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International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC)



New deadline for abstract submission for 24th IALIC Conference: 26 May 2024

The International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC) will be celebrating its 24th annual conference in BORDEAUX – 24th IALIC conference – International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC) this November. IALIC is an international organisation that provides support to scholars and promotes the academic field of Languages and Intercultural Communication by bringing together colleagues from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds to promote greater intercultural understanding, in theory and practice, to address the causes and the consequences of social injustice within languages and cultures. The association’s chair and its address are currently situated at Goldsmiths.

IALIC was founded in Leeds, UK, in 2000 on the theme of Revolutions in Consciousness: Local Identities, Global Concerns in Languages & Intercultural Communication. It was held in late November at Leeds Metropolitan University, with Prof. Alison Phipps as Chair. The second IALIC conference was also organised in Leeds in 2001 on the theme of Living in Translated Worlds: Languages and Intercultural Communication, and took place from December 1-2. The third IALIC Conference was organised in 2002 in Linz, Austria, at Johannes Kepler University by Evelyn Glaser on the theme of The Transcultured Self: Experiencing Languages and Intercultural Communication. This was the first IALIC conference that was held outside the UK and took place in December. Since then, there have been 23 conferences in different cities around the world, such as Bogota, Helsinki, Aveiro, Nicosia, Valencia, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Hong Kong. This year’s conference will be around the theme of Towards a plurilingual language curriculum: fostering pluricultural communication in our digital age – and will be held in Bordeaux, France.

Blog by Cristina Ros i Solé, IALIC, Chairperson.

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.

Our Planet Festival 2021

Critical Connections Project (2012-ongoing) 

Figure 1: Our Planet Festival Languages by Yu-Chiao Chung

In these uncertain times the theme of ‘Our Planet’ is a crucial topic for young people to engage with, research, and think about how to change their environments. In the online festival in June 2021, as well as the digital stories on the theme of ‘Our Planet’, students produced artwork and multilingual poetry to express their views.

Aims of ‘Our Planet Festival 2021’

  1. Connect children and young people with their environment, cultural heritage, and languages through taking action and telling stories on issues that matter to them (cosmopolitan citizenship).
  2. Connect children and young people with each other locally and globally.
  3. Develop children’s imagination, creativity, and multilingual repertories.
  4. Improve children’s communication skills and ability to make meaning through narrative and still/moving images and gain understanding of multimodal literacy and intertextual relationships.
  5. Gain understanding of issues and strategies in translation activities and subtitling (metalinguistic awareness).
  6. Enable creative and critical use of digital technology to transform stories.
  7. Encourage critical thinking, activist citizenship, and international partnerships.
  8. Develop children’s understanding of aesthetics and narration through creating artwork and poetry.

Our Planet Festival 2021 celebrated the multilingual lives of children and young people through their artwork, multilingual poetry, and the bi- and multi- lingual digital stories they created during the pandemic. Educators worked with young participants (6 – 17 years old) across 16 educational institutions (primary, secondary, community-based complementary, pupil referral unit, NGO), 7 countries (England, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Taiwan, Turkey) and a range of 20 languages. The young people exhibited their striking and original artwork and poetry on the project website and their 3–5-minute films were shown at an online screening event supported by Deptford Cinema.

Online Our Planet Festival – Friday 11 June 2021

Michael Rosen opened the festival with a multilingual poetry performance including some of his latest poems from his book On the Move: Poems About Migration (2020). Michael Rosen commented on the theme of the festival.

‘We’re talking about ‘Our Planet’ so this is one of the things that we share. We share the fact that we are multilingual … one of the reasons why we are multilingual is because we migrate, we move … we don’t stay still … that’s why languages mix and change and we speak many languages’.

Project schools joined from different countries and students were thrilled to participate in a Q & A with Michael Rosen.

Children asked Michael about becoming a poet, writing poetry, his poems, his preferred language, and being an educator as well as a poet.

Artwork and multilingual poetry

Michael Rosen’s poetry performance was followed by a short online tour of the artwork and multilingual poetry children and young people created for the festival.

