In this age of communication revolution and intense globalization there is a growing expectation that everyone be conversant in more than one language and familiar and comfortable with multicultural contexts. As languages and cultures come into contact -driven by conflicts, migration, media and the Internet, transnational capitalism and many other factors- more and more individuals find themselves in the role of mediating between diverse languages and cultures in their daily lives. These may be professionals in fields as varied as health services, travel agents, interpreters, shopkeepers, teachers, workers at multinational companies or NGO workers as well as young, multilingual children and youth acting as language and culture mediators between their family and society (known as ‘language brokers’).
In a world of transcultural ‘mash-ups’, multilingual rap and multi-party videoconferencing apps for cellphones, there is a need for a theoretical shift towards an understanding of ‘languaging’ and ‘culturing’ as transformative practices involving social activities that go between and beyond ‘fixed’ and separate systems; practices that take place in the interstices of languages and cultures where new meanings and new understandings can emerge. Given the importance that language and culture mediators can play in today’s increasingly interconnected world, the aims of this conference are:
to promote critical engagement with the notion of mediating between cultures and languages;
to explore the role of technology in bridging between diverse languages and cultures;
to explore the role of ‘broker’ in cross-cultural situations, including growing instances of ‘child language brokers’;
to promote understanding of how language brokering is perceived by researchers and practitioners from cross-cultural situations;
to provide a forum for a critique of existing analytical models of culture and language mediating practices that integrate current theories of language and intercultural communication;
to provide a forum on ways in which research into language and culture mediation can inform teachers’ praxis.
Please see the conference programme here.
Please see the details of the conference here.
Please see the special issue of the conference papers here (coming soon…).