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Multilingualism Research Group



Chronotopic Identity and Translanguaging

The Multilingualism Research Group meets once or twice a term to discuss topics related to multilingualism. Normally, the discussion is taken from some published research that we read and reflect on. This time we selected two different but related topics, chronotopic identity and translanguaging. Here are some reflections from students that participated in the discussions.

“Since beginning my studies on the MA MLE programme, I have engaged in reading, writing, and debate on truly exciting topics, including translanguaging and chronotopic identities, with the Multilingualism Research Group. The decolonial and post-structural turn in applied linguistics is something that resonates with me on a very personal level because of the struggles I’ve always experienced when it comes to talking about my identities and my languages. Even now, answering common questions such as, “What is your mother tongue?” and “Where are you from?” forces me to trim and simplify so much of my lived experience and material reality for my answers to be comprehensible to others. Blommaert and De Fina draw on the Bakhtinian notion of the chronotope to develop an approach to analysing and articulating identities that takes into consideration the complex interactions between meaning-making practices, specific timespace configurations, wider sociocultural contexts, and personal agency. I am inspired by their assertion that viewing “identities as chronotopic offers invaluable insights into the complexities of identity issues in superdiverse social environments” and look forward to applying this to my upcoming papers on the indexicality of translingual practices in indie music from Hong Kong and the role of social media in literacy learning and maintenance of cultural connections for young, diasporic Hong Kongers.” Melitta von Pflug, MA MLE.

“The idea of chronotopic identities was completely new to me, but I really enjoyed because it was something very much applicable to my own identity construction in my life stages. We show our identities by different ways of using languages such as young people’s language, dialects, and the way we speak among particular groups. Through the reading, it reminded me of my own school days wearing school uniform, building a sense of camaraderie with my peers as ‘schoolgirls’. I no longer have an identity as a young student, and I don’t speak the same way I did then. Perhaps in the future, when we get together with old classmates for the first time in decades, we will start speaking our common language as we used to do. However, it will be a retrospective and nostalgic experience as we have gone through different stages of life and developed complex identities. In the discussion with MA and PhD students, it was very interesting to share ideas about our common or personal perceptions of strategic language use and identities with all of us coming from different backgrounds.” Sumire Kishida, MA MLE.

“In the Multilingualism Research Group discussion, I enjoyed exploring identity and language through chronotopic identity and translanguaging. It was a brand-new approach for me to study identity and language from the chronotopical perspective, that is, the configuration of time and space. I had thought about conventional research analysed from the standpoint of teacher and student, but I am glad that this discussion has given me a new idea of analysing from time and space. It was also exciting to participate in the discussion with people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In particular, I enjoyed learning about the translingual practices from the stories of students who come from multilingual and multicultural backgrounds. I loved the opportunity to hear the real voices of multilingual speakers and their language practices, which is unique to the Multilingualism Research Group. I was able to have a very meaningful learning opportunity.” Hibiki Jin, MA MLE.

Blog by Students on MA Multilingualism, Linguistics and Education

Find out more or join the Multilingualism Research Group:

Find details of upcoming seminars, events and meetings:

Global Call to Action (GCTA) for Heritage Language (HL) Education


Why not a peaceful world? – Sobhia Anfal Boularas, Peace School, UK


Launched officially on 21st February 2024 for International Mother Language Day (UNESCO), this Global Call to Action has been made by the Global Heritage Language Think Tank, of which Dr Jim Anderson is a member.  It recognises the greater awareness of multilingualism across the world and how heritage languages represent a precious but largely neglected resource in society and in particular within our education system. In a world which is more interconnected and interdependent than ever linguistic skills and intercultural agility are crucially important and an essential means of building social cohesion.

Let us remember that the UK is a multilingual country where an estimated 300 languages are spoken. In fact, over 20% of children come from homes where another language is spoken. It is estimated that some 60 languages are being taught in over 3000 community-led settings, also known as complementary or supplementary schools, attended by many thousands of children who have the potential to reap the recognised benefits associated with bilingualism (cognitive, social, cultural, and vocational). Far from being divisive socially the heritage language learning undertaken in these community settings, provided largely by volunteers, enables young people to develop confidence in their bi/multilingual identities. It also means that as active citizens they can play an important mediating role in local and global communities.

