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Seminars, Trips, Networking Events and Workshops

You will find details of events as well as webinars and videos of our seminar series and workshops here.

Digital language learning with Arabic speaking migrants

Linda Bradley, Faculty of Education, University of Gothenburg

Catering for the sizable number of migrants who have come to Europe from the Middle East is a huge challenge. Two areas that are mentioned as specifically important in terms of integration are learning the language and finding ways into professional life. Here, mobile technology can serve as a bridge to accessing language and work. This seminar addresses Arabic speaking migrants’ development of language and vocational skills and what role mobile technology can play as a mediator. Based on investigations of digital literacy among migrants in Sweden, the seminar will address affordances in mobile applications and online resources as tools for learning a new language and vocational skills.

Photos below

Iraqi Women Uprising: Through Visual Arts on Murals and Creative Language on Signs

Zeena Faulk, University of Warwick, PhD Researcher

Zeena Faulk delivering seminar.

Thursday 27th February 2020 17.00-18.00, Social Sciences S0.09

On October 1, 2019, peaceful protests broke out in most Iraqi cities. The reasons for the protest include the dissatisfaction with the government’s performance, lack of jobs, extensive foreign meddling in Iraq, and oppression as well as lack of civil liberties. University students, professors and workers led the first wave of protests, signalling for the first time no allegiance to any political and/or religious groups. However, the Iraqi government’s unexpected crackdown on the protesters led to the Tishreen (October) uprising, which swiftly gained traction throughout Iraq, which forced the Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi to resign. Since then, Iraqi women have been taking to the streets to participate in the uprising, organize groups, treat the injured, provide food, write graffiti and chant alongside defiant men. This involvement of women in Iraq’s current political quagmire is unprecedented, particularly in Baghdad where women express themselves through graffiti and creative language on the signs. In this seminar, we will be looking at how texts and images are used to represent women in the currently troubled Iraq, and what that means with respect to women’s involvement in Iraq’s future politics.

Zeena's postgraduate-level work with Dr Chantal Wright challenges the notion of cultural nontransferability of satire by focusing on the political satire of post-2003 Iraq. Iraq experienced an explosion of political satire following the 2003 invasion and occupation by western powers, a flowering that presents particular challenges for translation due to its heavy reliance on cultural background and fleeting political context. Using reader response theory, Zeena's work intends to show that it is possible to go around such limitations in creative ways, rendering this satirical and critical response to war understandable to those with limited knowledge of Arabic and Middle Eastern culture and history.

Emma Mort - Care4Calais – a practical, humanitarian response to the refugee crisis on our doorstep. Social Studies S0.09 17:00 - 18:00


Emma Mort is a teacher, member of the National Education Union National Executive and campaigner and activist who has taken part in 8 volunteering trips with Care4Calais in the last 2 years.

Since the ‘Calais jungle’ was cleared in October 2016, many people believe that the refugee crisis in Northern France is over, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. Across Northern France and Belgium hundreds of refugees are still living in the most desperate circumstances, having already undertaken difficult and dangerous journeys, suffering cruel and degrading treatment by the French authorities.

In this seminar, Emma will be speaking about the vital work that Care4cCalais do in delivering aid and support to refugees living in these conditions across Northern France and Belgium. In addition, she will be sharing her experiences of the practicalities of organising and delivering this aid as well as giving an insight into what life is like inside a refugee camp only 30 miles from the UK border. There will also be a chance to consider the importance of the humanitarian aspect to delivering aid and the Care4Calais ethos of treating everyone with dignity, recognising our common humanity and building relationships in order to provide essential social interaction and the much-needed help that other organisations aren’t able to.

This will be followed by a chance to ask questions about any issues that have been raised during the course of the seminar.

Lost in Translation - Workshop with Piers Ibbottson

Performing Shakespeare in other languages.

Wednesday 5th February 9.30-11.30, WBS Create

In this workshop we will look at the challenge of performing Shakespeare in translation.

One approach to the performing of Shakespeare pioneered by the Royal Shakespeare Company under the guidance of the renowned scholar and director John Barton and voice coach Cicely Berry, focused on the plays as spoken poetry. They focused on the language and developed an approach to performance that honoured the auditory nature of Elizabethan theatre (as opposed to visual) and emphasised the powerful and extraordinary poetry of Shakespeare. This was a shift away from modernism and the psychological approach taken by contemporary playwrights of the 50’s and 60’s when their work was being developed. Their emphasis on the text and the structure of the poetry, led to the development of an approach to acting and to training actors that encouraged a visceral, embodied connection with the language.

