IndyLan Newsletter – July 2021

IndyLan Newsletter – July 2021

Welcome to the third newsletter of our Erasmus+ project Mobile Virtual Learning for Indigenous Languages (IndyLan).

The 26-month project (2019-2021) is led by Heriot-Watt University and the Coordinator is Dr Katerina Strani from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies. The project includes the following 5 partners from 4 countries (UK, Finland, Norway and Spain):

The IndyLan project is developing a mobile application that will help speakers of English, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish to learn Gaelic, Scots, Cornish, Basque, Galician and Saami, all endangered at different degrees.  Our project’s educational tool is designed specifically for users to help them learn not only some of Europe’s endangered languages but also more about the cultures of the people who speak these languages.

The tool constitutes a gamified language-learning solution that will contain around 4,000 vocabulary items (both terms and expressions) in about 100 categories. The modes that will be available in the application are: Vocabulary; Phrases; Dialogues; Grammar; Aural Comprehension; Culture. 

Our vision is for the IndyLan app to contribute to endangered language learning and revitalisation so that these languages remain alive and relevant in contemporary societies and economies. 

Our project website is available in 11 languages. It has a dedicated section on the languages and people of the IndyLan app, with videos and resources. On our website you can also find news and updates, as well as a list of our downloadable outputs.

News and updates

Covid-19 impact on our project

We have continued to work remotely in the past year and held all meetings online. Since our last newsletter in June 2020, we met online three times: in September 2020, in December 2020 and in March 2021, which would have been our third official project meeting in Bilbao. The official project meeting took place on 23rd March 2021 on Zoom. During this meeting, we discussed progress with Intellectual Output 2 (the app in beta version), internal and external evaluations of our intellectual outputs and dissemination activities. We also started preparations for Intellectual Output 3, the pilot testing phrase, and revised the timeline for the finalisation of the app content.

Partners met online for the 3rd official project meeting in March 2021

Our initial plan was to have the app ready in beta version in April and to launch it in June. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in some unforeseen delays, with reduced capacity across the project team. We are now aiming to start the app testing in August and to launch the app officially in September.

We will keep you posted !

You will also be invited to our local and international dissemination events in the Autumn – details will be available in due course.

Sneak peek at the app

Partners have completed the translation of about 4,000 vocabulary items, as well as phrases and dialogues, grammar exercises, culture tabs and various types of exercises for each language. This was no easy task, as there were many untranslatable terms (there are no words for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Cornish), terms with complicated translations (‘to own something’ in Gaelic) and other terms with more than one translations (see snow terminology in Sámi).

We are now finalising the app backend and are testing the app internally. Here are some screenshots !

Dissemination and events

Áile Javo, the Secretary General of the Saami Council, one of the project partners, presented the project at an UNESCO -led event on Indigenous Languages in January:

#ArcticConnections – Indigenous Languages: Thriving in a Digital Age – YouTube

Katerina Strani, the project coordinator, presented the project in her talk ‘Language and Communities: Present and future Scottish-Arctic collaborations’, at the Scotland-Arctic Network Series: Engaging Local and Indigenous Communities event, in March: https://youtu.be/gSAL0gMg-m0 

Heriot-Watt’s biannual Intercultural Research Centre Symposium was held in May, and this year it included an online celebration in the form of a cèilidh. This included performances by Steve Byrne, who is working on the project, Meg Bateman, Niillas Holmberg, Brian Ó hEadhra and Fionnaig Nic Choinnich.

If you missed it, you can read about it here: Intercultural Research Centre Symposium and Ceilidh 2021 | LifeinLINCS 

Steve Byrne performing at the Intercultural Research Centre Symposium ceilidh

This year’s Speak Cornish week events were held online, and our project engaged with some activities on Twitter. Meur ras Kernow ! (=thank you, Cornwall)

Next steps:

  • The internal testing and  backend finalisation will be completed in the next few weeks.
  • The testing phase, which constitutes Intellectual Output 3, will begin in August.
  • Intellectual Output 3 will be the pilot testing of the app which will be carried out by remote users as well as participants in our multiplier events in all partner countries in the summer of 2021.
  • The app is scheduled to be launched at the Final Dissemination Conference in Cornwall in the autumn 2021.

The app will be available for download globally for free in both iOS and Android. Like all language-learning apps, IndyLan is complementary to other language- and culture courses and can be considered to be part of self-study material.

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndylanP

 Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectIndyLan

For any questions or comments, please contact us at info@indylan.eu

Intercultural Research Centre Symposium and Ceilidh 2021

‘People, Landscape and a Sense of Place’

SYMPOSIUM

This year, our IRC Symposium and Ceilidh was a virtual event and hugely successful. We were delighted to welcome guest speakers, vocalists, poets and a wide range of attendees all in keeping with our overarching themes of ‘People, Landscape and a Sense of Place’.

