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The Language of Bureaucracy

Ian McMillan explores the language of bureaucracy with writer and academic Paul Taylor, and poet and artist Heather Phillipson, who reads a new specially written piece.

Ian McMilllan explores the language of bureaucracy with writer and academic Paul Taylor, and the poet and artist Heather Phillipson. Heather was chosen as one of the Next Generation Poets 2014, and she has written a new piece especially for The Verb.

The academic and writer Julie Schumacher has examined the culture of bureaucracy within academia in her novel 'Dear Committee Members', an epistolary novel using Letters of Recommendation.

45 minutes

Julie Schumacher

Julie Schumacher

Julie Schumacher’s novel ‘Dear Committee Members’ (The Friday Project) is a novel written entirely in the form of reference letters. Julie explains what it was like to work within such a restrictive form and how she relates to her protagonist  -  a ‘small, evil’ part of her. For Julie bureaucratic language eliminates choice, leading to stale, automatic phrasing.


 Julie Schumacher

Heather Phillipson

Heather Phillipson

The poet and artist Heather Phillipson has written a new piece for us inspired by bureaucratic language. Using spoken work and music, Heather’s composition uses sampling, repetition and mixes her natural voice with her synthesised voice. Heather Phillipson is one of the 2014 Next Generation poets and her debut collection Instant-Flex 718 is published by Bloodaxe.

Heather Phillipson


Heather Phillipson on Twitter

Marc Morris

Marc Morris

The historian Marc Morris is the author of ‘King John: treachery, tyranny and the Road to the Magna Carta’ (Hutchinson). He explains that bureaucratic documents can be and  incredibly important resource for a historian, and how it developed under King John.

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Communications Theory at the University of Leeds. Paul is frustrated by bureaucratic language, and delves into literature to find a cure for its worst ills. Paul’s latest book is co-written with David Gunkel, ‘Heidegger and the Media’-  out now from Polity.

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