our words make worlds

Digital Modern Languages seminar

In 2019 Paul Spence (King’s College London) and Naomi Wells (Institute of Modern Languages Research) launched the Digital Modern Languages (DML) seminar series “to bring together and raise the visibility of Modern Languages research which engages with digital culture, media and technologies”. This initiative was supported by the Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community and Language Acts and Worldmaking projects, funded by the AHRC as part of their Open World Research Initiative and is now co-convened with Saskia Huc-Hepher (University of Westminster) and Xuan Wang (Cardiff University), Joe Dale (independent languages consultant) and Orhan Elmaz (University of St Andrews).

The Digital Modern Languages seminar series has now hosted over ten seminars covering topics as diverse as ‘Two Sides of the Same Coin: Why the Digital is Blessing and Curse for Endangered Languages’, ‘Addressing linguistic, cultural, and digital hegemonies in Virtual Exchange’, ‘Current Trends in Digital East Asian Studies’, ‘Digital Humanities for Arabic Book History’, ‘Tibet, Economic Development and the Affective Politics of Online State Media in the PRC’ and ‘Modern Languages and Student Mentoring: Digital Innovation and Raising Motivation for Languages in England and Wales’, in addition to seminars specifically dedicated to early career research. The seminar series has also featured events focusing on critical digital pedagogies at Primary school (Help! Sharing Good Primary Practice for Remote Learning: Ideas in Modern Languages) and Secondary school (Post-Pandemic Reflections and Future Directions for Language Learning in Secondary Schools in the UK) level, recordings and materials for which are publicly available.

The mailing list associated with the seminar now has over 400 members and Spence/Wells co-edit a ‘Digital Modern Languages’ section in the open access platform Modern Languages Open (‘Modern Languages Open’, 2019).