Colloquium VocUM (from now on VocUM) is a non-profit organization whose objective is the establishment of an annual event, a multidisciplinary colloquium on language. Its primary objective is to open a space for sharing the results of student research on language. This objective has two motivations, which stem from the shortcomings of the current structure of master’s and Ph.D. programs.
On the one hand, language is an object of study for many disciplines. However, these remain largely isolated from each other, as evidenced by the very compartmentalized training offered in graduate studies (a single department, a single supervision, a very specialized subject). On the other hand, higher education is currently based on three activities perceived as priorities: schooling, carrying out the research project and writing the dissertation or thesis. In doing so, certain crucial aspects of the researcher’s profession are neglected, in this case the dissemination of research results – through participation in conferences and the publication of articles –, professional networking and research within multidisciplinary teams. Students therefore do not have the opportunity to develop the related skills: oral communication, writing, interpersonal skills (communication, adaptability, teamwork, etc.). All of these elements put together contribute to the loneliness experienced by many people in graduate studies, on the personal (little interaction with peers), intellectual (little feedback from peers) and professional (little dissemination and therefore recognition of research projects) level.
It is this double issue that the project tackles. Indeed, VocUM allows the next generation of researchers to give a presentation on their work in front of a community of peers and to write an article resulting from this communication, and this, in a multidisciplinary context which promotes the integration of different perspectives and therefore the development of innovative solutions.
The name “VocUM” derives from the plural genitive of the Latin noun “vox”. Its different meanings (human voice, sound, pronunciation, accent, speech, word, saying, proverb, language, etc.) bring together the different academic disciplines concerned with the conference. Moreover, the suffix “UM” underlies the conference’s affiliation to the Université de Montréal (UdeM).