learners at lower and higher education levels. As technology is rapidly advancing, there is an urge to integrate technology for digital teaching and learning, Yet, technological integration without proper digital pedagogical and learning design, can rather cause disruption in teaching and learning instead of enhancing it. Thus, the strand discusses and uncovers re-design of technological integration for lower and higher education relating to the following themes.

  • Gamification or game-based learning for lower and higher education
  • Massive open online course (MOOC)-based design for lower and higher education
  • Digital technologies for special education in lower and higher education
  • Online learning analytics and learning patterns in lower and higher educational learning environments

STRAND III – Sociology

Theme: Representation and power

Dr Laura Clancy, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University

This topic understands culture as a key site where meaning is produced, and how cultural representations give us the framework through which we understand the world. Why does it matter if some people are represented, and not others? What kind of understandings are being produced, and which are not? How might media and culture produce ‘consent’ for how society is organised? And how might media and culture produce ‘consent’ for particular systems of inequality?

STRAND IV – Psychology

Theme: Relationships in the Modern World

Dr Eliza Berezina, Department of Psychology, School of Medical and Life Sciences, Sunway University

This strand focuses on discussion of topics clustered around the following theoretical areas:

  • Gender differences in romantic relationships
  • Cultural similarities and differences in relationship goals
  • A cross-cultural perspective on romantic love
  • Relationships during the pandemic
  • Digital romantic relationships (using dating Apps, having only virtual relationship etc.)
  • How to end relationships



Our Keynote Speakers are:

Dr Oksana Afitska

Department of Linguistics and English Language, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University

Keynote title: Language Education and Language in Education in Globalised World

Abstract: Nowadays educational systems worldwide encourage learning through the medium of a second language or via integration of second language into non-language areas of the curriculum. While these practices create opportunities, they also pose challenges for both students and teachers. One of the challenges, for example, lies in the fact that proficient use of subject-specific and academic language is usually non-compulsory in the context of primary classrooms, however well-developed competency in academic language and discipline-specific discourse becomes essential for successful acquisition of key areas of the curriculum at secondary and tertiary levels. In this presentation, drawing on the findings from my own and other scholars’ research, I unpack this and other challenges and show how they can be mitigated through the development of curriculum, teaching methods and learning resources.

Dr Nur Ehsan Bin Mohd Said 

Department of Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia 

Keynote title: ELT in a Multilingual Country: Is Differentiated Instruction the Way forward?

Abstract: Differentiated instruction (DI) is a teaching philosophy that promotes more accommodating pedagogy in dealing with various types of learning needs within intact classrooms. Thus, this talk centres around DI and its implementation in an ESL context in Malaysia. The first part aims to present cases that unravel the struggle by local English language learners (ELL) and teachers. It includes the psychological perplexity of language users from some localities who equate practising English with having a colonised mind. In addition to discussing the general state of positive language attitude in the country, the talk will also highlight the nuances of language attitude in terms of affective, behavioural, and cognitive components. In the second part of the talk, findings from a longitudinal mixed methods study on the effects of DI on ELLs’ language attitude are reported. The findings will lead to the discussion of pivotal issues such as why DI matters in ESL classrooms, the learners who will benefit from it the most, role of English native speakers, and the future of DI in Malaysia.

Professor Don Passey

Department of Educational Research, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University

Keynote title: Future hybrid education and planning professional development

Abstract: Educational futures continue to be uncertain, not just because of the current Covid-19 pandemic, but due to the need for education to align with ongoing, continuous and contemporary change. Those changes can affect social practices, societal needs, and technological possibilities. There is a need to integrate uses of technology to support education, again not just during the pandemic time, but to support wider student involvement and participation in the future. This presents a contemporary challenge for education – to develop sustained, long-term, effective teacher practices with current and future digital technologies. Some people, throughout their lives, adapt to technological change; they apply technologies not just for social or leisure purposes, but also to their learning, training, or employment needs. This presentation describes the outcomes of a joint study, proposing an approach to address this need.

Dr Mei-Hua Lin

Department of Psychology, School of Medical and Life Sciences, Sunway University

Keynote title: Trust Development across Culture and Context

Abstract: Trust is a critical driver of human behaviour in both work and interpersonal interactions. Less is understood about distrust. Understanding the antecedents (i.e. trustworthiness, personality, leadership) and the consequences of trust and distrust are essential across various contexts. My research had examined trust and distrust in teamwork, workplace, and across different cultures. It has been found that 1) trust and distrust relationship is complex with different antecedents and outcomes; 2) trust and distrust relationship vary across personal, team, and organization contexts; 3) trust and distrust impact work outcomes through teamwork processes such as team communication and commitment; 4) social and cultural cognition affects trust development and context plays a critical role, and; 5) there are national differences in preference for trustworthiness of leaders during leadership selection. Ultimately, this body of knowledge could facilitate trust development during multinational collaborations.

Dr Yang Hu

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University

Keynote title: COVID-19, Social Inequalities, Well-being: Mapping the Margins

Abstract: In unprecedented ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated persistent, intersecting social inequalities, whilst creating new ones. In this talk, drawing on the analysis of large-scale cross-national surveys, in-depth interviews, and documents, I present fresh evidence on the socio-economic and mental health impact of the pandemic across diverse social groups (e.g. ethnic/racial minority groups, migrant groups, adolescents, and older adults). I show how the impact varies with people’s pre-pandemic social, economic, and health vulnerabilities. I discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the evidence, paying particular attention to how we can and need to reconsider our understanding of social structures and infrastructures along the intersecting lines of age, gender, class, ethnicity/race, and migrant status. Looking into the future, I also discuss what inequalities in the social and well-being impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic might mean for the post-pandemic world.

Dr Novel Lyndon Anak

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Malaysia

Keynote title: Sociological perspective on the development of malay lesbian’s sexual behaviour in Malaysia

Abstract: Lesbianism is considered a criminal act when viewed in  terms of traditional culture and deviant behaviour for the society in Malaysia. Nevertheless, this group is seen as becoming more active and steadily expanding due to the changes that are taking place in their social environment as a result of the process of modernisation and industrialisation. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to investigate the development of lesbian sexual behaviour among Malay youths. This study employed a qualitative approach. A total of ten informants comprising Malay youths who have chosen to live as lesbians were selected using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. The data obtained were analysed thematically using the Nvivo software. All the informants were interviewed using the face-to-face in-depth interview method as well as using the social media through Twitter. Results showed that the development of sexual behaviour among the Malay youths were caused by their feelings of attraction towards women, experience of being let down by men, feelings of inferiority because of their physical appearance, feelings of distrust towards the marriage institution, and exposure to pornographic videos at a young age. The conclusion of the study is that the process of an individual’s sexual identity development is the result of the interaction between the individual and the outside community through social support involving six stages, i.e. confusion, comparison, tolerance, acceptance, pride and synthesis which are felt by the individual.