A welcome was extended by both Dr Katerina Strani, the Acting Director of the IRC, and Prof Mairéad Nic Craith, the former Director, who introduced the event. Dr Strani reminded us that the IRC’s research seeks to build understanding and develop appreciation of the experiences and representations of living with, or between, different cultures, identities, communities or languages. To this end, our research is built around three key themes:

The Symposium was organised around these three research themes and we were delighted to welcome three guest speakers on each of these themes, as we kept in mind our focus on the Symposium’s overarching theme of ‘People, Landscape and a Sense of Place’

An introduction to our first guest speaker was made by Professor Ullrich Kockel, who outlined our ‘Heritage and Sustainability’ theme at the IRC. Dr Nessa Cronin, Lecturer in Irish Studies and Associate Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, Ireland, was then invited to begin her talk entitled ‘Shared Inheritances, Environmental Futures and our Planetary Home’. Dr Cronin brought out some fascinating themes such as placemaking and disruption, prompting some of our attendees to reflect on their own experiences within these fields. Other highlights of her talk included the importance of cultural heritage to promote social cohesion, as she noted the detrimental impact that climate change has had on both tangible and intangible cultural heritage practices, as well as socio-ecological and economic systems.

Secondly, Professor Chris Tinker introduced our ‘Popular Culture and Inclusion’ theme and we enjoyed listening to the thoughts of Professor Heiko Motschen­bach­er, Professor of English as a Second/Foreign Language at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and General Editor of the Journal of Language and Sexuality (JLS). Prof Motschenbacher’s talk was entitled ‘Walk­ing on Wilton Drive: A lin­guist­ic land­scape ana­lys­is of a homonorm­at­ive space’. There were several interesting and enlightening points made, highlighting the negotiation of normativity and the allegory of symbols in relation to gender norms. These thoughts prompted some attendees to consider the power of language and how linguistic landscapes can shape norms. One of our attendees also reflected on the popular and well-recognised symbol of a rainbow and how this has come to be known as an emblem of hope through the difficult period of Covid-19, challenging a previous association with the symbol.

Our final lead theme for the day was ‘Migration’ and this was introduced by Dr Katerina Strani. The IRC Migration theme looks at how cultures, communities and societies in the broad sense are shaped by migration. Some of the key research interests under this theme are identities, including linguistic identities, belonging, intercultural dialogue, as well as racism and othering (in multicultural societies). Our guest speaker for this theme was Dr Emma Hill, Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Emma’s research on Somali populations in Glasgow has informed her more recent work on the governance of integration for asylum seekers and refugees across the UK and Europe.  Emma’s talk was focused on ‘Co­lo­ni­al gene­a­lo­gies and the Glasgow Bajuni Cam­paign’. This is a lesser known and challenging topic, based on Dr Hill’s ethnographic work in Glasgow over 2 years. The talk touched on the self-representation of asylum seekers, noting the construction of a sense of place as well as highlighting identity and language in asylum-seeking procedures.

Our three guest speakers were then invited to participate in a Q&A session with our attendees. The interdisciplinary aspect of the day was extremely evident and participants discussed overlapping interests, themes and key questions. We were delighted to receive positive feedback from those who attended and challenged our guests to continue the conversation offline.

We were tweeting throughout the symposium, using the hashtag #HWIRC2021. This time, we were careful not to use any hashtags that were taken by other conferences. Those of you who were at our previous IRC Symposium in 2019 may remember that #IRC2019 was also used by the International Rubber Conference and the International Rapeseed Congress 2019, which led to some funny interactions on Twitter!

The symposium was interpreted into British Sign Language by our BSL Interpreters.

CEILIDH – MUSIC AND POETRY

7:00pm brought around our IRC Online Ceilidh, where we welcomed talented performers to share vocals, poems and discussions around the focus of our day, ‘People, Landscape and a Sense of Place’.

Our first performer was Steve Byrne, a Scots singer and researcher who was awarded the title of Scots Singer of the Year in 2019. He shared a few songs with us which we all enjoyed, as he recounted his authentic experiences with ‘People, Landscape and a Sense of Place’.

For more information about Steve, you can click this link: Steve Byrne – folksinger and musician

We then welcomed Meg Bateman to share some of her poetry with us. Meg is a Scottish academic, a poet and a short story writer and we were delighted to listen to her recite some of her work exploring Gaelic culture.

One of her books can be found using this link: Window-to-the-West.pdf (uhi.ac.uk)

Our penultimate performance of the night was by impressive Niillas Holmberg – Sami poet, novelist, scriptwriter and musician. Niillas performed one of his poems and two traditional Sámi yoiks. You can learn more about his work by clicking here: Niillas Holmberg

Finally, we enjoyed listening to Brian Ó hEadhra and Fionnaig Nic Choinnich who are singers and songwriters. They performed songs from the Gaelic traditions, which we were encouraged to singalong to. A link to their latest CD can be found here: Home (brian-fionnag.com)

Our Symposium and Ceilidh were huge successes, and we were delighted to welcome guest speakers and performers to share their knowledge and join the conversation as we focused on key IRC themes, under the main focus of ‘People, Landscape and a Sense of Place’.

