Transnationalizing Modern Languages

Last week, I attended an event held at the British Academy in London which addressed many of the challenges facing Modern Languages as a discipline, and which proposed innovative responses to these challenges.

The event was structured around the following questions:

  • How do Modern Languages promote cultural as well as linguistic competences that are vital in an increasingly globalized world?
  • How do University curricula articulate with the range of subjects that students study in schools?
  • How do they encourage a nuanced and inclusive understanding of notions of translation within multicultural spaces and societies?
  • How do they enable students to compete and meet the demands of a changing workplace?

Put simply, to quote Prof. Charles Burdett (Bristol), how do Modern Linguists – researchers and students – articulate what Modern Languages study is?

This blog is one small part of responding to that challenge, as it aims to present the various strands that go into ML research activities – from queuing for hours to get into a Parisian library with a one-in, one-out policy (see Jan 2015 posts) to being interviewed on the Martinican evening news (see this post).

006 me on atv

The large project, ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’ (TML), on which Prof. Burdett is a PI, is part of the AHRC’s ‘Translating Cultures’ initiative, and aims “to provide a model that allows Modern Languages to be construed and practised not as the inquiry into separate national traditions, but as the study of cultures and their interactions.”

This prompted me to reflect on my own research practice, and how it has evolved during my current AHRC Fellowship to integrate processes of consultation and the co-production of knowledge with wider communities in Martinique, Paris and the UK… As I’ve said before on this blog, no researcher is an island, and the photo memories below certainly reflect this!

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