Over the years the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths has played a leading role in promoting an integrated and inclusive approach to language education and in providing professional development courses to support foreign and heritage language learning as well as English as an Additional Language. Through the university’s Centre for Language, Culture and Leaning innovative research has been carried out in relation to multilingual policy, identity and faith, the arts and creativity, digital storytelling and pedagogy. The Critical Connections: Multilingual Digital Storytelling Project (2012-ongoing) is one example of work which has brought together students, teachers and researchers of heritage as well as foreign languages nationally and internationally. Prioritising student agency and voice it has enabled young people to move across curriculum areas, to bridge learning in and beyond the classroom and to draw, critically and creatively on multiple resources for meaning making: Further innovative research can be accessed within the multilingualism strand of CLCL:

Members of the Centre for Language, Culture and Leaning fully endorse the view expressed in Global Call to Action that ‘education must become a fundamental element in official language education policies in societies across the world’. It also pledges its full support to achieving this.

Information about the Global Call to Action for Heritage Language Education

GCTA HLE – v.01 – EN (1)

The Global Call to Action for Heritage Language Education

HLE website


Home, heritage, Community Languages Advisory Group


Blog by Dr Jim Anderson, Centre for Language, Culture and Learning, Goldsmiths

Four key ways we can free our creative voices.

It’s a vital point about creativity: how can we unleash it? Furthermore, how can writers free themselves up so that they feel free to express themselves vividly and imaginatively? These were the central questions — amongst many others — that we explored at our conference, hosted by the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning and MA Creative Writing and Education, on Saturday 16th December at Goldsmiths. It was a lovely, intimate conference full of fascinating sessions and talks, attended by students from the college and also the general public.

The Booker-nominated author Rachel Seiffert gave a highly informative keynote focusing upon the theme, using the structure of poem to inspire delegates to write their own poetry, she was followed by a number of workshops run by alumni and current students on the MA Creative Writing and Education looking at the theme. The day was topped off by another keynote from the Young Adult Children’s author, Victoria Bolavino, talking about how she wrote her novel Not Good for Maidens.

Using Robert Boice’s article Writing Blocks and Tacit Knowledge (1993) as an inspiration, I’ve attempted to draw together the key lessons of the conference into four key lessons.

  1. Engage in exercises with activate ‘automaticity’. This strange word tries to capture the activities which free us from our inner critics, such as freewriting, drawing without rules, leaving a voice note on your phone etc. Throughout the conference, activities like freewriting were widely encouraged. Freewriting is all about writing whatever you want to write within a time constraint, usually just a few minutes. Rachel talked about how difficult some school pupils found freewriting at school, and how they needed lots of practice and encouragement before they could do it, whereas adults often can do it relatively easily. She suggested a way around this was for students to use sentence starters, or existing linguistic structures which they already knew. She quoted a poem which everyone imitated the structure of, and this worked very well. In his workshop, teacher-writer-poet Sam Butler encouraged all of us to freewrite all the activities in a day we enjoy doing as a starter for his exploration on how we can find the butterfly moments within our lives. In her workshop on identity teacher & novelist Desiri Okobia encouraged ‘diagrarting’ (Gilbert 2022), a form of freewriting and drawing, as a way of charting one’s multiple identities. She also encouraged freewriting as a way of fostering creativity. Top tip: use existing structures such as lists, or certain phrases to get the creative juices flowing.
  2. Develop a routine. This was a theme of that many of the talks focused upon. Victoria Bolavino in her lecture really encouraged everyone to develop the routine of regularly re-reading their work and thinking about how they might be engaging their readership better. Her talk really drilled down into the nitty gritty of redrafting. Not an easy process! She suggested that writers re-reading their work needed to repeatedly return to the concepts of character, setting and structure to make sure that all these elements were singing in their work. She illustrated some examples from her own novel, Not Good for Maidens, and showing us how the writing developed. It was very helpful to listen to her talk about her routine of doing this. Top tip: find a notebook and start writing your observations of the world, and/or carve a short space of time 3 or 4 times a week to write for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Work with a community of writers who are kind and responsive. This was another theme that came through in the conference. Nick Bailey shared a powerful short story of his about a teenage boy who suffers a sexual assault. Nick put the other attendees at the workshop in a circle, and fostered a collegiate spirit as everyone thought carefully about the issues the story raised, and then wrote their own responses to it. Autumn Sharkey led a fascinating workshop where everyone wrote about their most embarrassing/shameful moments/thoughts and deliberately did not share them with anyone else. This weirdly fostered a sense of community amongst all of us, even though everything written was private and was destroyed either by painting over it, or ripping it up. Top tip: team up with other writers and encourage each other: form a writers’ group, share your work, motivate each other.
  4. Use cognitive prompts. These are engaging activities which get the creative juices following. There were plenty of these in the conference! Siamak Khezrian, writer/teacher, used his story about a couple deciding whether to take in two refugees from different backgrounds and countries, as a prompt to get us thinking about the wider political issues of the day. This then led on to him encouraging us to write about moral dilemmas and issues in contemporary society which troubled us. Writer, teacher and poet, Aimee Skelton, asked everyone to consider the etymology of words as a source of inspiration for creative writing. Top tip: use recycled bits of paper, leaflets, newspapers etc as inspiration, cut them up, arrange them into poems, use them as prompts for stories.

