LINCS and SBE Announce New Studentship

We’re delighted to announce that recent interviews have confirmed the offer of a PhD studentship to a new cross-disciplinary project which brings together expertise from LINCS and from Heriot-Watt’s School of the Built Environment (SBE). The studentship is one of a set offered under the University’s ‘Creativity, Design & Innovation’ theme  earlier this year. The LINCS-SBE partnership has led to the development of an emerging programme of work under the banner ‘Environment and Interaction’ (EnvInt for short). In a globalised world where people are more and more mobile, spaces are becoming increasingly multilingual, multicultural and multimodal. The EnvInt group is interested in such matters as the following:
• Environmental planners take care to consider the experiences of individuals within the spaces that people design and manage. By working closely with linguists, planners will be able to interrogate more closely the ways in which the use of human languages responds to the designed environment.
• Linguistic interaction is not confined to a single modality. We communicate with one another in many different ways – speech, writing, signs and gestures. The ideal designed space will anticipate and accommodate all of these forms.
• The modern world is a place of immense human and cultural diversity. Throughout the world, it is now commonplace to encounter more than one language in the course of everyday life. Different languages interact differently with the features of social spaces. Evidence-based planning can help to sustain and indeed enhance effective communication between people.
• The environments within which we interact increasingly incorporate both material and virtual elements. Understanding the relationships between these for communication-participants will lead to more satisfying experiences of interpersonal contact.
Initial scoping of the theme will be developed through the studentship which will be examining the effects of acoustics on speech intelligibility in multilingual spaces. We very much hope that Kivanc Kitapci will soon be a familiar face in both LINCS and SBE. EnvInt members are working on further proposals for research in areas of mutual interest – watch this space for news of what happens next!

Public Engagement in LINCS

Universities across the UK are being strongly encouraged to do more work which takes their research and scholarship out of the classroom and into the wider world. We may not all get to be Professor Brian Cox, but there are actually a huge number of ways in which LINCS already undertakes a great of this ‘public engagement’ work. We’ve been energetically supported in developing along these lines by the Edinburgh Beltane project, not least in the award of a Public Engagement Fellowship to Bernie O’Rourke and a ‘Challenge’ prize to the British Sign Language team . During September, Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh hosted an event to share ideas about effective public engagement. We’d welcome your ideas, too, gentle blog-reader – if you have suggestions about how LINCS could expand or enhance its engagement work, please let’s hear or see them: the more creative and unusual, the better!

European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters

Several members of LINCS staff recently attended the annual European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters conference, held this year in Salerno, Italy. Last year’s EFSLI conference was held in Glasgow and featured LINCS’ Chair of Translation & Interpreting, Graham Turner, as a keynote presenter (GHT 2010 EFSLI keynote). The character of EFSLI reflects that of the sign language interpreting profession as a whole – working steadily to build a solid theoretical base that can underpin the pioneering work of practitioners. Heriot-Watt University has championed sign language interpreting and translation within Scotland for well over a decade. A poster presentation was accepted for the conference which reports innovative current work being undertaken by LINCS’ sign language specialists in an international partnership with colleagues from Germany and Finland.

Research into multimedia translation: is it socially useful?

Dr Raquel de Pedro will be presenting a paper at the Points of View in Language and Culture Conference which will take place in the lovely city of Krackow on the 14 and 15 October. Her paper is based on the findings of a project called “Multimodality in translation: Steps towards socially useful research” which Raquel is currently working on. The aim of the project is to look at the extent to which research in Translation Studies contributes to professional practice. Raquel is particularly interested in finding out how aware the industry is of academic research in the field of multimodal translation and what kind of research in this area is considered as (potentially) “useful” by the multimedia industry. The focus of the conference is on the very exciting and growing field of Audiovisual Translation. We look forward to hearing all about it from Raquel when she gets back.
Enjoy the conference Raquel!

Conference website –


This blog is written by the members of the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) at Heriot-Watt University.

Here, you will find news about life in LINCS, key events that are taking place, new research developments, and our reflections about the fascinating world of language and how it shapes our lives.