The Network

The conjuncture of globalisation, increased migration and digitisation has created new spaces for communication, social and cultural exchanges and encounters. Both in online and offline environments across the globe, we experience an increase in plurilingualism and multiculturalism. Further, digital technologies have made communication increasingly multimodal as we switch or swipe between images, text, memes, emoticons, sound clips, etc. During the lock-downs or social distancing measures imposed on countries across the globe in response to COVID-19, online platforms have become the primary site of exchange for many of us. However, while there is exponential growth in the possibilities available for cross-cultural communication, divisions between social, ethnic or national groups are growing as intolerance and inequality, xenophobia and extremism are on the rise.

In today’s complex societal ecologies where multiple languages and modalities are simultaneously available for communication, it is vital to develop enhanced literacies capable of fostering individual and community agency and engagement for this highly interconnected but fragmented world.

The role of translation, between languages (interlingual) and between media (intersemiotic), is central to such an undertaking. We are interested in intersemiotic translation as a method of creation and communication, as a method for learning and teaching, collaboration and participation within multilingual, multicultural and multimodal settings. This includes understanding the many modes and modalities that contribute to meaning-making in cross-cultural communication (online & offline), language learning and translation, and embracing the role of individual imagination and artistic creation in education and arts institutions (e.g. libraries, galleries, museums).

This research network brings together scholars and artists from the UK to collaborate internationally with colleagues from Portugal, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Italy & Hong Kong with diverse areas of expertise including translation studies, theatre & performance studies, cultural & literary studies, curatorial studies, education, modern languages, teacher & translator training, music and the fine arts.

Our objectives are

  • to bring different perspectives and disciplines together to develop a holistic understanding of intersemiotic practices in the language areas of network members.
  • to develop a deeper understanding of how intersemiotic practice can be applied more widely in multicultural educational and community settings, online & offline
  • to develop tools for understanding and enhancing multimodal communication online
  • the pedagogical aspect of this understanding will lead to the development of tools, protocols and ethical procedures for training educators, translators and community practitioners
  • to disseminate this practice beyond the privileged domains of HE across multiple strata of society 
  • to influence arts & education policy with regards to multiculturalism and multilingualism.

While our research is grounded in theory, we will develop practice-based methods for participatory workshops taking place from April 2021 to July 2022 in network countries and conducted by network participants working in scholar-artist teams. Members of the public will be invited to join us in the exploration of intersemiotic translation via creative methods (e.g. writing, performance, artmaking), at participating universities and cultural institutions. In line with local health guidelines, workshops will be offered face to face and/or online.