    Figure 2

   لما لا يسود السلام في العالم

   ‘Why not a peaceful world?’

   Sobhia Anfal Boularas

 Peace School, North London



This work can be accessed from the different schools on the project website here:

Multilingual Poetry Workshop

Michaël Vidon, spoken word educator, poet and French teacher (at Seaford Head School) led an hour’s online multilingual poetry workshop for all participants. Michaël Vidon engaged participants in thinking about words, about obstacles, about places where humans and nature are side by side fighting, about messiness, about danger and comfort. He talked about editing and when and how to move between languages in multilingual poetry and about rhyme and rhythm. Project participants experimented writing across languages.

Online screening event supported by Deptford Cinema

Figure 3: Congratulations, you have won a sheep! (Tawasol Community School, Cairo, Egypt)

There were 20 short films including 20 languages and short, pre-recorded introductions to each film. Participants watched the films together across the different countries and the screening was accessible on the Deptford Cinema @ Home platform for 6 weeks (Deptford Cinema). The films can now be accessed on Critical Connections website.

Deptford Cinema is a volunteer run, not-for-profit, community cinema in Deptford (close to Goldsmiths). Deptford Cinema volunteers, Lucy Rogers and Louis Holder, supported the online screening producing a film booklet and editing the overall screening. The Our Planet Digital Storytelling Booklet contains a listing of all the films and more detailed descriptions of the 20 films and project participants.

Our Planet Festival Booklet

The individual films can be viewed here.


The film festival was on national news in Taiwan (12 June 2021).

Figure 4: Revealing the Secrets of Joss Paper (Changsing Elementary School, Taiwan)

Children and young people shared their multilingual poetry, artwork and digital stories at local school and community events across countries in the project.

Children/young people reflected on the ‘Our Planet Festival 2021’

‘Some languages are very difficult to talk in. I knew some of the words. I wish I can read Greek and Mandarin’.

‘It was great to see children from around the world’.

‘We, the children, have to save our planet’.

‘We can all start from our homes and schools, influence a group’s opinion and hope they will influence others’.

‘I was very excited to see our film showcased. I loved watching other films’.

‘There were a variety of different films that intrigued me in many different ways, each one was unique, yet powerful’.

‘There are so many languages spoken in different countries.  I didn’t know that.  It was fascinating to see many films in different languages’.

‘People in different part of the world do different things and have their own ways of living and thought’.

Educators reflected on the ‘Our Planet Festival 2021’

‘Tainan Municipal Changsing Elementary School, Revealing the Secrets of Joss Paper. For most of us, this is a totally unknown world.  Even if one is not part of the culture, one could easily follow and understand the importance of the matter to local people, and that, after all, they are facing similar difficulties we have here, with big industries endangering local crafts’.

‘I had no idea about joss paper and I was wondering if there are any other traditions that potentially put our environment in danger. That is a topic I would like to research with children, starting from our little country, and try to find some solutions to either make the effect less damaging for the planet or completely change it with something nature-friendly’.

‘In my class, children have proved they can complete a range of tasks, technology wise, and achieve much more than what we expect of them. They were able to use a range of multimedia programmes to put a clip together, add subtitles and use other features’.

‘I am very surprised and impressed that my students can finish their films during lockdown.  I thought they would lose their motivation but the fact was that they were very engaged and responsible to work on their film.  It has proved that if they are given some tasks which mean a lot to them, they would enjoy working on them’.

Critical Connections project (2021-22)

As the Critical Connections project moves into its tenth year, we are in the process of planning next year’s festival and waiting to hear about further funding for our work in the field of multilingual learning, environmental activism and the arts. Please get in contact if you are interested in participating in future projects.

Project Directors: Dr Vicky Macleroy, Dr Yu-Chiao Chung and Dr Jim Anderson

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

Our Planet Festival 2021 was supported by Goldsmiths Public Engagement Fund (2020-21) and Deptford Cinema.