For more details about the Her­itage and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty theme, con­tact U.Kockel@hw.ac.uk  

For the Pop­u­lar Cul­ture and In­clu­sion theme, con­tact C.G.Tin­ker@hw.ac.uk  

For the Mi­gra­tion theme, con­tact A.S­trani@hw.ac.uk

Lucy Lannigan, PhD Candidate in Heritage and Sustainability, Intercultural Research Centre

InterTrainE Newsletter: May 2020

Welcome to the fourth newsletter of our Erasmus+ project Intercultural Training for Educators (InterTrainE). The 26-month project (2018-2020) is led by Heriot-Watt University and the Coordinator is Dr Katerina Strani from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

InterTrainE includes 7 partners from 4 countries (UK, Finland, Italy and Greece) and aims to develop an intercultural training programme for educators teaching adult migrants.

The partners are:

Specifically, the project is developing a modularised training curriculum with qualification standards specialised for Adult Education.

It will also produce a handbook for trainers including a theoretical framework of basic concepts, learning outcomes and the training package itself which will include practical exercises and, where possible, case studies.

All the training materials will be uploaded to a publicly accessible Moodle platform, which will be accessed via our website.

Covid-19 impact on our project

These last few months have certainly been different and difficult for many of us. Many aspects of our work and our lives have changed as we are being affected in ways we could not imagine.

In light of the rapidly changing situation with the Coronavirus pandemic, the team decided that our Joint Staff Training Event which was due to take place on 04-08 May 2020 in Rethymno, Greece, had to be postponed. 

If circumstances allow it, we will reschedule for some time in autumn 2020 or winter 2021.

We hope we will be able to organise our Training Event in Rethymno in the near future.
Our flyers are ready and waiting for our JSTE … 🙁

Our 4th project meeting took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions

With the help of technology, we were able to hold an online partners’ meeting on the 18th of May instead of our planned one in Crete. We discussed the current and next stages of the project and made sure that everyone is all right and coping with the situation at the moment. The meeting agenda can be found here.

During this online meeting, the team – joined by our external evaluator, Dr. Jim Crowther – discussed the impact of Covid-19 on our project, the communications between our coordinator and the National Agency and an eventual request for our project’s extension. This would allow us to carry out our Joint Staff Training Event and Multiplier Events in the future, hopefully once the situation with Covid-19 will be clearer.

Progress

  • Our teams have completed our Curriculum development on intercultural education and training for Adult educators, which was developed based on O1 and O2 results, and our Intellectual Outputs 5 and 6, the Training guide for adult educators and the course syllabus with final material and useful information and tips will be made available to Adult educators and all interested parties. We also submitted a further progress report to the funder in April 2020, and we are awaiting the results and any recommendations.
  • We are now working on our Output 4, the learning materials for our online platform. The objective is to elaborate a set of sample training materials organised in modules and divided into topics. We are working on the development of the MOOC, where the training materials will be uploaded and adapted.
  • Our  External Evaluator, Dr Jim Crowther gave us his comments and evaluation of our overall progress and we were happy to confirm that our work runs smoothly despite all the difficulties we face. We are very grateful to our external evaluator for his feedback and guidance so far. His expertise and engagement with the project are invaluable.

You can find all our completed outputs (IO1, IO2, IO3, IO5, IO6) on our website: http://intertraine.eu/outputs

Remember that our website and our outputs are available in all project languages: English, Italian, Greek and Finnish.

The InterTrainE Moodle platform

During our meeting, our Finnish partner also showed us the Moodle platform and we discussed the final stages of Intellectual Output 4 – the online course. Finally, we discussed the outputs’ evaluation and peer reviewing process.

LFI colleagues taking us through the comprehensive Moodle platform and through all the features

In the meantime, and as we all await developments on current circumstances, the InterTrainE partners have been busy getting used to working from home and still trying to engage with our audiences. We are continuing our research activities and development of material from home or from the workplace for those of us who are allowed to do so!

Chrysi from Creative Learning Programmes (CLP) working from home in the UK
Katerina (the coordinator) from Heriot-Watt University working from home in the UK.

Monica from Studio Risorse back in her office in Matera, Italy!
Babis and Dimitra from KEKAPER back in their office in Rethymno, Crete !

We are very excited and looking forward to presenting our platform soon, as online education has a more crucial role than ever before to support and connect learning communities. Stay tuned and check out our activities on our website:   http://intertraine/eu

Online resources accessible now

While you are anxiously waiting for our updates (😊 😊), you can have a look at these online resources and tools for learners, teachers and educators during the outbreak of COVID-19 provided by EU-funded projects:

https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/coronavirus-online-learning-resources/eu-funded-projects_en

If you are an educator, the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe- has just opened a call for #AdultLearning community to share their stories. 

