The inaugural symposium of The Creative Web of Languages (an event organised by the MEITS Flexible Funding award)
The World Wide Web is commonly perceived the ultimate tool of homogenizing culture through dominant platforms such as Google and Facebook and consequently as the major culprit in the loss of ground of local cultures. Digital cultures are in reality plural, however, in terms of both form and language, and they not only continue pre-digital traditions through new modes of expression and in a new space for creativity in specific languages, but also invite us to rethink the nature and role of cultural heritage, language, identity, and their relationships today. At the same time, the web remains a fluid and open space that allows for the mixing and cross-fertilization of cultures more than any other previous mode of interaction. Artists and authors who engage in digital creativity often live in and between different cultures and languages that feed into their works; they translate their own or others’ works; engage with audiences across cultures; and are critical of dominant platforms and discourses, which they often hijack. The digital has never been neutral, as Alexandra Saemmer notes, and creatively engaging with it entails questioning established modes of thinking and writing as well as the relationship between language, tradition, and identity. The work of multilingual authors and artists such as Gregory Chatonsky, Alexandra Saemmer, Serge Bouchardon, Canan Marasligil, Lou Sarabadzic, María Mencía, Guillaume Vissac, or Belén Gache, to mention only a few, well illustrate the centrality of these concerns to born digital literature across languages. The importance of the linguistic identity and hybridity of electronic literature is still largely unexplored, however.
This symposium will be the inaugural event of The Creative Web of Languages, a two-year project addressing these questions, funded by the ‘Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies’ AHRC Open World Research Initiative. The project aims to bring together researchers and artists across languages and specialisms to enable a rich dialogue and a comparative approach. The symposium benefits from additional support from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Department of Languages and Cultures of Lancaster University, and will happen in partnership with the Electronic Literature Organization.
To register or make any queries, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be a small registration fee of £40 to cover for catering (£30 for students and unwaged), and an optional dinner on 8 March for an additional charge (of about £35, tbc).