04 September 2008

Justification for funding

The principal costs for this series are shared by the travel expenses for speakers and participants; web design and maintenance; and secretarial costs. There are no costs associated with fees or with the hire of rooms.

Travel and subsistence

Speakers and academics

The series will take place in London (IOE, the British Library and Middlesex University) and Coventry, thus allowing easy access from anywhere in the UK and no overnight stays. The costs of speakers are covered and will not be exceeded. The costs of other academics and users attending the seminars will be covered by the institutions themselves from personal and departmental development funds.

Research students

The bulk of the travel and subsistence costs is devoted to research student attendance. Students from the three universities will be subsidized at £50 per student. This will cover most of their train fare to Coventry or London, including underground fares to IOE and Middlesex. Such subsidy will allow 12 students per seminar to be subsidized. The seminar series will be of particular interest to research students at the beginning of their studies, as they work out the research questions, methodology and emergent structure and format of their theses.

The proposed series envisages modest international costs. These are to cover one return air fare plus three nights’ accommodation in London for Myrrh Domingo, an outstanding PhD student working in the field of multimodality and new literacies, at New York University.


Administrative time is built in to deal with publicity, registration, arrangement at a local level (e.g. catering, room booking) and handling of expenses claims. Although the principal applicant will be responsible for the budget, he will be assisted by the administrator/secretary in the day-to-day management of the budget.

Web design and maintenance

Previous experience in running a seminar series suggests that a well-designed and well-maintained website is essential in a number of ways. It:

  • helps with publicity for the series

  • provides continuity

  • is a location where papers can be lodged in advance of and after a seminar

  • provides information for speakers, participants and those who cannot attend (e.g. other national and international academics, users and students)

Importance of the topic/rationale/why funding from other sources in unavailable

The topic is important to Education/social science departments in universities in the UK – and their staff and research students – because it gets to the heart of key issues in terms of the substance, methodology and format of the doctoral thesis. That is why the bulk of the projected funding is devoted to research students, and to the dissemination of the series through a dedicated website. A further problem is that because the issues are generic to all UK higher education institutions and to all disciplines, there is no disciplinary association or learned society funding in this area. There are no other sources of funding for the exploration of this new development, other than small departmental priming amounts. Such small amounts would not allow the coordination and scale of the series we envisage.

We need an international dimension to the project for comparative and dissemination purposes. This will be provided via the inclusion in one of the seminars of a paper by Myrrh Domingo, and outstanding doctoral student at New York University. She is engaged in research on multimodality and new literacies in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

She will attend other seminars via video- or audio-link; and co-ordinate the North American side of website materials generation and dissemination.

Her presence will allow better dissemination of the series in the USA, and extra impetus and information about practices in the USA for the website. Although she is not a senior social science researcher, she is well known to the principal organiser of the proposed seminar series in his capacity as Visiting Professor in the Steinhardt School at NYU.

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