Delegates’ feedback

In delegates’ evaluation of the conference, here are some of things they learnt and enjoyed:

The introduction of the concept ‘automacity’ was hugely liberating for me. I tend to overthink themes and ideas I want to write about, which ultimately slows the creative process. Automacity as a tool/technique really has the potential to change the rhythm of the entire writing process for me. I found so much of the day incredibly stimulating. Thank you!

The Freeing Creative Voice workshop was superb! I have learnt so many useful exercises to help free up my creative voice and to further develop my skills. In the past, I had lost confidence in my writing ability and this workshop helped me to reignite it again. All in all i had a fantastic experience and I’m very happy to have attended.

I learned about approaching vulnerability in writing, how to deal with it with care.

I learned about approaching vulnerability in writing, how to deal with it with care.

I loved the range of exercises , the enthusiasm of the teachers and just how all the exercises helped silence the noise inside that can interfere with the process of writing.

As a current student, it’s delightful to foresee myself by learning from previous students on this programme(MACWE). In addition, it’s good to learn more ways of free writing exercises outside of the class.

How to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, the importance and impact of specificity and the transformational power of metamorphosis.

I learnt lots of different approaches to my own creativity, felt amazing to try some new angles on places to write from.

The techniques and the pleasure of writing freely.

I really enjoyed the variety of workshops and activities used. I learned about some new activities and some adaptations of exercises I am familiar with. Really nice, warm, welcoming space.

I enjoyed the morning session writing the poem using the prompt ‘And now I am’, as I found it grounding. I enjoyed looking at what was produced. I learned a way to help shy or reluctant learners share by getting them to read the aspects of a piece of writing that most stood out for them and how this encourages connection. Also enjoyed the exercise that focused on writing down stuff and destroying it and the link to what’s hidden deep in our minds.

Excercises can help stimulate ideas and give structure to writing but also that freewriting is also a wonderful to get started with things. In some of the sessions we were asked to write which I found daunting and would have ordinarily avoided, but it was great to be put on the spot and I was pleasantly surprised by what I produced!

The videos

You can watch my introduction and Rachel Seiffert’s keynote workshop here:


You can watch Autumn Sharkey’s workshop here:

You can watch Aimee Skelton’s workshop on creative writing, etymology and the underworld here:


You can watch Nick Bailey’s workshop here where he shares a short story which provokes an interesting discussion and creative responses about issues connected with consent, trauma and identity:

You can watch Victoria Bolavino’s workshop here:


Boice, R. (1993). Writing Blocks and Tacit Knowledge. The Journal of Higher Education (Columbus), 64(1), 19.

Gilbert, F. (2022). Diagrarting: Theorising and practising new ways of writing and drawing. New Writing (Clevedon, England), 19(2), 153-182.


Special thanks to Carrie Sweeney (MA in Creative Writing and Education) and Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley (MA in Creative Writing and Education) for helping to organise the conference. Thanks also Carrie for monitoring the online side of the conference during the day. Thanks to Professor Vicky Macleroy for being so supportive in so many ways.

