School of Advanced Study helps launch £3.9 million modern languages research project

Tuesday 11 October 2016

A consortium led by the University of Manchester, the University of Durham, and the School of Advanced Study has launched a four-year language research project that aims to demonstrate the UK’s critical need for modern languages research and teaching. The project will collaborate with schools and universities to develop curriculum innovations and strengthen university commitments to local community heritage.

The consortium includes nine other UK universities, several non-UK universities, city councils, the Royal Opera House, Tyneside Cinema, political think tank Chatham House, and a sixth-form college known for its strengths in modern languages.

The launch of ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’, which is funded by an AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) grant, took place at the University of Manchester on Monday, 10 October. The event featured presentations by the project researchers and performances of film, dance, music and song by artists and members of local communities.

Working across several world languages, primarily Arabic, Spanish and Russian, the project will incorporate perspectives from literary, media and cultural studies, international relations, the arts (music, film and theatre), linguistics and visual anthropology. It will feature three areas of research, each exploring a particular kind of language community: Multilingual Communities (urban populations whose identity is shaped by language diversity), Transnational Communities (sharing a single language dispersed across different nation states) and Translingual Communities (formed through cultural creativity across language boundaries). The School of Advanced Study will lead the Translingual strand.

‘This is an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate to government and the public that modern languages research is vital for deep and meaningful international understanding’, said Professor Catherine Davies, professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at SAS and a project co-investigator. ‘Only multidirectional communication across languages can ensure world peace and prosperity’.

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Notes for editors:

1. For further information please contact Maureen McTaggart at the School of Advanced Study, University of London at / 020 7862 8653. Images available on request.

2. The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) was established in 2004 through a merger of the Institute of Germanic Studies and the Institute of Romance Studies, founded in 1950 and 1989 respectively. Until August 2013, IMLR was known as the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies when it was renamed to emphasise its national research role and to embrace its wider remit. The Institute is committed to facilitating, initiating and promoting dialogue and research for the Modern Languages community.

3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London  is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2014-15, SAS: welcomed 805 research fellows and associates; held 2,073 research dissemination events; received 23.1 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 213,456 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities: Being Human. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews

4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. Its members are 18 self-governing institutions of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London at

5. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology. digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. Contact Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC: 01793 41 6021 /, for further information.