Blog by Vicky Macleroy



Gabriel Troiano: The forbidden and creativity

Below is an unedited video of Gabe Troiano’s talk on the Forbidden and Creativity, 15 April 2021, hosted by  Goldsmiths Centre for Language, Culture and Learning and MA Creative Writing and Education Please feel free to scroll to the relevant section.


Gabe writes:

It was an absolute pleasure to participate in the Inspire conference on the 15 and 16 of April 2021. I was impressed with what the participants had to showcase, their work has great value and will certainly be of importance moving forward in the field of critical pedagogy, creativity, and writing. In regard to my session ‘Forbidden’, I wanted to explore a creative writing practice that can take place in a variety of formats.

By formats I mean not only writing, but other artistic forms of expression such as painting, drawing, etc. This goes along with a part of my presentation where I talk about other artistic creations and how they impacted me as a writer. My idea with this piece was to think about a scenario where a person or character finds themselves in a difficult place, a moment where him/her is doing something forbidden or dangerous that could potentially impact their life in some way.

This was the driving force behind my story, and I believe that this simple action of doing something forbidden can and has been extremely explored throughout the artistic world. Some of the examples from different genres that I utilized in my presentation are shown below:

Adam eating the apple, 1786 by Parmigianino (1503 – 1540)

Adam eating the apple | Works of Art | RA Collection | Royal Academy of Arts

Dream Theater’s “Metropolis PT 2: Scenes From a Memory”

Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory - Wikipedia

The generous feedback from my peers and visitors at the conference (which also included my mother, father, and grandmother!) also allowed me to showcase this point quite clearly. After the completion of the freewriting exercise, I was shocked to see so many responses and the amount of creativity that was embedded in only 8 minutes of writing. Some of the comments below say more than I could ever express into words:

‘She’d do what she needed to do. It was the mantra that she kept replaying to herself all those lonely months. And now she was here. The worst was over. Now all that was left was to cover the thing that had fallen out of her in the soft, sweet smelling earth of her parent’s back garden. Then she could go back into the house; get into bed and tomorrow she would just be a cheerleader again.’

‘I stood in the bathroom stall shaking and unfolding the crumpled piece of paper where I had written all the math formulas. My forehead dripped with sweat and my ankles felt stiff. I tried to scan the paper as quickly as possible. When I walked back to the classroom my sneakers squeaked through the cold and quiet hallway. When I opened the door to classroom 2D, Mr.s Levin looked at me. “She knows”, I thought. “Play it cool” i told myself. I slipped back into the seat to look at my math quiz and I had forgotten all the formulas.’

‘I lied. I don’t usually lie. It is hard to do so when one has been brought up in a strict ‘Thou shalt not lie’ household. I lied to my children. I thought at the time I was protecting them and to this day I do not know if that was a good thing. But they lied right back at me. They pretended that they believed my lie. so we lived for years dancing around this strange thing, this lie. It coloured everything and as it turns out, they were having to work harder to protect me. And I had no idea that any of it was going in. How would our lives have been if I’d told them the truth from day on? What would it have been like if they had not lived, knowingly, with that lie, played it out for years? That lie. It had so much power. It carved the gorge that our life path took. To this day I can’t work out if I did the right thing but I remember the shock when my children told me they knew I had lied to them. Did it make them accepting of lies, of untruths? Did it colour their lives. If it did, I hope it has been for the good. But I will never know. I can’t turn back the clock, change that act.’

Overall, the experience of attending the conference as an observer and presenter was a truly magnificent opportunity. It always blows my mind to see so many talented people that are not afraid to showcase their work and inspire people to grow and be creative. I have always thought that creativity is something that you must be born with it, but attending conferences like this makes me reflect on the value of pedagogy and serving as a mentor to others who may want to explore their more creative, abstract side. It is easy for us writers and educators to sit down and jot our ideas to ourselves, but it is when we shed light on the why and how of this process to others that we fundamentally alter the way in which creativity is practiced and perceived. That is to say, one can do the work and stimulate their ideas to oneself, but one can also share pieces of the puzzle that was developed throughout a body of work in order to truly mend these different pieces together. I hope that you become inspired by watching the conference as I did, observing and interacting with the different pieces of the puzzle produced by the trend setting collection of inspirers.