Why not share yours at https://epale.ec.europa.eu/en/blog/community-stories-initiative ?

Stay safe, everyone!

Project website and social media accounts

Our project website includes information and updates on our project, as well as all Intellectual Outputs to date. The website is available in all partner languages – English, Greek, Italian and Finnish.

Updates are published regularly on social media. To make sure you don’t miss out:

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Research Gate  

Our next newsletter will be out in Autumn 2020, so stay tuned!

Contact

For any questions or comments, please contact the project coordinator:

Dr Katerina Strani

Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

Henry Prais Building

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh EH14 4AS

UK

Tel: +44 131 451 4216

A.Strani@hw.ac.uk

IndyLan Newsletter – January 2020

Welcome to the first newsletter of our Erasmus+ project Mobile Virtual Learning for Indigenous Languages (IndyLan). The 26-month project (2019-2021) is led by Heriot-Watt University and the Coordinator is Dr Katerina Strani from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

IndyLan includes 5 partners from 4 countries (UK, Finland, Norway and Spain) and aims to develop a mobile application which will help to learn the languages and cultures associated with the following indigenous languages: Gaelic, Scots, Cornish, Basque, Galician and Saami. The project will develop an educational tool designed specifically for users to learn not only some of Europe’s endangered languages but also more about the cultures of the people who speak these languages.

The partners are:

The IndyLan application will help speakers of English, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish to learn Gaelic (designated as ‘definitely endangered’), Scots (‘severely endangered’), Cornish (‘critically endangered’), Basque (‘severely endangered’), Galician (a minority language) and Saami (‘severely endangered’). 


The tool constitutes a gamified language-learning solution in the form of a mobile application. Smartphones have become a popular educational tool and the number of the smartphone and tablet users of all ages is constantly growing in the EU. The application is building on a previous project, Moving Languages, with the key difference that IndyLan will produce one application for all languages, and not multiple language-specific applications as Moving Languages did. IndyLan will contain around 4,000 vocabulary items (both terms and expressions) in about 100 categories. The modes that will be available in the application are: Vocabulary; Phrases; Dialogues; Grammar; Culture; Test. 

The app will be launched at the Final Dissemination Conference in Cornwall in September 2021. It will be available for download globally for free in both iOS and Android. Like all language-learning apps, IndyLan is complementary to other language- and culture courses and can be considered to be part of self-study material.

Our vision is for the IndyLan app to contribute to endangered language learning and revitalisation so that these languages remain alive and relevant in contemporary societies and economies. 

News and updates

Our kick-off meeting took place in Edinburgh on 07-08 October 2019. 

Partners met at Heriot-Watt University‘s Riccarton campus and discussed the project’s timeline, milestones and deadlines. They agreed on the project logo and on the design of the website. Each partner gave an overview of their contribution. The project evaluation procedures were also finalised, and the procedure of appointing an external evaluator was agreed upon. The external evaluator for the project will be Dr Philip McDermott, Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, University of Ulster. The full agenda of the meeting can be found here.

(L-R) – Áile Jávo (Saami Council), Mark Trevethan (Cornwall Council), Katerina Strani (HWU), Veronica Gelfgren (Learnmera Oy), Naroa Bengoetxea (Asociación Moviéndote)

The first Intellectual Output is a short needs analysis, which will be published in early February. The 2nd Intellectual Output will be the application itself, which will be ready in beta version by April 2021. The 3rd Intellectual Output will be the pilot testing of the app which will be carried out by remote users as well as participants in our multiplier events in all partner countries in the summer of 2021. The app will be launched at the Final Dissemination Conference in Cornwall in September 2021. It will be available for download globally for free in both iOS and Android.

Discussing the budget
A long but productive day!
Discussing the vocabulary and going through more than 4,000 terms!
Finished! Now time for the partner dinner.
(L-R): Katerina Strani (HWU), Veronica Gelfren (Learnmera Oy), Mark Trevethan (Cornwall Council), Naroa Bengoetxea (Asociación Moviéndote), Áile Jávo (Saami Council)
The IndyLan project partners with our Intercultural Research Centre Directors Ullrich Kockel and Máiréad Nic Craith

Our project website will soon be available, so stay tuned!

Next project meeting:

10-11 June 2020

Karasjok, (Sápmi) Norway

Hosted by the Saami Council Headquarters

 Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndylanApp

 Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectIndyLan

For any questions or comments, please contact the project coordinator:

Dr Katerina Strani

Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

Henry Prais Building

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh EH14 4AS

UK

Tel: +44 131 451 4216

A.Strani@hw.ac.uk

Language exchanges made simple

LINCS is glad to announce that this academic year (2019-20), a Language Tandem app will be running after the huge success and very positive feedback received last year. This app is intended to get Heriot-Watt students (and staff, if they so wish) in touch so that they can practice their languages.

