Flexible Funding Projects

We are delighted that we have been able to support nine research projects through our flexible funding scheme.

Since 2018, six projects have been working alongside the MEITS team to help reinvigorate research in modern languages and change public attitudes towards multilingualism.

In the first call, the emphasis was particularly on complementing and extending MEITS’s literary and cultural work and on providing exciting material for our pop-up museum of languages. It was particularly pleasing to see the high number of Early Career Researchers amongst the successful applicants, which bodes well for the future of modern languages.

  • Multilingualism in Early Modern Literary Culture
    Dr Peter Auger & Dr Sheldon Brammall, University of Birmingham

This project has brought together Early Modernists working in modern languages, English and Neo-Latin studies, and history to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on the contexts and applications of multilingualism in Early Modern literature. It has also provided a popular activity for our Pop-Up World of Languages on the amazing language skills of Elizabethan children, allowing visitors to reflect on the differences between language learning in the sixteenth century and today.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

  • Space to Speak: Non-Han Fiction and Film in China and Beyond
    Dr Sarah Dodd, University of Leeds

Complementing the work of Strand 2 on standard languages and multilingualism, this project examines how contemporary authors and film-makers in China’s borderlands are negotiating with standardised Mandarin and their own minoritised languages in their work, in order to find their own linguistic and artistic space.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

  • The Creative Web of Languages
    Dr Erika Fülöp, University of Lancaster

This project considers how digital networks and technologies impact linguistic creativity, in particular where two or more languages are at play, and the ways in which digital tools both facilitate and counter linguistic inventiveness and hybridity.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of e-mentoring and a digital languages resource for foreign language learning in Wales
    Professor Claire Gorrara, Cardiff University

This research programme has investigated the effectiveness of e-mentoring and a digital languages resource in improving intercultural understanding and multilingual literacy in Year 9 pupils in ten secondary schools in Wales that are either in poorer areas, have low uptake of modern languages GCSEs or both. An inspiring film relating to the project has featured at the Pop-Up World of Languages.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

  • Watching the Transnational Detectives: Showcasing Identity, Internationalism and Language Learning on British Television
    Dr Rachel Haworth, University of Hull

This project examines the ways in which British television viewers respond to languages and multiculturalism in a range of well-loved crime dramas from France, Italy and Germany. It explores the impact these series have on audiences’ perceptions of nationhood, foreign languages and cultures, and language learning.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

  • “¡Yo soy Fidel!”: Post-Castro Cuba and the Cult of Personality
    Dr James Kent, Royal Holloway, University of London

Following the death of Fidel Castro in 2016, the world’s media projected iconic images of the former Cuban leader, underscoring Cuba’s long and complex relationship with photography. Drawing on fieldwork and practice-led research, this project examines the ways that iconic Cuban images are produced and consumed in different transnational contexts.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

In a second tranche of funding, MEITS has enjoyed working alongside three projects to foster innovation in research-led teaching and support curriculum change in modern languages in higher education.

  • Translation as Creative Critical Practice
    Dr Delphine Grass, Lancaster University

Through a series of workshops and the development of different creative translation methods across media (poetry, literature and film), this project investigates the potential for translation to stimulate creative approaches to the reading and interpretation of texts. By bringing together practising poets, writers, students and non-professional practitioners, its aims are to explore and develop the practice of translation as a method of creative-critical writing, and to design pedagogical tools for its teaching in a wide range of contexts.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

  • The Translations of T. Ifor Rees: Approaching Welsh-Hispanic Cultural Relations in the Twentieth-Century
    Dr Helena Miguélez-Carballeira, Bangor University

The project looks anew at the literary work of career diplomat T. Ifor Rees (1890–1977) who, while best known for his Latin America travel books, lavishly illustrated with his own photographs, also left behind a rich legacy of multilingual translations (from French, English and Spanish into Welsh). Studying these will provoke new understandings of how translation across many languages influenced discourses of language preservation and the exotic, both in Welsh-language culture and further afield.

To read more about this project and its outcomes, click here.

  • How do sign language learners’ language attitudes towards minority languages evolve over the course of learning a sign language?
    Dr Jordan Fenlon/Dr Stacey Webb, Heriot-Watt University

This project investigates how language attitudes displayed by sign language students at Heriot-Watt University change over the course of learning a sign language. Questions include soliciting opinions on what constitutes ‘good’ or ‘bad’ use of sign language, and whether this changes before and after a deaf community placement. The intention is for this work to inform future teaching practices on language attitudes.

To read more about this project, click here.

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