DISRUPTING DIGITAL MONOLINGUALISM: An international workshop on languages in critical digital theory and practice
Hosted by Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London
A ‘Language Acts & Worldmaking’ project initiative
16th and 17th June 2020
Language Acts and Worldmaking's Digital Mediations research strand is pleased to announce its call for papers for Disrupting Digital Monolingualism: an International Workshop on Languages in Critical Digital Theory and Practice. There has been increasing attention in the past few years to the challenges of multilingualism in digital practice. It has been widely accepted that digital ecosystems have a ‘language and geocultural diversity’ problem – at present they have a strong bias towards firstly English, and then a small group of (mostly European) languages. A series of initiatives has attempted to address this imbalance in a variety of ways, whether driven by practice (language diversity guidelines, multilingual toolkits, open data repositories, and endangered languages archives) or theory (biocultural diversity, digital modern languages and translingual/transcultural critiques).
This two-day workshop brings together leading researchers, educators, digital practitioners, language-focused professionals, policy makers and other interested parties to address the challenges of multilingualism in digital spaces and to collectively propose new models and solutions. The workshop will combine both conceptual (strategy, policy and theory) and practical perspectives (digital ecosystems, methods and tools with a focus on language). It aims to strengthen connections between numerous overlapping digital and languages-driven conversations and initiatives.
The core themes of the workshop are:
- Linguistic and geocultural diversity in digital knowledge infrastructures
- Working with multilingual data
- Transcultural and translingual approaches to digital study
- Artificial intelligence, machine learning and NLP in language worlds
The programme will feature a variety of formats, including lightning talks, posters, demos, roundtables and (a limited amount of) mini-workshops, and we welcome proposals for experimental formats. Invited speakers will represent a range of education, industry and third sector roles and we are open to new ideas through our call for proposals.
The workshop is aimed at those interested in multilingual and cross-cultural approaches to digital practice, and is likely to be of particular interest to those working in the areas of: modern languages and linguistics; multilingualism research (including endangered or minority languages and community languages); digital cultural heritage; digital humanities; new media and internet research; critical digital infrastructure studies; digital policy; translation studies; AI, machine learning and NLP.
This workshop is led by the Language Acts and Worldmaking project with the support of the Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community project, both funded by the AHRC under its Open World Research Initiative.
The aims of the workshop are:
- To map the current state of multilingualism in digital theory and practice through, and across, languages
- To identify areas of ‘language indifference’ in digital methodologies and infrastructure
- To bring together experts in language-driven digital study and practice to discuss priorities for future action and potential collaboration
- To discuss the value and role of languages in digital theory and practice and their implications for language study and professions
- To explore emerging models for linguistic diversity and languages-aware digital practice in academia, education and private/third sectors and to document best practice
The workshop will be structured as follows:
- Day 1: Context/aims, lightning talks, demos, meetups
- Day 2: Group activities addressing the workshop’s core themes through discussion and practical work
Outcomes will be defined by attendees, but may include the co-design of conceptual frameworks or practical outcomes such as prototypes or toolkits
Call for Proposals
We welcome proposals for:
- Lightning talks (7 minute presentations)
- Technical demos (short and interactive, as part of the poster session)
- Mini-workshops (max 3 hours duration)
- Experimental formats (defined by you)
Proposals should address a theoretical or practical response to one of the workshop’s core themes:
The event will take place virtually (no face-to-face event) on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June 2020. More details soon.
Call for proposals deadline: Midnight (GMT) on 1 April 2020
Response to proposals: 15 April 2020
Workshop: Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 June 2020
Abstracts: the main workshop language will be English, but once reviewed, we welcome translations of accepted abstracts.
At the event: we recommend that presenters consult the GO::DH Translation toolkit (https://go-dh.github.io/translation-toolkit/conferences/) and we welcome creative proposals for those wishing to work multilingually during the event
Where possible, outcomes (including, for example, reports, posters or prototypes) will be published on the event website after the workshop.
Submissions may be made via our online form at
The workshop is led by Paul Spence and Renata Brandao (Language Acts), in collaboration with Naomi Wells (Cross-Language Dynamics).
If you have any queries, please contact Paul Spence - paul.spence [at] kcl.ac.uk.