Language Tandem App – what is it?

Language Tandem App is designed and developed for and by Heriot-Watt University students under the guidance José M Conde and Liz Thoday (LINCS) and Santiago Chumbe (MACS).  

The app aims to help language learners find conversation partners. Think Tinder, but with languages!

How does it work?

It’s very easy. You just need to sign up with your Heriot-Watt University email account. The first page you encounter should look something like this:

To sign up you’ll need your HWU credentials, and once you’re in, you’ll need to create a profile. We recommend that you create a profile that represents who you are. Don’t be shy, let others know what your interests are, it could be anything from football to manga. Once you find someone that matches your profile, say hi to them, get a conversation started and in no time you could be meeting socially to practice your foreign language.


“I found the app very useful, I was able to speak with my match in the foreign language I am studying (Spanish) and they spoke to me in English to improve, giving each other feedback as we went along.”
(anonymous feedback)

The idea is for students meet regularly and practice English for, say, 30 minutes, and another language (there are many to choose from!) for another 30 minutes. This is a brilliant opportunity for people who need an extra little bit of conversation practice, and for this reason, we’ve created a platform where you’re in control, you decide who you want to meet up with, and you decide what languages you want to practice!


“Very useful as it is a great way to find people that are able to help you and want to chat in a casual setting”  (anonymous feedback)

LINCS teaching mobility at Hanoi University (HANU)

By Ramon Inglada

Between August 18-25, Ramon Inglada, Assistant Professor in Spanish and Translation Technologies in LINCS, had the priviledge of carrying out a teaching mobility in Vietnam, at Hanoi University (HANU), under the framework of the Marco Polo international cooperation programme between Asian and European universities.

During his stay in Vietnam, Ramon, who is also the LINCS Director of Studies for Incoming Exchange Students, attended several meetings with HANU’s international office staff. The main purpose of these meetings was to analyse and compare how the academic exchange programmes work in both institutions. Ways to further promote international cooperation, not only between Hanoi University and Heriot-Watt University but also in more general terms between European and Asian academic institutions, were also discussed.

One of the sessions on computer-assisted translation tools delivered by Ramon Inglada during his stay at HANU

Ramon was also offered the possibility of collaborating with the Spanish and English departments at HANU. His activities there included the delivery of several sessions, both in English and Spanish, and in one case in front of an audience of more than 100 students, about professional practices in translation and on translation technologies (mainly computer-assisted translation tools and machine translation). The languages departments at both Hanoi University and Heriot-Watt University have a very strong focus on translation and interpreting, and these sessions were therefore considered to be very relevant for HANU’s cohort of final year language students.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Cuc Phuong, Vice President of Hanoi University, presents Ramon Inglada with his certificate of participation in the Marco Polo project.

This extremely valuable teaching mobility experience with an Asian university was very useful to explore further cooperation opportunities between the two institutions and also to raise the international profile and standing of Heriot-Watt University.

More information on the Marco Polo project, which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, can be found here: marcopoloproject.eu

InterTrainE Newsletter: May 2019

Welcome to the second newsletter of our Erasmus+ project Intercultural Training for Educators (InterTrainE). The 26-month project (2018-2020) is led by Heriot-Watt University and the Coordinator is Dr Katerina Strani from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies.

InterTrainE includes 7 partners from 4 countries (UK, Finland, Italy and Greece) and aims to develop an intercultural training programme for educators teaching adult migrants.

The partners are:

Specifically, the project develops a modularised training curriculum with qualification standards specialised for Adult Education. It will also produce a handbook for trainers including a theoretical framework of basic concepts, learning outcomes and the training package itself which will include practical exercises and, where possible, case studies. All the training materials will be uploaded to a MOOC.

Multiplier Events will take place in each country in 2020 (watch this space for details!).

A Joint Staff Training Event will take place in Rethymnon, Crete, in March/April 2020, where the partners will test the curriculum and training materials before these are finalised and presented at the Final Dissemination Conference in Edinburgh in September 2020.  

Our 2nd project meeting took place in Matera on 11-12 April 2019
Matera is European Capital of Culture 2019!

Partners met at Studio Risorse‘s offices and discussed:

  • the recommendations from Outputs 1 and 2 (Needs analysis on Intercultural Training for Educators of Adult Migrants). More than 250 educators and learners took part in the research for these outputs, which aimed to identify existing needs on intercultural training for educators of adult migrants in the partner countries.
  • the external evaluator’s feedback. The external evaluator for the project, Dr Jim Crowther, Senior Lecturer in Community Education, University of Edinburgh, participated in the meeting, gave extensive feedback on Outputs 1 and 2 and recommendations for the next stages.
  • curriculum development and the design for Output 3
  • the project website and Moodle (Output 4)
  • dissemination and social media update
  • progress report for the funder due in May

 The full agenda of the meeting can be found here.

