Colours of the Alphabet forms the heart of an innovative practice- based research project developed and produced over five years by two filmmaker-academics based at Newcastle University and the University of the West of Scotland. Early stage research and development support was also provided by the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University.
The research project aimed to capture and reveal the complexities of our multilingual world, specifically focusing on ethnographic and linguistic anthropological perspectives of minority languages and education.
The project’s wider research aims were threefold:
- to highlight the importance of mother-tongue education globally
- to explore the capacity of creative documentary filmmaking as a research methodology uniquely equipped to reveal the often unspoken relationship between language use and societal norms
- to investigate mutually beneficial structures to enable academic-film industry collaboration within feature documentary development, production, distribution and impact campaigning.
As well as the film, the filmmakers have published various articles related to the project. A list of which can be found below.
For more information on the research surrounding the project, or for academic screenings, presentations or institutional copies of the film please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the director through his Newcastle University profile.
Selected published articles related to the project.
- Cole, A & Higgins N (2020), Colours of the Alphabet Impact Report.
- Cole A. Editing the Observed: Evaluation and Value Creation Processes in the Editing of a Feature Documentary Film. In: Craig Batty, Marsha Berry, Kath Dooley, Bettina Frankham, Susan Kerrigan, ed. The Palgrave Handbook of Screen Production. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan, 2019, pp.243-255.
- Cole A. Language Lessons. Anthropology News 2019, 60(5), 8-12.
- Cole A, Higgins N. From doctoral project to cinematic release: A dialogue on the impact pathway of Colours of the Alphabet.Journal of Media Practice and Education 2018, 19(3), 243-255.
- Cole A. Documentary Film as a Research Tool: Schooling for Modernity in Rural Zambia. In: Bell D, ed. Mind the Gap: Working papers on practice based doctoral research in the creative arts and media. Dublin: Distillers Press, National College of Art & Design, 2016.
And further article exploring the film and themes of the project can be read at
- Smith-Khan, L. Schooling challenges of multilingual children, Languages on the Move. 2018.