About the Conference

Department of Theology Department of Music


Start: Friday 21st of October 2016, 13.00
Finish: Sunday 23rd of October 2016, 16.00
Registration closes 3rd of October
School of Education, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom

The purpose of this international conference is to bring together researchers and educators who are researching and working in educational contexts where human beings, and their language(s), are under pain and pressure. Ongoing and forced migration—resulting from protracted civil war, unremitting poverty and economic hardship, and political unrest and ecological instability—often results in the termination of education for some, or entry into new learning contexts for others. This situation of heightened mobility in recent times, although not new, opens up opportunities and challenges for educators and policy makers in considering how languages, too, may be under pain and pressure. What possibilities and complexities emerge as new arrivals bring their multiple languages into schools and education centres in new communities such as refugee camps, or in established communities in civil society? What opportunities emerge with the arrival of children and adults who bring multiple languages and mobile experiences into the classroom? How can and do teachers and students learn and benefit from the multiple languages present? What opportunities arise for educational practitioners, leaders, and policy makers in building on the presence of multiple languages and their users? How can all people involved support and embrace the multilingual affordances created by these situations and contexts, bearing in mind that the migrants themselves inevitably endure high levels of trauma, psychological distress, and acculturative needs as they travel through and settle in new places? What are the implications for languages in research, education in teaching and related areas such as assessment, counselling, curricula development, educational psychology, health, intercultural education, and policy?

This international conference offers a timely space for interdisciplinary and inter-practitioner and researcher dialogue on these questions, and many more, concerning languages and (intercultural) education in times of migration; and to do so with a specific regard for the implications for the language policies, practices, and possibilities of the schools and other educational institutions where there are increasing levels of migration and amplified multilingualism.

The conference brings together international keynote speakers and leading panellists who are researching and working on the borders of languages, languages pedagogy, and policy in contexts where people, and their migratory languages, are under pain and pressure: in the borderlands of mainstream education; in contexts where children’s education is neglected because of displacement or exclusion; and in classrooms where teachers and education leaders are seeking to meet the needs of learners and the migratory languages they carry. Thus, the conference seeks to highlight the ways in which languages, and the intercultural dimensions they entail, can enrich and benefit all learners in multiple educational contexts; and, as public debate shows, where languages are also a site for hostility and frustration.

Conference Organisers

Prue Holmes, Mariam Attia (Durham University), Jane Andrews (University of the West of England), and Richard Fay (Institute of Education, The University of Manchester)