Hello and welcome to Talking About Voices! Below is some information about the project. At the bottom of this page you’ll find links to our step-by-step guides to the project: click on them to get started.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us by emailing manchester.voices@mmu.ac.uk or using our contact form.

You’re very welcome to start using the resources immediately, without waiting to attend a teacher information session first. The sessions are mostly there to give you a chance to ask questions and to meet us, and we won’t really be telling you anything that isn’t covered somewhere on the website. So no need to wait, by all means dive straight in with the project if you would like to!

What is Talking About Voices?

Talking About Voices is an opportunity for secondary school pupils in the Greater Manchester area to learn about language and identity while also learning audio production skills. The objective is for the pupils to make a short podcast episode about language and identity.

If you are interested in using these resources but work outside of the Greater Manchester area, get in touch with us using the contact details above.

This project is designed to directly link to the curriculum in a number of subjects, including (though not limited to) English, ICT/Computing, Citizenship, and EAL. Click the button below to read more about how it may specifically link to your subject and key stage.

Who’s running this project?

Talking About Voices is part of Manchester Voices, a research project at Manchester Metropolitan University. You can learn more about the other parts of the Manchester Voices project by clicking the button below – there are loads of other ways to get involved!

You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates.

We’re hoping to use this project as a way to learn more about how young people in Greater Manchester think and feel about their own language use. We’d also like to inspire interest in language among young people, and to encourage pupils to feel positive about the way they speak.

The sections of the project about the technical side of podcasting are designed by Sadie Ryan, a member of the Manchester Voices team who also makes the podcast Accentricity. Accentricity is a podcast about language and identity, and might provide pupils with a good example of a podcast on the subject they’re going to be exploring. Some episodes contain one or two swear words from interviewees, but there are swear-free episodes available on how babies learn to talk, multilingualism, the global dominance of English, and fake accents in film and TV. There are also some teaching resources available, using swear-free clips from other episodes.

Who can take part?

This project is open to all secondary school pupils in Greater Manchester, but it won’t be accessible to absolutely everyone. Click the button below for information about accessibility.

Can pupils take part from home?

Yes! This project is suitable for use in the classroom, but pupils can also access it from home, provided they have access to an internet connection, and something that they can use to record their voices – this could simply be a mobile phone.

Feel free to use the materials in the way that suits your class best. They could be used in class time or outside of class time, in school or at home, or you could work through some sections in class and set some as homework.

Telling parents and carers about the project

We’ve made an information page about the project for parents and carers, which can be found at the link below. Please feel free to share it with them.

What equipment do pupils need to take part?

There are two options for taking part in the project: Option A and Option B.

In Option A, pupils make recordings and conduct interviews but don’t do any editing, making it a bit more accessible than Option B. To take part in Option A, pupils need to have access to:
1) Something to record on: this could be a phone or a digital recorder
2) An internet connection

Our instructions assume that most pupils will be recording on phones. However, if you are working in a classroom and have digital recording devices available, you might find that it’s easier for pupils to use these.

If you would like your class to take part, but there are members of the class who don’t have both a phone and an internet connection, please email us at manchester.voices@mmu.ac.uk – we might be able to lend them some basic recording devices for the duration of the project.

Option B includes all of the same content as Option A, but pupils also learn to edit using the free editing software Audacity. This makes it a bit more challenging, and also means that pupils need to have access to a computer. However it also involves learning extra audio production skills, with more room for creativity and the chance to make a more complete podcast episode.

What happens at the end of the project?

Schools will be invited to submit pupils’ podcast episodes to the Manchester Voices team, by Friday 1st April 2022 at the latest. The team will select a small number of the best episodes as competition winners. Each prize winner will receive a prize.

The winning pieces will be made publicly available online, and may be broadcast on the radio and/or played on podcast feeds. All of the submitted pieces will help to inform the wider Manchester Voices project, giving the team an insight into how young people in Greater Manchester relate to their own language use and that of their community.

How do I get started?

Click on the buttons below for step-by-step guides to completing the project using Option A and Option B.

If at any point you need to find a particular page, there are links to key pages in the site menu, which appears on every page. If you’re on a computer, this will probably appear on the right of each page. If you’re on a phone or tablet, you’ll probably need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it.