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’Multilingual & Multicultural Communication’ Day at SOAS (Univ of London) -17/6/13


On the 17th June, 2013, a (rare) sunny and warm London day, over 80 practitioners, researchers, students and others from different parts of the world, working across disciplines, discussed wide ranging issues under the theme of ‘Multilingual & Multicultural Communication’ (M&MC) at the Vernon Sq Campus of SOAS (University of London).  A rather early beginning (8.15 registration, but with coffee & biscuits…) and a warm welcome was followed by an introduction by the co-organisers, Howard Giles (UCSB, USA) & Itesh Sachdev (SOAS, UK), who expressed concern at the parlous attention to M&MC in many areas of academic enquiry including communication studies, interpersonal and social psychology and linguistics.  Lid King (TLC, UK) and Dina Mehmedbegovic (IoE, UK) began the main proceedings by presenting on urban diversity with a special focus on London (UK).  Reinier Salverda and Cor van Der Meer (Mercator, Fryslan, The Netherlands) then discussed the import of regional and minority languages with data on trilingual education in Fryslan as well opportunities using new media. Francois Grin (Geneva, Switzerland) provided a critical economic analysis of lingue franche, while emotions were stirred, and expressed, multilingually by Jean Marc Dewaele’s (Birkbeck, UK) presentation  (he even showed us this – may be offensive to some… :  Following a delicious vegetarian lunch (according to feedback & provided by a SOAS Students Union team), the afternoon’s proceedings shifted to M&MC across time and space with Li Wei (Birkbeck, UK) focussing on the import of the diaspora, while Anne Pauwels (SOAS, UK) explored cyber-space.  Rupert Brown (Sussex, UK), while sidestepping issues of language, provided an important intergroup perspective on acculturation (relevant for modelling M&MC).  The task of modelling M&MC was taken on in the final session by the co-organisers, and Howard Giles dynamically presented a wide range of models that culminated in arguing for the importance of integrating notions of cosmopolitanism in current theorising and future research.  The final panel discussion proved to be lively and stimulating enough for most of the participants to continue their deliberations more informally at a convivial reception at SOAS (some even stayed long enough for spicy vegetarian Ethiopian fare nearby in London!).  Sarah Cartwright (merci!) was the unofficial photographer, while Imke Djouadj, Ellen Foote & Nadia Sarkhoh made easy work of the administrative aspects (danke shan, eskerre-kasko & shukran also!).

A full program from the day can be found here: pre ica programme and abstracts june 2013

Itesh Sachdev, SOAS (Univ. of London) 25/06/2013.


Thanks to sponsors:  The International Association of Language & Social Psychology (IALSP); The International Communication Association (ICA) & its ‘Intergroup Communication’ chapter – as part of ICA London pre-conference; MERCATOR, Fryske Akademy (the Netherlands); Faculty of Language & Culture, SOAS, University of London.