In this blog post, Toby Green writes about the University Development and Innovation - Africa visit which is part-funded by the Language Acts and Worldmaking project as part of the small grants scheme.
The Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King's College London hosted a two-day workshop in March with nine visiting academics from Portuguese-speaking Africa, to which the Language Acts and Worldmaking project offered key financial support. This was the first time such an event had been held in the UK, with so many participants from African institutions, and the workshop offered key approaches towards developing a more inclusive and curriculum in both UK universities and those of Lusophone Africa.
The workshop was the culmination of a two-week visit by eight social scientists from universities in Angola and Mozambique, who visited as part of an EU-funded Erasmus+ project (University Development and Innovation - Africa, or UDI-A) which was awarded to work on capacity building and reciprocal knowledge exchange. The eight visitors were from two universities in Angola (Agostinho Neto in Luanda and Katyavala Bwila in Benguela) and two in Mozambique (Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo and UniLurio in Nampula and Ilha de Mocambique).
The workshop saw the Language Acts and Worldmaking Project fund the visit of participants from Guinea-Bissau, who included Carlos Cardoso, Director of the Centro de Estudos Sociais Amilcar Cabral in Bissau, and former Research Director of CODESRIA. The eight UDI-A participants were therefore able to interact with a research leader from another African institution, and discuss the development of a new Pan Lusophone African research network.
The workshop was hosted at the P21 Gallery in Euston and the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. Beyond the new research network, a key element of the programme was the discussion by the visitors of the existing language programme in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King's College London, and suggestions were made to diversify and amend the curriculum in line with the concerns of the Global South. This therefore offered a core contribution to some of the overall aims of the Language Acts and Worldmaking project in terms of language teaching and the development of a curriculum fit for the 21st century.
"We're delighted that this visit was such a positive experience for everyone, both for visitors and ourselves as hosts," said Toby Green, the King's College London Project Lead of the UDI-A project, and recipient of a grant from Language Acts and Worldmaking which made Carlos Cardoso's visit possible. "This was a genuine opportunity for all of us to learn, and for us to discuss with them possibilities for widening the diversity and methods of our courses."
AbdoolKarim Vakil, Language Acts and Worldmaking Travelling Concepts Strand Lead, said: "We are looking forward very much to pursuing this conversation in the future, and seeing how it can impact our development of curricula and knowledge as part of the Language Acts and Worldmaking project."