How can we harness the power of creativity? A report from the Creative Power Conference

Last Friday, December 9th 2022, the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning and the MA in Creative Writing and Education hosted a conference on ‘creative power’, which explored the value of creativity, its impact and how it might be harnessed and generated in the world. Professor Vicky Macleroy introduced the conference, and explained how it was children’s books that really inspired her to read and sent her imagination soaring. After a brief explanation of the schedule of the conference by myself, performance artist and alumni of the MA in Creative Writing and Education, Sally Horowitz, acted out a washed up writer in a bar, searching for inspiration; this writer though found inspiration in people’s suggestions for being creative which the bar tender (played by me) had collected in written form and put in one of her wine glasses. You can see the introductions by Vicky and Sally’s performance here:



This wonderful performance was followed by a keynote speech by the incredible children’s author and illustrator, Guy Parker Rees, who gave such a refreshing, light-hearted and profoundly serious talk. He said that everyone can draw in their own way and we can all use drawing to unlock our creativity. His talk can be seen here:

Guy had talked quite a bit about the therapeutic power of art to heal childhood traumas and understand them. Moreover, he had suggested that psychotherapy provides a useful framework for understanding how art works both for artists and for its receivers: its readers, its appreciators, its devotees. Dr Eric Harper and Rozin Anwar, both psychotherapists, explored these themes in even more depths. Rozin talked about the ways in which life is full of knots that can be untied and explored in part by the psychotherapeutic practice. Eric put great emphasis upon psychotherapists providing a safe space for people to speak their desires, their fantasies, their darkest and most optimistic visions. You can see their talk here:

Alumni of the course Danja Sanovic, an experienced teacher and rather wonderful writer, had us all in stitches with her fantastic impersonation of a strict, narrow-minded English teacher teaching GCSE English, and the creative writing component of the exam. Through this powerful role play, she showed how restricting the ‘recipe’ approach to teaching creative writing can be, and generated much laughter by showing her deliberately bad examples of creative writing, which illustrate many of the issues that children exhibit in their creative writing when forced to write to strict models. A current student on the course, script writer Emilia Amodio, then illustrated how collage can offer a great way of inspiring the uninspired to be creative. It was a perfect antidote to Danja’s satire; we all got cutting and sticking to produce our own collages. She generated the same spirit as Guy in encouraging playfulness within certain constraints. Here are Danja and Emilia’s talks:

There was a break for lunch, and then alumni of the MA in Creative Writing and Education, teacher & author, Seb Duncan showed us how Google’s Streetview can be used to inspire and guide writers to write meaningfully about place. Taking James Joyce’s Ulysses (the Wandering Rocks section in particular) as a starting point, he cleverly related Joyce’s writing about Dublin in this experimental novel to using Streetview. It’s an ingenious, sophisticated talk, and well worth watching carefully. Here it is:

Alumni of the MA in Creative Writing and Education, teacher & auteur, Rhys Byrom, then showed us how the classic structures of stories can be ‘hacked’ (in a techy sense) to create new forms. Drawing upon the ideas about story structure from Kurt Vonnegut, he showed how classic story structures can be used and subverted to create new enlightened, non-patriarchal, non-hegemonic narratives. Here is his talk:

A current student on the MA in Creative Writing and Education, Syeda Salmah, then showed us how certain techniques such as freewriting and ‘diagrarting’ (a mixture of using drawing, writing and dialogue) can be used to investigate your memories. Her work showed how she was able to explore her own East London, British-Bengali heritage and her parents’ experiences through the use of fiction and non-fiction. It’s another innovative, ground-breaking talk:

Much of the work of the conference delegates is in two anthologies: Diversity and Inspiration, and Creative Power. The editors of the former anthology, Deborah Friedland and Gabe Troiano, discussed the work in it, reading some moving extracts about creativity in it.

The conference closed with a fantastic spoken word performance from Christian Foley who rapped the key concepts of it in dazzling style. The cover illustrator of the aforementioned anthologies, Georgia Cowley, then showed us her illustration of the whole conference. You can see her explanations (and Christian’s rap) in this video here:

Her incredible illustration of the whole conference is here (the video contains a full explanation of what’s in it):

But even though that was the end of the official conference, the literary celebrations continued with Autumn Sharkey and Sally Horowitz hosting a fun-packed ‘Literary Cabaret’; this is a concept of their own making and is truly a marvellous creation. I attended with a number of other MA Creative Writing and Education and PGCE students; we played some brilliant games such as ‘pin the poem’ (very similar to pin the donkey); musical writing (musical chairs with creative writing thrown in); spin the bottle and read with a particular emotion (furious, angry, seductive, exhausted etc). It was such fun! Such larks! It was also really creative; it super-charged our imaginative energies, and it was lovely to share all of our writing through these crazy games. Autumn and Sally were lovely hosts, offering us both a safe and challenging space to be creative in.