The workshop will use some of their methods and approaches in a practical, participatory session in which we will explore the connection between voice, verse and emotion.

We will then look at different translations of the same piece of text to investigate the impact on both the speaker and the audience of the same dramatic moment articulated in different languages: We will

Experience the embodiment of vowels and consonants in different languages

Investigate the ways different languages express emotion through sound

Examine speech acts and the ways they are embodied differently in different language

Explore the impact of the specific language on the manner and the content of an emotional moment

Examine different translations and their impact on our understanding in performance


'I really enjoyed the workshop in the sense that it led us to explore the musicality of different languages. It helped me realized the non-translatable part between languages and made me think about what was missing in traditional ways of language teaching and learning. It is also quite interesting to know that this project is aimed to help across-culture communication in the business field since the problem might originate from our mindset for language teaching, which put too much attention to "meaning decoding" instead of cracking and embracing the uniqueness of different languages. I am interested in participating in workshops like this in the future.'


' I really enjoyed the workshop, I thought that the facilitator was incredibly knowledgeable and engaging.At multiple times while I was watching, I found myself wishing I were there in person to participate!

Many of the translations that were read were in Italian, so maybe there was that extra element of enjoyment for me as I was able to appreciate the difference between the English original and the Italian translation. But I also enjoyed when one of the participants read her translation of Shakespeare in Arabic. I have a very basic knowledge of Arabic but I was still able to appreciate the difference in the sound of the translation. I think it was a workshop that everyone could enjoy regardless of their language combination.'


Language, Migration and Identity: Contemporary Urban Vernacular French​
Professor Janice Carruthers, Queen's University Belfast​
Tuesday 28th January 17:00-19:00, A1.11, Social Sciences​

On Tuesday 28th January, we are pleased to welcome Prof Janice Carruthers, Professor of French Linguistics at Queen's University Belfast and Leader of the Sociolinguistics Strand of the major interdisciplinary project Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS). It is her involvement with this project that forms the basis of our seminar. This is an excellent opportunity to engage with current research into how multilingual individuals and societies draw on multiple languages, cultures and modes of thought.

This paper forms part of the research on language and identity in a large interdisciplinary project funded by the AHRC’s Open World Research Initiative (OWRI): ‘Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies’. I will start by outlining the aims, objectives and shape of the full MEITS project, explaining how the work of the Queen’s strand relates to the broader research questions. I will focus on one particular dimension of our work, i.e. research on Contemporary Urban Vernacular French. I will outline the nature of the linguistic and social characteristics normally associated with this variety of French and will explain the methodology and theoretical framework for our study. The core of the paper will analyse listener perceptions in relation to speakers of CUV French, with a particular focus on questions of migration and multilingualism but also including the role of other speaker variables such as age, gender and regional origin. Drawing on Eckert’s (2008) concept of ‘indexical fields’, I will explore the possible indexical meanings of a number of linguistic features, and combinations of features, interrogating their relationship with questions of perceived identity in multilingual urban environments. ​

This Tuesday - Seminar - Dr. Joanne Lee

Language, memory and migration in the novels of Laura Pariani

The writings of Laura Pariani blend autobiography, fiction, official history, civic memory and oral histories into intricate representations of migration and mobility between Italy and South America. Using two of her novels, Quando Dio ballava il tango (2002) [When God Danced the Tango] and Il piatto dell’angelo (2013) [The Angel’s Plate] the paper highlights the implications of her writing on understandings of migration in the Italian context and beyond. It will show how cultural memory and linguistic hybridity challenge monolingual and monoidentitarian myths of nationhood and how her novels force consideration of the ethical dilemma posed by globalisation and the mass movement of people in the twenty-first century.

