our words make worlds

Introducing the first ‘Digital Mediations’ workshop

As in many other fields, there seems to be general agreement that digital culture is transforming how we learn modern languages (and how we study the cultures which use them), but too often the discussion has veered between excessive optimism or pessimism about the opportunities and challenges that arise as a result. In the early days, digital ‘technology’–with the emphasis on ‘technology’ rather than ‘culture’–was frequently seen in black or white terms, but now that digital culture plays such an important part in our lives, people are starting to get a more nuanced understanding of its effects, and are thinking more about how to use digital culture in an informed and critical way, to improve various aspects of our lives. The Digital Mediations strand looks at the history, present and future of ‘digital’ Modern Languages research, exploring the debates and practices which have informed this research under various digitally-related labels, from ‘new media’, or ‘cyberculture’, to ‘digital humanities’.

Our first workshop later this month will showcase a number of different perspectives on this theme, and continue a discussion which has gained traction with publications like ‘Modern Languages and the Digital: The Shape of the Discipline’ http://www.modernlanguagesopen.org/articles/10.3828/mlo.v0i0.156/ and ‘Where’s the ML in DH? And Where’s the DH in ML? The Relationship between Modern Languages and Digital Humanities, and an Argument for a Critical DHML’ http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/11/1/000287/000287.html.

The event brings together researchers, cultural sector respondents and digital practitioners to explore the impact so far on the research landscape in Modern Languages and there will be opportunities both to hear what about some of the exciting projects and tools people have developed, and to debate where these new methodologies sit in relation to more established practice.

We encourage you to join in the conversation online by following our Twitter account @languageacts or joining in the discussion at hashtag #languageacts

Blog series

We will be producing a series of blog posts, with contributions from the project and beyond, to discuss themes related to the digital mediation of Modern Languages. Our first posts will go online soon. And do feel free to offer your own response in the comment box below – our starting questions are:

·         What do you think has been the most important digitally-mediated transformation in Modern Languages research so far?

·         What most excites you (or worries you!) about the possible impact of digital culture in the future?