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Multilingualism in Practice in the University

Room G39, School of Education
Lectures Talks and Workshops, Social Sciences, Students
Friday 13th November 2015 (00:00)
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For further information please contact Lily Ilic at

The Multilingual University: The impact of linguistic diversity in higher education in English-dominant and EMI contexts ESRC seminar series

In this 4th seminar of the series, we ask ‘what is the multilingual university?’ Patterns of globalization and policies of internationalisation have led to changes in the linguistic make-up of universities, across student and staff populations. Especially in universities in cities in England, students and staff have extensive language resources at their disposal in the processes of teaching, learning, and research. However, policy and practice continue to privilege an English-only approach. The multilingual nature of British universities rarely features on official university websites, brochures and open days.  Even rarer is an acknowledgment of the multilingual environment which characterises everyday linguistic practice. Language resources are rarely discussed except when cast as a problem in relation to students’ English language proficiency. Seldom do universities in England refer to multilingualism as a resource.

This seminar invites speakers and participants to reflect on the implications of this apparent discontinuity between available linguistic resources and their deployment in the academy. We consider examples of multilingualism in practice in the university, and their affordances and constraints. We also look for opportunities to shape policy so that the multilingual resources of the university population may be made more readily available and accessible.

The day will focus on multilingualism as a resource in the university, in terms of research and teaching and learning.  It will address the following themes:

  1. Research Teams (including access to networks, brokering, translation, creativity)
  2. Interdisciplinarity (including communication with international partners)
  3. Support Services (including research intelligence, influencing agendas, supporting students )

We are pleased to bring together this ESRC seminar network on multilingualism with the AHRC theme, Translating Cultures.  Presentations from each of the Translating Cultures Large Grant teams will reflect on the process of researching multilingualism multilingually.

There is no charge for registration and refreshments will be provided. Travel bursaries of up to £75 are available for 12 participants attending the seminar from outside Birmingham who are postgraduate students, part time teachers or researchers or unwaged.

Seminar participation is limited to 35 places. To register, please click on the link:

We are pleased to bring this ESRC seminar together with the AHRC theme, Translating Cultures. For information about the ESRC seminar series, see

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities