Welcome to the Researching Multilingually project blog!

First Meeting 1 April 2014

From refugee camps, to border zones between so-called ‘first and third world’ countries; from the struggle to express profound trauma to the desire to overcome conditions of siege – in all these places lives are lived multilingually. Understanding and researching multilingual lives, where language is under various kinds of pressure is the task of this project.

The project has two overarching aims:
1) to research interpreting, translation and multilingual practices in challenging contexts, and,

2) while doing so, to evaluate appropriate research methods (traditional and arts based) and develop theoretical approaches for this type of academic exploration.

The three large grants were launched by the AHRC at the Translating Cultures theme launch in London on 28th and 29th March 2014, at University College London. Keynote speakers at the event were Professor Susan Bassnett and Professor Anthony Pym.  An international team of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds, research experiences, different languages and performance skills will conduct international comparative research on translation and interpretation at different kinds of border in order to develop theory, ethical research practices and research methodologies in relation to multilingual research.

Researchers Dr Prue Holmes from Durham University, Dr Richard Fay University of Manchester, Dr Jane Andrews, University of the West of England, Dr Karin Zwaan, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Dr David Gramling and Dr Chantelle Warner, University of Arizona, U.S.A., Dr Nazmi Al Masri, Islamic University Gaza, and Dr Robert GibbSarah Craig and Dr Ross White from the University of Glasgow will come together with artists from Pan African Arts Scotland to work on five original case studies and to consider the methods and modes of representation of multilingual research experience. They will be joined by postdoctoral researchers Dr Mariam Attia, Dr Julien Danero and Dr Katja Frimberger. The project administrator is Lauren Roberts.

2014-04-25 12.47.55As well as investigating five unique case studies in law, mental health, on the borders of Romania and Bulgaria, in rural Arizona and in the Gaza Strip, the researchers will consider the different methodologies in play when multilingual research is undertaken from different disciplinary perspectives. Through Pan African Arts Scotland they will also work with the arts as a language of research and representation of those aspects which are unsayable, with a final artistic production being developed drawing together the themes of the research, working with Tawona Sithole, artist and playwright.

The new project draws on the Researching Multilingually network grant, and the Translation and Asylum Claims network grant both also previously funded under the Translating Cultures theme. It also builds on work undertaken through the TEMPUS project Life Long Learning in Palestine, through the AHRC-SFC ‘Healthier Scotland’ project and through the AHRC’s previous Diasporas, Identities and Migration programme. It also works in collaboration with project partners, Creative Scotland and The Scottish Refugee Council as well as many NGO and policy organisations working in the field.

Theme Leadership Fellow for Translating Cultures, Professor Charles Forsdick commented

“These three awards will expand and enhance the ambitious research already conducted under the ‘Translating Cultures’ theme. They will provide urgently needed contributions, from an Arts and Humanities perspective, to our understanding of some of the most pressing issues in the twenty-first-century world: multilingualism, mobility, and the crossing of borders. The aim in each project is to interrogate, analyse and demonstrate the central place of languages and culture in contemporary life, whether in localized contexts or in wider globalized frames. Central to each is an active engagement with a range of partners beyond academia, as well as collaboration with international networks of scholars. These projects will transform academic and public understanding of the theories and practices of translation and interpreting in innovative, exciting and, I anticipate, often unexpected ways.”

Alison_at work_The Researching Multilingually project is led by Professor Alison Phipps (University of Glasgow & GRAMNet) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Translating Cultures Programme. The project runs for 3 years, started on 1st April, 2014. It is one of three £2 Million large grant awards under the programme.

For further information on the Translating Cultures Programme please see:

Contributed by Alison Phipps 7 May 2014

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