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Professor Devyani Sharma elected a Fellow of the British Academy

The British Academy has elected Queen Mary University of London Professor of Sociolinguistics, Professor Devyani Sharma, as a new Fellow.

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Professor Devyani Sharma, Professor of Sociolinguistics in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, has been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy for her distinguished contributions to the field of humanities and social sciences.

An expert in Sociolinguistics, Professor Devyani Sharma is one of 86 academics elected for fellowship.

On hearing the announcement, Professor Devyani Sharma said: “It's a huge privilege to be elected. The Academy has a unique role in advancing SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) disciplines. My own field, Linguistics, has enormous potential for integration across SHAPE and STEM — an area of particular interest in the Academy's new Connected Knowledge initiative. I'm excited to help strengthen these bridges. Our department at Queen Mary has a long-standing commitment to innovation of this kind."

Welcoming the Fellows, the President of the British Academy, Professor Julia Black, said: "It is with great pleasure that we welcome yet another outstanding cohort to the Academy’s Fellowship. The scope of research and expertise on display across our newly elected UK, Corresponding and Honorary Fellows shows the breadth and depth of knowledge and insight held by the British Academy. It is our role to harness this to understand and help shape a better world. 

"With the vast expertise and wide-ranging insights brought by our new Fellows, the Academy continues to showcase the importance of the SHAPE disciplines in opening fresh seams of knowledge and understanding, while simultaneously advancing the well-being and prosperity of societies worldwide. I wholeheartedly congratulate each of our new Fellows on this achievement and look forward to working together."

In 2022 Professor Sharma’s research on accent bias revealed the current attitudes to accents in Britain and what impact does someone’s accent can have on their opportunities and life outcomes. Her project - Accent Bias Britain has gained considerable attention in the media – with Professor Sharma and the research team developing a suite of training and tools for employers and students to raise awareness of accent bias and help reduce its effects in hiring and career progression

Founded in 1902, the British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. It is a Fellowship of over 1600 of the leading minds in these subjects from the UK and overseas. Current Fellows include the classicist Professor Dame Mary Beard, the historian Professor Sir Simon Schama and philosopher Professor Baroness Onora O’Neill, while previous Fellows include Dame Frances Yates, Sir Winston Churchill, Seamus Heaney and Beatrice Webb. The Academy is also a funding body for research, nationally and internationally, and a forum for debate and engagement.

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