Anonymous is dead - an Inaugrual Lecture by Professor Tim Grant

Prof Tim Grant
Prof Tim Grant
Anonymous is dead. Exaggeration, capability and instrusion in forensic linguistic investigation.

Public lecture by Tim Grant, 50th Anniversary Chair in Forensic Linguistics

Date: Thursday 17th November 2016

Time: 18:30 start. Refreshments available from 17:30. A buffet will follow the lecture

Venue: Mike Wright Lecture Theatre, 6th floor, Main Building, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET (a short walk from Birmingham City centre)


The Aston Inaugurals showcase and celebrate the research of hte University's recently appointed professors on a diverse range of topics.

About the lecture

This talk will show how forensic linguistics can help identify anonymous online criminals and also explain where forensic linguists are likely to fail.

I will argue that both the successes and failures can be explained by understanding linguistic identity - who we are, and how we express who we are through our language.  I will show how language analysis can assist in the delivery of justice by providing reliable and convincing evidence for the Courts, and also show how - without a good theory of linguistic identity - forensic linguists can overreach in their claims in Court.

Applying a new theory of linguistic identity to the investigation of online child abuse, I will set out a new research challenge for forensic linguists by describing an "author research" problem, and I will show how developments by colleagues from the Centre for Forensic Linguistics are already addressing this issue.  Finally I will address the tension between invasion of privacy and the delivery of justice, and explore whether an ethical liability model can create a distinction between justified intrusion and violation of rights in this context.

About the speaker

Professor Tim Grant is the Director of the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at the university.  Tim has extensive experience in providing linguistic evidence in a variety of cases including sexual assault, stalking, murder and terrorism.  His work has appeared in featured newspaper articles and on BBC radio programmes such as Word of Mouth, Crimewatch and The One Show.

Reasons to attend

  • listen to an acclaimed speaker in forensic linguistics
  • learn about the impact Aston's research has on society
  • opportunity to network with Tim find out more about his research in detail, meet academics from Language and Social Sciences and other academics from other university's and national businesses over a complimentary buffet.

For further information please contact Karen Newman-Brown on 0121 204 4542 or email the events team The Lecture is open to the general public and is free of charge.