Monica Miglionico from Studio Risorse proposing a curriculum structure
Valeria Zampagni from Il Sicomoro proposing a curriculum structure
The project’s external evaluator, Dr Jim Crowther, is giving us feedback and useful recommendations for the next stages of curriculum design and course development

Progress – Curriculum design

For information on O1 and O2, please see our previous newsletter as well as our website, where you will be able to download the relevant reports.

We have agreed on a curriculum structure for Intellectual Output 3 (O3). The curriculum for our Intercultural Training course will be designed in a modularised form and translated into the partners’ languages (Finnish, Italian and Greek) by July 2019, after which the relevant O3 report will be published on our website.

Course materials

Each partner will develop course materials which will be adapted according to local needs (see recommendations in national reports for O1 and O2). These course materials will constitute Output 4 and they will be online in the form of a Moodle by April 2020.

In the meantime, Multiplier Events will be organised in each country (UK, Italy, Greece, Finland) to test the material before they are live on the project platform / Moodle.

March/April 2020 will also see the project’s Joint Staff Training Event will take place in Rethymnon, Crete.

Project website and social media accounts

Our project website includes information and updates on our project, as well as all Intellectual Outputs to date. The website is available in all partner languages – English, Greek, Italian and Finnish.

Updates are published regularly on social media. To make sure you don’t miss out:

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

Follow us on Research Gate  

Our next newsletter will be out in October 2019. Stay tuned!

Next project meeting

12-13 September 2019
Helsinki, Finland

Contact

For any questions or comments, please contact the project coordinator:

Dr Katerina Strani

Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

Henry Prais Building

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh EH14 4AS

UK

Tel: +44 131 451 4216

A.Strani@hw.ac.uk

Reporting from SIEF 2019

by Alastair Mackie, LINCS/IRC PhD student

A group of colleagues from the IRC participated in the biannual conference of SIEF, the International Society of Ethnology and Folklore, in Santiago de Compostela, in April 2019. The theme of the conference was “Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World”.

The conference had a very welcoming atmosphere, despite the sheer size of it. Although I have only been working on my research for just over a year, there were several familiar faces present and I quickly felt at home. Amongst those attending there was a large delegation from Scotland, not only from the IRC but also many from the Elphinstone Institute in Aberdeen. For it really being a small country, it always surprises me how many ethnologists there are in Scotland. Discussing our work with peers from nearby and far away is always rewarding. For me, these are the most valuable experiences of such a conference, more so than the presentations I attend.

The IRC had a very strong presence in SIEF 2019, as was the case in past conferences. We presented a large variety of research using different methods.Chiara Cocco presented a paper on “Pilgrimage as a means of memory of dark heritage: the case study of Misija Sibiras in Lithuania”. This paper focuses on the expeditions to Siberia organized by the Lithuanian organization Misija Sibiras (Mission Siberia). Chiara interprets these journeys as secular pilgrimages through which young Lithuanians commemorate their past and deal with the painful heritage of their country.

Cait McCullagh presented a paper on Tracking futures at 60 Degrees North – co-curation across Orkney and Shetland: collaboratively deliberating praxis, value formation and learning for sustainable development”. Based on ethnography and practice-based research in Scotland’s Northern Isles, this paper considers a performative praxis of co-curating maritime heritage-making as future assembling, deliberative value formation, elicitive of social learning for sustainable development in vulnerable environments.

Naomi Harvey presented a paper on “The Scotland’s sounds’ network: exploring the participatory role of sound archives in continuing traditions.” The paper discussed the ‘Scotland’s Sounds’ network of sound collections, exploring how this ‘distributed archive’ model functions through participatory work across the sound archive sector, and looking at how increasing access to archives has an impact on the practice of cultural traditions.

Kerstin Pfeiffer chaired and co-convened the panel “Through the lens of affect and emotion: exploring the potentials [SIEF Working Group on Body, Affects, Senses and Emotions (BASE)]” with Jonas Frykman from Lund University. This was the most popular panel of the conference, with 30+ abstracts submitted, and spin-off panels created as a result.

“Ethnologists and folklorists employ a range of perspectives when probing different aspects of socio-cultural phenomena related to the body, affects, senses and emotions. Rather than constituting a field in its own right, their research engages with and enriches established research areas. This panel continues to explore the creative potential the perspective has brought to research areas discussed at previous BASE working group meetings, like migration, sports, material culture, religious practices, theatrical performances, music, dwelling and so on. What are the most rewarding outcomes? In how far are they innovative in the context of a particular research field? How do they fill the gaps in the existent understandings of particular phenomena, notably those engaging body and senses? Which difficulties do resarchers encounter when trying to apply this lens to the existent ethnographic and folkloristic data? In what way does it change the ways we engage in ethnographic work and does it allow for establishment of novel fieldwork-based epistemologies? We welcome proposals for papers that deal with historical and contemporary materials, old and and new topics, original fieldwork or archived material, However, by clearly addressing the questions noted above, the papers should focus on exploring the creative potential – as well as the challenges – presented by the lens of affect and emotion. “

Session 1

Paradise lost: inheriting the summerhouse. Jonas Frykman (Lund University).

