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Catherine Boyle AHGBI President-Elect statement on Modern Languages

The Principal Investigator of Language Acts and Worldmaking, Professor Catherine Boyle, has been voted President-Elect of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland. Founded in 1955, the AHGBI is a professional association of University teachers and researchers in all areas of Hispanic and Lusophone Studies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Its current President is Prof Claire Taylor, who is also a member of the Advisory Board for Language Acts. Taylor will complete her term and Boyle will take up the post in 2021. Read Boyle's statement to the AHGBI below:

I am Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies, and Fellow of King’s College London. I have taken on many roles, including Head of Department, Faculty Head of Research, Deputy Head of School, and I led on the creation of the King’s Cultural Institute, whose goal was to put research in the Humanities in contact with cultural partners. My research has been the impetus for this type of initiative, having long worked at the intersection of research and practice and believing that research in the Arts and Humanities has a fundamental role to play in our day-to-day reality. My research base is in understanding theatre as a cultural, historical product and my work in theatre translation has informed my belief in practice and activism as central to academic endeavour.

In this respect, I have sought to create collectives in which to work: co-founding The Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (1992); being Principal Investigator on the Out of the Wings theatre translation and performance project (2008-12), which continues as the Out of the Wings Collective; and as PI on the AHRC-funded Language Acts and Worldmaking project, one of the four programmes of the Open World Research Initiative. I have supervised around 20 PhDs, and second-supervised many more, and have always worked hard to bring graduate students and postdoctoral researchers into the academic community.

I have accepted this nomination because I passionately believe that the study of languages is world-shaping and I want to contribute to ensuring that our discipline has a major voice in the university sector. I would underline the following key areas for the AHGBI:

  • being a leading actor in the debates on Modern Languages, languages strategy and the new SHAPE initiative, in full communication with other interested associations and organisations;
  • reinforcing the positive story of Modern Languages, defying the national and institutional narrative of crisis;
  • working to sustain our discipline in a healthy way, especially tackling the pressing ethical and professional issues around the conditions of early career academics (ECAs);
  • creating the conditions for ECAs, properly supported and engaging with senior colleagues, to be the motor of the AHGBI conference, shaping the discipline for the future;
  • engaging students, researchers and co-researchers in thinking about our discipline, considering challenges and opportunities in relation to modes of teaching, international reach and the work our research does in the world.