So to sum up, what were the ideas, concepts, strategies and suggestions from the conference which showed us all how to harness the power of our creativity. I would suggest they were:

  1. Find your inner child; learn to play again, to set yourself free by drawing (Guy Parker Rees), collaging (Emilia Amodio) and role-playing (Sally Horowitz).
  2. Generate flow by regularly freewriting and diagrarting (Syeda)
  3. Use modern technologies such as Google streetview to stimulate and enliven (Seb)
  4. Use ancient ideas such as Aristotle story structure ideas to shape stories (Rhys)
  5. Be mindful to step out of hegemonic, colonised ways of thinking (Guy, Rhys, Syeda, Emilia)
  6. Learn about the therapeutic and healing power of art and dialogue, and create space spaces for expression of feelings and opinions to untie the knots of trauma (Eric and Rozin)



Children’s Literature in Action Book Publication and Launch

Centre for Language, Culture and Learning, Goldsmiths, University of London

30 September 2022

A lot has been written and said by critics, authors, parents and teachers about children’s books and how they benefit children. But what do the children say? How do they respond to stories and use them to create their personal inner landscapes of meaning?

Goldsmiths, University of London, proudly presents ‘Children’s Literature in Action’ which explores this question through the power of practitioner and action research.

This innovative book contains a series of highly original research studies carried out by students taking the ‘Children’s Literature in Action’ module which is part of the MA Children’s Literature programme. These studies were carried out by MA students between 2014 and 2021. The authors investigate the power and impact of a range of different reading experiences for children from reception to secondary school age. Focusing on different ways in which children’s literature supports the development of empathy, critical thinking and creativity, the book is divided into four sections, each with an introduction by the editors.

Part One: six studies explore the impact of picturebooks on children’s reading and how picturebooks can be used in practice to deepen understanding of children’s own literary lives and their understanding of the wider world.

Part Two: six studies look at how culture and humour motivate young readers. These chapters truly reflect the power of practitioner and action research and should give the reader a spark to give it a go themselves.

Part Three: four studies discuss the use of poetry in the reading and language classroom as a highly personal and effective way to develop reflexivity and be empowered by the nuances of language

Part Four: three studies, undertaken during the pandemic, focus on relationships and how

they affect reading motivation. It reflects a few of the diverse physical spaces and types of relationships in which children may actively connect with stories.

Children’s Literature in Action is beautifully illustrated by our MA Children’s Literature book illustrators (in collaboration with a creative writer). The three lead editors are Richard Charlesworth, Deborah Friedland and Helen Jones. There are 19 MA alumni contributing their outstanding research studies to the book with an introduction by Dr Julia Hope and Professor Michael Rosen and a conclusion by Professor Vicky Macleroy.

Cover design and Reading Relationships Illustration by Georgia Cowley

You can purchase a paperback version of the book here.

You can also read an e-copy of the book hosted on the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning website accessed here:
Children’s Literature in Action E-Book

You can watch a recording of the ‘Children’s Literature in Action’ book launch here.


Blog by Deborah Friedland, Helen Jones and Richard Charlesworth (Lead Editors)

IBBY Children’s Literature Silent Book Exhibition

Centre for Language, Culture and Learning Event – Goldsmiths, University of London

11 March 2022 – 10.00 am – 6.00 pm

Poster print design for the book exhibition by Ningjing Yuan, MA Children’s Book Illustration student, Goldsmiths, University of London

This was a wonderful opportunity to see an Exhibition of Silent Books from the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honour List 2017.

74 Silent Books from 20 countries

(Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA)

What is a silent book? This seems an odd term for a book that always seems so polyphonic – full of voices and sounds. Silent books are picturebooks, comics and graphic novels with no words to tell the narrative. Words may appear on signs and in the illustrations but do not guide or tell the story.

Many of the books are very experimental. I feel like as we grow older, we tend to oversee and overcomplicate everything so some of the books are a bit hard to read and understand without words, but once you slow down and try to see things exactly as they are, it starts to make sense (exhibition visitor).

The exhibition was originally shipped from Switzerland, and we transformed the Top Floor of the Educational Studies department into an exhibition space. The PhD and MA Children’s Literature students helped to set up and run the exhibition. Over 50 visitors came to the exhibition and became fascinated about how the illustrators from different cultures and countries had decided to illustrate their stories. Reflections written, scribbled, drawn on post-it notes stuck on a large outline of a book captured some of the varied and fascinating reading experiences of visitors to the exhibition who came to browse and then stayed for hours.