Emotion and its role in ethnicity creation within Konkani community, Kochi, India. Alina Kaczmarek-Subramanian (The Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS).

Doing the festival. Making the city and region into sensual places. Connie Reksten (Western Norway University).

Understanding affective strategies and counterstrategies: examining political emotions as cultural practices. Monique Scheer (University of Tuebingen).

Navigating the ocean of suspicion: affective politics and materiality in Cairo. Cairo. Maria Frederika Malmström (Lund University / Columbia University).

Session 2

Affective integration: conceptual and empirical contributions of the lens of affect to migration research. Maja Povrzanovic Frykman (Malmö University).

Affective practices of unemployment. Tytti Steel (University of Helsinki).

Body in traditional costume – new approach to traditional costume research. Maria Gacic (Museum of Dakovo Region).

 Sensual engagement in sports: researcher’s and actants’ emotional involvement and the productive use of emotions in and of the field. Yonca Krahn (Universität Zürich).

Marc Romano presented a paper on “Digital Media, a tool to redefine a contemporary Scottish Identity”. Following the Brexit referendum, the question of national identity and belonging wa raised and challenged particularly in Scotland where their origins are strongly aligned with Europe. This paper explores the redefinition of contemporary Scottish identity through the use of digital media.

I presented a poster on “New meanings of European identity in Scotland”. The poster presents results of my ongoing PhD research project on the perception of European identity in post-Brexit Scotland with a particular focus on the relation between European identity and small state vulnerability.

This was my first poster, a medium I was unsure off at first but came to appreciate more when it started to function as a billboard for my research, present throughout the conference. For two of my fellow doctoral students, Chiara Cocco and Marc Romano, it was their first time presenting at an international conference. All presentations were very well received and followed by useful discussions with an interdisciplinary audience.

I also attended some excellent presentations. The closing event started with a fascinating keynote by professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett on the POLIN Museum of the history of Polish Jews, of which she is the Chief Curator. This was followed by a roundtable entitled ‘Listening to objects’, in which three established academics, Regina Bendix, Dorothy Noyes and Sharon Roseman, presented an object (for example a strand of hair or a pot) which seemed bland at first, but about which each of them had a fascinating and often hilarious story to tell. The keynote lecture by Professor Tim Ingold, entitled ‘Strike-through and wipe-out: tactics for overwriting past’ provided much food for thought.

During the opening of the conference we were encouraged to take part in at least one panel which did not relate to our research, just for fun and to expand our horizons. For me, this was a panel on cuteness: a concept I hadn’t really considered before (apart from the occasional cat video) but which was fascinating. In particular, the presentation by Professor Irene Stengs from the Meertens Institute on the King of Thailand’s cute cartoons was thought-provoking.

Beside the interesting panels and discussion, we also find time to explore Santiago de Compostela and to experience the local cuisine. I was a particular fan of pulpo (octopus), a local delicacy which somehow also became our team mascot.

You can check out #SIEF2019 on Twitter for more details, and in particular #team_hwu_irc

** Our colleague Katerina Strani found pulpo on the window of high-street shop Anthropologie on George Street in Edinburgh. Clearly it is not only us who think an octopus is the perfect mascot for our discipline!

LINCS welcomed once again the pupils from Larbert High’s School of Languages

By Fanny Chouc

As part of this long-standing cooperation, S1 to S4 pupils visit campus several times a year and get a chance to consolidate their French and Spanish, but also to broaden their knowledge and understanding of languages and cultures.

This scheme was initially set up as a collaborative project to work towards the implementation of the government’s 1+2 policy, and it’s one of the many innovative ways in which LINCS engages with local communities in order to inspire young generations of learners. The project was initiated by Mr Meikle, one of LINCS’s graduates, who is now Depute Rector at  Larbert High, and it has been beneficial to both institutions: young learners with a taste for languages get a chance to further their skills by working with native speakers and talented university students, while discovering our campus, and Heriot-Watt students and Erasmus students and interns get a chance to share their culture and passion for languages, whilst gaining some valuable teaching experience. This collaboration has benefited our graduates and students further, as Larbert High has welcomed some of them as volunteers for some shadowing and classroom experience, like Mrs More. She has been accompanying the groups to her alma mater and this experience enriched her CV; she’s since secured a place on a teacher training postgraduate programme of studies.

So what do pupils do when they visit LINCS?

They engage in a range of activities geared both towards practice, with applied classes in French and Spanish related to their curriculum, but since LINCS is a also very global department, with expertise in multilingualism and multiculturalism, we use the in-house expertise to broaden these young linguists’ horizons.

