Migration and the global movement of people and languages have become a significant factor in everyday life. The number of languages spoken in Scotland in 2018 exceeded 140 (Pupil Census Supplementary Data, 2018), and around 5% of Scotland’s population over the age of three speaks another language other than English at home (Strategy for Adults in Scotland, 2015). Calls have been made to recognise the UK as a multilingual society (Stafford, Press release, 2019).
Nevertheless, BBC reports that “Foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium” whilst Professor Michael Kelly, an advisor to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Modern Languages, warns about the UK being in a language crisis (Kelly, 2019).
UK governments invest in policies promoting language learning, but so far, as some language experts remark, schools exceed at turning multilinguals into monolinguals instead (TES, 2019). The Scottish government intends for the 1+2 language initiative to reflect Scotland as a multilingual society – yet language uptake in schools continues to decline. At the same time, not much attention is given to adult speakers of other languages than English who live in the UK. Adults who do not speak English but live in an English-speaking country can be regarded as “having no language”(Strategy for Adults in Scotland, 2015).
The monolingual paradigm prevails in the public debate, language classes are perceived as boring, learning languages (other than English) useless and misconceptions about multilingualism proliferate. In the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) context, it has been recognised that English skills are essential for New Scots, however, not much attention is given to how to teach adult learners and their needs in the learning context (Strategy for Adults in Scotland, 2015).
The urgent need to address this situation has been recognised by the AHRC Open World Research Initiative seeking to establish a new and exciting vision for languages research.
This conference inscribes itself into this ambitious endeavour, exploring the potential of creativity and art for language learning, teaching and research.
The questions we want to focus on are: Can creativity and art help us to understand more about the way we use and learn languages? What is creativity in the language learning context and what are its implications for language learners and teachers? What is the best practice to use creativity and art in language research and teaching that we can identify and promote? What are the most effective ways to do so?
Through inviting both researchers and practitioners we hope to create a platform for knowledge exchange and capacity building as well as an opportunity to make connections that can result in future collaborations.
We invite proposals from researchers, language teachers (including MFL, ESOL, mainstream, private, community schools and higher education), primary school teachers, EAL teachers as well as language learners and creative practitioners.
We welcome proposals for presentations, demonstrations, workshops and posters as well as creative presentations or performances that range beyond traditional academic format.
Visit the website for more information about the conference and submitting a proposal. Deadline for abstracts submission: 29 February 2020.