15 Dec 2015, by cp14603 in News

BAThe British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

Friday, 26 February 2016



Recent public policy statements have stressed the need for concerted action to address the fact that recruitment on Modern Languages courses within the UK is in decline, and influential reports (see Worton Review of Modern Foreign Languages, 2009) have emphasized the need for Modern Languages to articulate its identity more robustly. All ML departments need to reflect on the nature of the discipline, its appeal to prospective students, and its role within the national and international context.


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?


The large project, ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’ (TML), part of the AHRC’s ‘Translating Cultures’ initiative, 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. It focuses on the centrality of language and culture as situated sets of practices whose performance is crucial to all areas of social life, from individual experience to the building of local as well as virtual communities.


This event, organized with the support of the British Academy and the AHRC, aims to demonstrate and discuss the work that TML has been pursuing both within Higher Education and beyond. It begins by introducing the major themes that TML has addressed. The first session presents the work of the project’s partnership with schools in Edinburgh and looks at how the concept of translating cultures has been explored within the classroom across different disciplines. The session also looks at a series of creative writing workshops taking place in the West Midlands, which demonstrate how research in Modern Languages can be put into practice and brought to new audiences within the multicultural and multilingual environment surrounding the University.


The second session of the event will look at how languages and cultures are taught in Higher Education, at the nature and future of Modern Languages as a university discipline, and at students’ understanding of the value of the skill-sets with which the discipline equips them. The session will present the thinking behind the forthcoming series of texts, Transnationalizing Modern Languages, which will be published by Liverpool University Press. It will also emphasise how Modern Languages benefits from dialogue with other disciplinary perspectives, with presentations on translation and translanguaging as well as on how the AHRC theme, ‘Translating Cultures’ is impacting on Modern Languages. The session will conclude with a discussion on how Modern Languages can develop in a world that is increasingly defined by mobility, multilingualism, and the pace of globalization.


Event Outline:

10.00-10.30am: Arrival and coffee

10.30-10.45am: Introduction (TML team)

Transnationalizing Modern Languages: the themes of the project and reshaping the discipline


10.45-12.15pm: Session One:

Translating Cultures in Schools and in the Wider Community

Chair: Jocelyn Wyburd (Chair, UCML)

  • Chris Hume (Castlebrae Community High School) Social Subjects and TML
  • Julie Philip (Castlebrae Community High School) Expressive Arts and TML
  • Bridging Experiences in Research and in Practice: Writing across Languages and Cultures

12.15-12.45pm: Lunch

12.45 -2.15pm: Session Two: Translating Cultures and Modern Languages in HE

Chair: Nigel Vincent (British Academy)

Presentation of forthcoming Liverpool University Press series – Transnational Modern Languages Studies

  • Li Wei: Translation, Translanguaging and Modern Languages
  • Charles Forsdick: The AHRC theme ‘Translating Cultures’, interdisciplinarity, and Modern Languages in Higher Education.


The event is free – to register please go to:



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