We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

New research projects will demonstrate the value of language led research

Date: 29/11/2017


Six new research projects that focus on modern languages – covering topics ranging from the impact of European Crime Dramas on British audiences to the work of multilingual, digital artists online – have been funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) flagship Open World Research Initiative (OWRI).

The projects, which will run over two years, are aimed at reinvigorating research in modern languages and changing public attitudes towards multilingualism through material for a proposed pop-up museum of languages.

A total of 68 applications were received for the funding, showcasing the breadth and vitality of Modern Languages research in the UK. Researchers could apply for funding up to £10,000, and the six projects selected are set to begin after 1 January 2018.

These new research projects have been funded through the Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies project (MEITS) part of the AHRC’s £16 million Open World Research Initiative.

Through the OWRI project, the AHRC has invested £16 million over four years in research to help demonstrate the value and importance of modern languages to the UK as research becomes increasingly globalised.

The six selected projects are:

  • Multilingualism in Early Modern Literary Culture
    Dr Peter Auger & Dr Sheldon Brammall, University of Birmingham
    This project will bring together early modernists working in modern languages, English, Neo-Latin and history to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on the contexts and applications of multilingualism in early modern literature.
  • Space to Speak: Non-Han Fiction and Film in China and Beyond
    Dr Sarah Dodd, University of Leeds
    Emerging from previous AHRC-funded research on new Chinese writing at Leeds, this project will examine how contemporary authors and film-makers in China’s borderlands are negotiating with standardised Mandarin and their own minoritised languages in their work, in order to find their own linguistic and artistic space.
  • The Creative Web of Languages
    Dr Erika Fülöp, University of Lancaster
    This project studies the works of multilingual digital artists and seeks to understand the web’s political and cultural potential in supporting multilingual and multicultural identities.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of e-mentoring and a digital languages resource for foreign language learning in Wales
    Professor Claire Gorrara, Cardiff University
    This research programme will investigate the effectiveness of e-mentoring and a digital languages resource in improving intercultural understanding and multilingual literacy in Year 9 pupils in ten secondary schools in Wales that are either in poorer areas, have low uptake of modern languages GCSEs or both.
  • Watching the Transnational Detectives: Showcasing Identity, Internationalism and Language Learning on British Television
    Dr Rachel Haworth, University of Hull
    This project will examine the ways in which British television viewers respond to languages and multiculturalism in a range of well-loved crime dramas from France, Italy and Germany. It explores the impact these series have on audiences’ perceptions of nationhood, foreign languages and cultures, and language learning.
  • “¡Yo soy Fidel!”: Post-Castro Cuba and the Cult of Personality
    Dr James Kent, Royal Holloway, University of London
    Following the death of Fidel Castro in 2016, the world’s media projected iconic images of the former Cuban leader, underscoring Cuba’s long and complex relationship with photography. Drawing on fieldwork and practice-led research, this project will consider the ways that iconic Cuban images are produced and consumed in different transnational contexts.

Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett, Principal Investigator on the MEITS research project, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside these six projects, which will strengthen the literary and cultural strand of our work and which will provide exciting material for our proposed pop-up museum.

“We had a large number of high quality applications for this call and it’s particularly pleasing to see the high number of Early Career Researchers amongst the successful applicants, which bodes well for the future of Modern Languages.”

For further press information please contact: 

Joe Lewis, AHRC Press and Social Media Officer
Tel: 01793 416 021 Email: j.lewis@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

The Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) seeks to establish a new and exciting vision for languages research in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by a globalised research environment and multilingual world. The initiative seeks to present a cogent, positive and compelling vision for the role of modern language expertise in opening up research opportunities drawing on other cultures, literatures and histories.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe. You can find out more information via www.ahrc.ac.uk or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council

For more information about AHRC, our research and our impact see: www.ahrc.ac.uk

Return to news list