Gabriel Troiano was born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1996. After moving to the United States in 2013 to complete his high school and bachelor’s degree, Gabriel relocated to London, United Kingdom, where he currently resides and is completing a master’s from Goldsmiths University in Creative Writing & Education. His first original poetry and short story collection entitled Inner Worlds is set to publish in 2021, one which he compiled throughout the span of his academic life. The author is also deeply interested in social work and acts as a volunteer for The Reader organization based in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Besides his literary ventures, Gabriel enjoys topics relating to sports, health & wellness, music, and is an advocate for mental health.

Matilda Rostant: How to get started on building your fantasy world

YouTube Video

Below is the link for an unedited video of Matilda Rostant’s talk at the Inspire Conference 15th April 2021, hosted by Goldsmiths Centre for Language, Culture and Learning and MA Creative Writing and Education. Please feel free to scroll ahead to the relevant sections.

The Blurb for this Conference Workshop

The magic of a fantasy story is the exciting world that you are introducing to your reader, a place where they can get lost and explore. Your world will be the backbone of your story, the home to your characters and the beginning of their adventure.

In the 30 minute workshop, we explored the world in which your story is set, whether that is in an alternative London, or your very own Narnia. World building is an integral part of fantasy writing, although sometimes it can be daunting and difficult to know where to begin. Through a series of writing exercises, we broke down the process into manageable tasks to help you get going with creating your fantasy world.

Exercises and responses

Below are the exercises covered in the workshop. You could focus on one question, or try and answer as many of them as possible to get a wider idea of what your world might look like. By first creating a character, we then used our character to show us more of the world around them, whether it was through where they live, or their place of work.

Create a character who inhabits your world (3 mins)

Give them an attribute that doesn’t exist in our world – occupation/physical/clothing etc.

Who are they? Name/age etc.

What do they do for a living?

What are their hobbies?

What are their dreams/ambitions/goals?

What stands in their way from achieving those things?

Describe your character’s home (3 min)

Where do they live? Show us around their home.

Use all the senses – vision, touch, smell, taste, and sound.

What is the climate like where they live? What season is it?

Does your character like where they live?

Can you incorporate something into the home that doesn’t exist in our world?

Write about a day in the life of your character in your world (7 mins)

Where are they going and why? (could be relating to their job/hobby/goal)

What do their surroundings look like (street/village/town/city)? Any landmarks?

Who else lives there apart from your character?

 To take it one step further:

What is the political system?

Is there magic in this world? Magic always comes with a price, what would be the price for using magic in their world?

What plants and wildlife exist in their world?

For this workshop, I included as many questions as possible so that people could find an area that they felt comfortable writing about, whether that was wildlife, or going into more details about someone’s job. However, as discussed in the workshop, when introducing fantasy in a classroom, some might struggle if the brief is going in too many directions. In those cases, it is best to narrow it down to one question and focus on that scenario – such as ‘what if…’.

Writing fantasy isn’t always as easy as one might imagine. Where some writing focuses on having you look inward to what you know, fantasy asks you to let go of what you know of your world and create something out of the unknown. And that can be daunting. Therefore, it was lovely to find that some people who had never written fantasy before, and found it challenging, came up with the most imaginative stories and enjoyed writing them.


Born in Sweden, Matilda Rostant is a fantasy writer who now lives in London. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London with an MA in Creative Writing and Education in 2020. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including Reader’s Digest. The aim of her workshop is to encourage anyone interested in creating their own fantasy world to take the first step.

Note about the Inspire conference and anthology

‘Inspire: Exciting Ways of Being Creative’ was a conference hosted online by Goldsmiths’ Centre for Language, Culture and Learning, on 15th and 16th April 2021, 9.30am-4.15pm.

The conference explored through a series of dynamic online workshops and lectures how we can inspire people of all generations to be creative. It was in part a celebration of the publication of Inspire: Exciting Ways of Teaching Creative Writing (ed. Brankin, Gilbert & Sharples: 2020). You can access a free copy of this wonderful book here: