Open for Discussion- Languages and the Pandemic: Public Health Engagement with Multilingual Communities in the UK

Convened by the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study
Charles Burdett (Director), Joseph Ford (Lecturer in French) and Godela Weiss-Sussex (Reader in Modern German Literature)

During a ‘global’ pandemic, the capacity to learn from the experience of others and share knowledge across borders is essential, as is the need to recognise that linguistic and cultural marginalization in the UK risks further alienating communities at a time of public health emergency. Covid-19 has at once revealed and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities across the UK. The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Black, Asian and minority ethnic people has been documented in reports by the director of Public Health London, Professor Kevin Fenton. In one of these reports, he identifies the need for culturally appropriate and cross-language communications for minoritized communities in the UK. 

Drawing on the expertise of those working with multilingual communities in the UK, this discussion probes to what extent national and local communications and responses to COVID-19 can more effectively address the complex needs of multilingual communities in the UK, resulting in more inclusive, socially egalitarian and effective public health engagement. 

Joseph Ford / Naomi Wells (IMLR), Chairs

  • Li Wei (UCL) 
  • Emma Whitby (Chief Executive of Healthwatch Islington) 
  • Yaron Matras (Manchester)
  • Claudia Lopez-Prieto (Citizens UK)
  • Lucía Vinzón (Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK)
  • Soledad Montanez (Manchester / IMLR) 
School of Advanced Study
Event date: 
Tuesday, 27 April 2021 - 6:00pm
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