Reflective snippets from exhibition visitors

A very impressive exhibition – very inspiring, which recalls my bygone days, full of fun and imagination, and cultural messages.

Really inspiring exhibition! I particularly loved the different styles and ways to tell a story without words.

A great exhibition! Interesting to see a common theme of children going on an imaginary journey with their toys.

Lovely variety of books. Lots of journeys. I intend to buy some of them for my school.

Really fantastic! It’s a good chance for me to enjoy so many great works!

Fascinating selection – so many different types of narrative.

Very reluctantly had to tear myself away from this very yummy selection! Thank you so much for this treat!

Such a great book will make the reader feel amazing!

Love this book so much! I can’t wait to start drawing now.

I want to repeat the story again and again.

Lovely book, good illustrations, captivating story, bold colours, and the sense of motion.

This book definitely shows how silent books can work on many levels and can be both for adults and children.  

It was a great experience. I love all the books. So amazing!

I realised the charm of silent books! Books in every country have their own styles. Lovely!

Do read more about IBBY Silent Book Exhibitions and how they came into being. You can access resources on reading these books in a community with different languages and a booklet using Silent Books with children.

We look forward to hosting a new exhibition of Silent Books at Goldsmiths in 2023. If you are interested in a PhD or MA Children’s Literature (3 pathways – Issues and Debates, Creative Writing; Children’s Book Illustration) contact me at Goldsmiths:

Blog by Vicky Macleroy

Curriculum and Pedagogy: Approaches to internationalising UK universities through culturally responsive multilingual classrooms

Globalisation has become the central issue of our time and defined the world we inherited. Such processes have been taking place for a long time, but have been accelerated and intensified in the past few decades by the increasing digitalisation; the accelerating cross-border financial flows and human traffic, the integrating trading and economic activity, and increasing use of common currencies and languages across different nations. The impact that these changes are having on universities is profound and, within universities, the key strategic responses to globalisation have come to be known as internationalisation. Therefore, it can be understood that the concepts of globalisation and internationalisation have attained household status in many fields of human endeavour, especially in higher education (Maringe & Foskett, 2010). Or in other words, the reciprocity that exists between these two concepts. For example, the intensification of student mobility that may result from an institutional strategy to increase overseas student recruitment contributes to the further intensification of globalisation. Similarly, intensifying curriculum internationalisation processes will result in making the university educational product more attractive and therefore help to increase student mobility in recruitment markets. As a result, over the past 10 or 12 years, the term internationalisation has gone from nowhere to be everywhere across UK universities, which hastened the publication of The Internationalisation of Higher Education Whitepaper in 2016.

However, there are reportedly disadvantages and low attainments among international students. This is worsening in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the intense UK-China relations. Chinese international students in particular have encountered ever increasing racial profiling in UK universities. There is limited research on how neoliberal discourse in education has impacted on the identities of  international students and how attainments of international students are affected by internationalisation, marketisation, and racialisation (neo-racism or cultural discrimination) in UK HE (Smith, 2020). Research on UK BAME domiciled students identified ethnic inequalities in UK elite university admissions, widening student attainment gaps, and racial privilege (see Alexander & Arday, 2015; Sian, 2019). This focus however does not capture the experiences of racialised international students. Studies of international students focus on their intercultural challenges but overlook the wider political issues associated with marketisation and racialisation. Culture shocks and alienation are revealed in experiences of Chinese international students (Gu, 2009). To cope, some adopt various learning modes (Wu, 2015). Many ‘cuddle for warmth’ with each other and foster ‘Chinese schools’ within UK HE (Yu & Moskal, 2019). This is driven by both growing Chinese nationalism and the ‘re-learning’ of cultural roots in foreign and alienating context (Gu & Schwersfurth, 2015). The literature on diversity and inclusion strategies in UK HE argues that the pursuit of economic efficiency creates institutional constraints on teachers to develop inclusive pedagogies (Hockings, 2010). This in turn often reinforces the culture shocks and alienation experienced by International students.

It is within the above context, the proposed project aims to make a wholistic study of the curriculum design and the pedagogy implemented, examining both attainments and changing identities of university (Chinese) international students in the processes of market driven learning experience within the context of HE reforms across the UK and China, the increasingly tense UK-China relations, and the Covid-19 pandemic. The project employs questionnaire surveys, interviews, and focus groups for its inquiry with attempt to support UK-HE policymakers in their efforts to provide an equal and inclusive HE and inform culturally responsive multilingual classrooms.