For instance, during their latest visit, S2 and S3 pupils got an insight into British Sign Language learning, thanks to two of our Honours students from the BSL degree in Interpreting, Translation and Applied Languages Studies. Lou and Louise explained how they came to study this language, how the learning experience is designed and the skills they developed along the way, and pupils’ curiosity was clearly peeked: they asked questions about the language, but also about the deaf community and culture.

Thanks to our Erasmus + intern from Mons University, Nathanaël Stilmant, these two groups also discovered another French-speaking country, Belgium. As part of this session, very much focused on the multilingual nature of this country, pupils also had a chance to learn some Dutch and Walloon.

S4 pupils, who are already thinking of exams, worked on their Spanish with two of our Honours students: Simon and Rachel devised activities around their curriculum, but also shared anecdotes about their experience as students at Heriot-Watt and as Erasmus students abroad, since the M.A. includes two semesters of study in one of our partner institutions on the continent or beyond. This helped young learners consider the importance of a global profile, at a stage when they are making important study choices and are starting to think about higher education.

As for S1 pupils, after a French session with one of our enthusiastic 2nd year, Samuel, they went on an adventure on campus: armed with audio clues in French, they explored the grounds, collecting information along the way, in a bid to crack a code to work out the secret message they had been given. This cross-disciplinary and fun approach gave them a glimpse into the daily life of students as they went from one place to the next, and this discovery experience is also part of a joint bid to make young pupils think about university studies from an early age. It was also a chance for them to realise that languages and STEM subjects often complement each other well: code-breaking has historically been done by linguists as much as scientists; for instance, many of the talented code-breakers who worked in Bletchley Park during World War II were linguists, and worked alongside mathematicians to crack and decipher codes used by enemies to communicate.

But more exciting opportunities lay in store: for their next visits, pupils will get a chance to visit the Confucius Institute for Business and to learn some Esperanto, to name but a few of the activities LINCS has in store for them.

InterTrainE Newsletter: January 2019

Welcome to the first newsletter of our Erasmus+ project Intercultural Training for Educators (InterTrainE). The 27-month project (2018-2020) is led by Heriot-Watt University and the Coordinator is Dr Katerina Strani from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies.

InterTrainE includes 7 partners from 4 countries (UK, Finland, Italy and Greece) and aims to develop an intercultural training programme for educators teaching adult migrants.

The partners are:

Specifically, the project will develop a modularised training curriculum with qualification standards specialised for Adult Education. It will also produce a handbook for trainers including a theoretical framework of basic concepts, learning outcomes and the training package itself which will include practical exercises and, where possible, case studies. All the training materials will be uploaded to a MOOC.

A Joint Staff Training Event will take place in Rethymnon, Crete, in March 2020, where the partners will test the curriculum and training materials before these are finalised and presented at the Final Dissemination Conference in Edinburgh in September 2020.

Our kick-off meeting took place in Edinburgh on 22-23 October 2018.

Partners met at Heriot-Watt University‘s Riccarton campus and discussed the project’s timeline, milestones and deadlines. They agreed on the project logo and on the design of the website. Each partner gave an overview of the Intellectual Output that they would be leading. The project evaluation procedures were also finalised, and the procedure of appointing an external evaluator was agreed upon. The external evaluator for the project will be Dr Jim Crowther, Senior Lecturer in Community Education, University of Edinburgh. The full agenda of the meeting can be found here.


Progress and 1st Intellectual Output (IO1)

The first two Intellectual Outputs (IO1 and IO2) constitute a needs analysis. For IO1, Online questionnaires on educators’ and learners’ experiences and views on intercultural education in each country were designed and distributed. A database of stakeholders in every partner country was created for this purpose as well as for general dissemination purposes. The questionnaire data was collected, analysed and evaluated by each partner. National reports were drafted accordingly, and a project report was completed by CLP, who led this output, in December 2018.

The project report for IO1, which includes the questionnaire templates and findings from all countries participating in the project, can be found here.

2nd Intellectual Output (IO2)

The second phase of the needs analysis, which started in January 2019, includes:

  • background research for existing programmes on intercultural training for educators, aiming to point out the needs for update or the development of new material
  • semi-structured interviews of experts and educators in adult education in each partner country. Interviews are currently under way and the findings will be compared to existing data on qualifications and competences available.

National reports will be drafted, and the leading partner for this IO, Il Sicomoro, will compile the project report for IO2.

This is estimated to be ready in March – watch this space!


Our project website and social media accounts will soon be available, so stay tuned!

Next project meeting:

11-12 April 2019

Matera, Italy

Contact

For any questions or comments, please contact the project coordinator:

Dr Katerina Strani

Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies

Henry Prais Building

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh EH14 4AS

UK

Tel: +44 131 451 4216

A.Strani@hw.ac.uk