Tuesday 14th Jan 2020 -16.00-17.00, Social Sciences A1.11

Photos from the event

Seminar - Award Winning Author and Activist Dr. Preti Taneja

The Syrian Conflict: How to Form Research Responses via Fieldwork with Refugees

Thursday 9th January 2020, Social Sciences, Cowling Room S2.77, 17.00-18.00
From 2014 - 2016 Dr Preti Taneja travelled around the world to document the productions, performances and reception of people making Shakespeare in translation of form and language in response to contemporary conflicts, and in post conflict zones. Her case studies include two productions lead by the actor and director Nawar Bulbul, who developed two performances with Syrian children caught in the conflict: one of King Lear in Za'atari refugee camp on the Jordan/ Syrian border, and one of Romeo and Juliet in Amman, Jordan and Homs, Syria via Skype. From this fieldwork Dr Taneja won a Leverhulme research grant; one output she is developing is a multimedia interactive website to allow users to virtually take the place of the researcher and experience the challenges of subjectivity in fieldwork, of working in translation, and exploring an ethical approach to research impact first hand. In this seminar, Dr Taneja will present the website and candidly discuss her research approach and process in collaboration with her translator Zeena Faulk. Attendees are invited to come prepared with any questions about working on human rights work, field work, ethics of working with children, translation and interpretation; and about how to think through presenting research ethically as well as for impact. The majority of the session will be given to questions.
image: Ben Gold
Dr Preti Taneja is an award winning writer and activist. Her debut novel WE THAT ARE YOUNG won the 2018 Desmond Elliot Prize for the UK's best debut and was listed for several international awards including the Prix Jan Michalski, Europe's premier award for a work of world literature. It was named one of the top 10 Books of the Decade in The Hindu newspaper and has been translated into seven languages to date. Preti has over a decade of experience as a minority rights researcher for major NGOs and her academic research is on cultural rights in conflict and post conflict zones.
From 2017-19 she held a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at Warwick University, and was the UNESCO Fellowship in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia. In 2020 she will be writer in residence for TIDE (Travel, Transculturality and Identity 1500-1700) at the University of Oxford. She also teaches creative writing in HMP Whitemoor for Learning Together, University of Cambridge.

Seminar - International Artist and Activist Salma Zulfiqar

20th November 2019, 17.00-18.00 in Social Sciences A1.11

You can book a place by emailing or by booking on via SkillsForge. The event is free but we need numbers for catering and logistics so please let us know if you can join us.

Salma Zulfiqar is an International Artist and Activist working on migration. She will be speaking about her Migration Project and her work with Migrants and Refugees in the UK with relation to social inclusion and more recently about her lobbying at the EU Parliament. She will also be introducing her new film ' We are searching for life - Refugees ' a short spoken word film which calls for safe Migration and explores the issue of social cohesion of Syrian refugees in Birmingham. Please see the film here. Salma will also be sharing her experiences of working with migrants and refugees with the United Nations all over the world. This will be followed by a Q&A.

Salma's current creative projects, such as ARTconnects & The Migration Blanket, focus on empowering refugee and migrant women by promoting integration, working towards preventing hate crimes and extremism. Her artwork has been exhibited in London, Birmingham, Paris, Greece & Dubai and she has been celebrated as one of Birmingham's most inspirational women in the book Once Upon A Time in Birmingham - Women Who Dared to Dream. Salma has also worked all over the world with the United Nations raising awareness of humanitarian issues in conflict and developing countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Somalia, Chad and Kenya.

Winner of the Rising Star Award - Diversity 2019 powered by The Sunday Times
Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2019 Shortlist - Social & Humanitarian
Photos from the event

MITN Welcome and Find out More Event

15th November 2019 11.00 - 13.00 in Social Sciences A0.14

We would love to see you there, whether you are an old MITN hand or a new face. You can book a place by emailing or by booking on via SkillsForge. The event is free but we need numbers for catering and logistics so please let us know if you can join us by 11th November 2019.


11.00 - 11.20 Introduction from Prof. Jo Angouri

11.20-11.30 Helena Wall, PG Student Representative and leader of the research cluster: Space, Place and the city

11.30-12.15 Liberty Melly (The Migration Museum

Why Britain needs a Migration Museum

Britain has thousands of museums, but none focused on migration, a vital topic that goes to the heart of who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going – as individuals, as communities and as a nation. Liberty Melly, Education and Events Manager at the Migration Museum Project, will explain what brought a dedicated team of people from a wide range of professional backgrounds together to work towards the creation of a new national museum that can provide a setting to explore how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has shaped who we are, away from the polarised and often angry debates about migration in politics and the media.

12.15 -12.25 Christina Efthymiadou - Leader of the research cluster: Identity and Workplace Communication

12.25-12.35 Zeena Faulk - Leader of the research cluster: Translation and Mobility

12.35 -13.00 Coffee and networking opportunity

Photos from the event

welcome Welcome Liberty and JoWelcome Mingle

Tue 28 Apr '20
16:00: Seminar from Dr. Chantal Wright - Title and Abstract to follow
Wed 13 May '20
13:00: Round Table Event - Discussion subject to follow
Tue 02 Jun '20
17:00: Dr Bryan Brazeau - Title and Abstract TBC