Blog by Yangguang Chen 


How collaboration can bring Portuguese into mainstream schools

What is a language policy? How are language policies created? How do educators recognise and interpret a language policy when they see one? How does their interpretation open or indeed close opportunities for bilingual and multilingual education?

Drawing on her doctoral research and on her experiences as a mother of a bilingual child, a community school founder, a teacher and an administrator of the overseas language provision offered by the Portuguese Government in the UK, Cátia Verguete reflects upon these matters and argues for closer collaboration between the complementary sector and mainstream education.

The innovative pedagogical activities arising from this collaboration can sustain more than one type of multilingualism, benefitting all pupils, irrespective of their linguistic repertoire.

The broader study demonstrated that when Portuguese teachers were invited to work collaboratively with their mainstream counterparts, there were more language learning and teaching opportunities being created and being implemented more effectively. This could be by offering Portuguese language and culture courses throughout the school day, or by supporting Portuguese-speaking pupils in English and maths by pre-teaching them the content in Portuguese. This type of collaboration requires delving into discussions and negotiations about curriculum, timetabling and other such school structures.

The article in The Linguist, the bimonthly journal of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Linguists, is a reminder that languages policies, whether they are official governmental regulations or implicit behaviours normalised in our sociocultural daily routines, can be powerful mechanisms in facilitating or curtailing opportunities for language use and language learning and teaching.

Blog by Cátia Verguete

How is pacifism and war resistance in World War I and II represented in UK children’s literature?

Conference paper for IBBY Congress, 2022: Dr Julia Hope and Rosemary Rich

As an “insider” research team, being the descendants of a conscientious objector in World War II, this paper brings together our respective fields of historical memory studies and literary theory to consider children’s literature about pacifism and war resistance.  Over the ages, a multitude of children’s books about war have offered many different angles on the adventure, hardships, and suffering involved.  Such stories have become increasingly popular since the turn of the century, offering a progressively more realistic treatment, with wars in living memory providing the largest corpus, although recent conflicts around the world are also coming into focus.  However, little has been written that confronts themes of pacifism and war resistance for children, especially concerning conscientious objection.

With a particular focus on World War I and II, we explore through critical content analysis (Johnson et al., 2017) how this contentious area is dealt with in four recently published middle grade/young adult texts recently published in the UK. Two books chosen focus on World War I: “Remembrance” by Theresa Breslin (2002) and “Across the Divide” by Anne Booth (2018); and two on World War II: “Run Rabbit Run” by Barbara Mitchelhill (2015) and “In the Mouth of the Wolf” by Michael Morpurgo (2018).

Using this framework we ask the following questions: Whose story is told? From whose point of view? How is pacifism and war resistance presented and explained to children and young people?  How do wartime attitudes compare with those of the present day?  How is the story resolved and what might this suggest about author standpoint?

These controversial issues would seem to be a necessary part of the wide-ranging tapestry of children’s literature that demonstrates the power of stories, within the theme of empathy and memory in storytelling, with a particular focus on moral values, peace and human rights.

Blog by Julia Hope

Applying RefugeeCrit to Recent Middle Grade/Young Adult Children’s Literature About Refugees

Dr Julia Hope has just completed a chapter for the Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives entitled: “Applying RefugeeCrit to Recent Middle Grade/Young Adult Children’s Literature About Refugees” and to be published imminently.

This chapter considers that since the millennium there have been a plethora of texts about the refugee experience for children and young people across the Western world.  Although not a homogeneous category, literature of this kind can follow an almost formulaic representation of the refugee experience, with a recent trend towards increasingly grim and explicit depictions of the suffering of refugee children, especially when trapped in refugee camps.

There is an emergent field of academic study that questioning the motivations of authors, the messages of such stories, and the images of refugees proffered by the books.  I examine in depth two middle grade/young adult texts, “The Bone Sparrow” by Zara Fraillion (2016) and “Boy, Everywhere” by A. M. Dassu (2020), both of which have received considerable public acclaim.  However, RefugeeCrit suggests that narratives can depict refugee children as victims of politically sanitised global disasters, without background explanation of the causes, and in need of “white saviours” with “helping hands” to bring them to safety.  Nevertheless, this framework is helpful in critiquing these texts, but can prove challenging when authoring this literature, and when recommending quality refugee narratives for middle grade/young adult readers.


Blog by Julia Hope