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Researching multilingually and interculturally

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Holmes, P. (Durham University), Fay, R. (University of Manchester), Attia, M. (Durham University) and Andrews, J. (University of the West of England), Researching multilingually and interculturally. Paper presented at the 19th CultNet, hosted by Durham University, April 21st-23rd, 2016.

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Researching multilingually and interculturally

  1. 1. Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State (AH/L009636/1) http://researching-multilingually-at-borders.com/ Researching Multilingually and Interculturally 21-23 April 2016 Prue Holmes, Richard Fay, Jane Andrews, Mariam Attia Durham University
  2. 2. 1. Introducing the project 2. “researching multilingually” (RMly) “researching interculturally” (RICly) 3. Theoretical possibilities/positionings (the affordances of an ecological framework) 4. An example from the RMly@ borders project Conclusions 5. Conclusions/implications - Matters of ecology - Matters of trustworthiness Preview
  3. 3. www.researching-multilingually-at-borders.com (AHRC large grant under the “Translating cultures” theme, 2014-17) http://researchingmultilingually.com/ (AHRC network grant, 2011-12)
  4. 4.  Concepts of borders and security/insecurity raise important practical and ethical questions as to how research might be conducted.  Focus on Methods:  comparing across discipline-specific methods,  interrogating arts and humanities methods where the body and body politic are under threat,  developing theoretical and methodological insights as a result.  There are some pockets of work in disciplines but no overarching framework across multiple disciplines.” Context of the AHRC large-grant project: Languages under pressure and pain (at borders)
  5. 5. Structure of the Project Five Case Studies
  6. 6. Structure of the Project Two Hubs
  7. 7. Structure of the Project Multimodal Complementary Methods Processes (iterative, reflexive, ethical) Researchers & PhD students Research spaces: 5 case studies (interdisciplinarity) CATC hub Performance, artistic creative methods RMTC hub Academic, investigative, comparative methods
  8. 8. Five Case Studies CS1: Global Mental Health: Translating Sexual and Gender Based Trauma (Scotland/Sierra Leone) English language education for refugees/asylum seekers (Scotland) CS2: Law: Translating vulnerability and silence in the legal process (UK/Netherlands) CS3: State: Working and Researching Multilingually at State and EU borders (Bulgaria/Romania) CS4: Borders: Multilingual Ecologies in American Southwest borderlands (Arizona, USA) CS5: Language Education: Arabic as a Foreign Language for International Learners (Gaza);
  9. 9. • How do researchers generate, translate, interpret and write up data (dialogic, mediated, textual, performance) from one language to another? • What ethical issues emerge where multiple languages are present? • What methods and techniques improve processes of researching multilingually? • How does multimodality (e.g. visual methods, ‘storying’, performance) complement and facilitate multilingual research praxis? • How can researchers develop clear multilingual research practices and yet also be open to emergent research design?  What does it mean to research interculturally ? (context/spaces, relationships, power)  Existing work (Canella & Lincoln, 2011; Christians, 2011; Najar, 2015; Robinson-Pant & Woolf, 2011) RMTC Hub research questions (“researching multilingually””
  10. 10. What does it mean to research interculturally? (context/spaces, relationships, power) An overarching theme Developing researcher awareness of possibilities and complexities of researching multilingually at all stages of a research process Purposefulness/intentionality Making informed and intentional researcher decisions (Stelma, Fay & Zhou, 2013) researcher reflexivity & sensitivity, identity Relationships Among researchers, participants, mediators, interpreters, translators, team members, supervisors, funders => ethics, trust, roles, responsibilities Spaces Research (phenomenon); researched (context, participants); researcher (language resources); re/presentation (reporting/dissemination) (From our RMly theorising [Holmes et al., 2013]) Power/Ethics ???
  11. 11. What does it mean to research interculturally? Multilingual relationships and intercultural capabilities RMly researchers must: • build and nurture relationships (underpinned by power and positioning) among all stakeholders • recognise the values and motivations of those initiating, undertaking and evaluating the research (project funders, managers, researchers, policy implementers) • negotiate the institutional parameters of the research site or context: the institutions involved • the in-between, and often unexplored, spaces—the silences, interruptions, apprehensions, unexplored and unarticulated tensions and decision making—invoked in the minds of researchers and research participants (and perhaps other stakeholders)
  12. 12. Building on previous thinking “Constraints on multilingual [intercultural] research practice vary across institutions, across fields of research, disciplines and paradigms. The symbolic & regulatory power of institutions [research contexts] is not fixed or monolithic: it is always possible to create spaces for alternative ways of working and for different voices to be heard. Creating these spaces depends on the agency [and researcher identity] of individual researchers, thesis supervisors and principal investigators on research projects.” (Andrews & Martin-Jones, 2012) What takes place in these spaces concerns relationality, power and ?? (identity? Culture?)
  13. 13. Researching RMly & RICly Researching multilingually • How researchers draw on their own, and others’ multilingual resources in the researching, reporting, and representation of people where multiple languages are at play. Researching interculturally • How researchers draw on their communicative resources to negotiate the research spaces (context, power) where their research is located, and the relational and communicative aspects in those spaces, including their own researcher identity
  14. 14. Researching and communicating in multilingual/intercultural worlds Researching (RM-ly) Communicating (IC-ly) The researched phenomenon …  often intercultural in focus and multilingual in modality, e.g., a PhD focusing on the Chinese- speaking students’ academic acculturation in the UK The research environment  often intercultural and multilingual, e.g., a Chinese-speaking PhD researcher studying in an English-medium UK university The researcher(s)  often able to live and study in/though several cultures and languages, i.e., intercultural and multilingual The research texts/dissemination  Anglo-centric cultures of research and dissemination, i.e., value attached more/only to English-medium publication/dissemination The communication phenomenon …  often intercultural in focus and multilingual in modality, e.g., Chinese-speaking students interacting with non-Chinese students in a university classroom in the UK The communication environment  intercultural and multilingual, e.g., the multilingual/intercultural classroom in an English- medium UK university The communicator(s)  sojourning and home students living and studying in/though several cultures and languages, i.e., intercultural and multilingual The communication texts/learning  Anglo-centric cultures of learning, i.e., value attached more/only to English-medium texts/learning styles
  15. 15. Rmly researchers as IC communicators IC communicators . . . Intercultural competence  Intercultural dialogue, although a contested notion (Hoskins & Sallah, 2010)  Ethical communication (Ferri, 2014)  IC responsibility (Guilherme, 2010)  Capabilities - from Sen and Nussbaum (Crosbie, 2014)  IC incompetence (Phipps, 2014) RMly researchers . . . Researcher competence RMly researchers must make decisions about …)  ethical practices  literatures and conceptualisations in different languages  fieldwork practices and relationships  data collection, generation, analysis  representation,  writing up, dissemination
  16. 16. Drawing on an ecological framework Linguistic ecologies: • Individual linguistic repertoires (Gumperz, 1973) • Individuals’ biographies & experiential knowledge (Busch, 2012) • Linguistic environments (Blommaert, 2013) – Structured determinants; interactional emergence • Resources and expectations in the environment (Stelma, Fay & Zhou, 2013) • Communication dynamics and the linguistic environment - of researchers, of others
  17. 17. The environment • the interconnectedness and interdependency of all things – a universality that accommodates difference, diversity. • the context (research spaces) Social relations • inter-relationships • the need to manage intercultural communication with co-researchers, participants, interpreters & translators & mediators, supervisors, funders • human (inter)subjectivity , researcher reflexivity, identity  Intercultural communicators must grapple with these matters in their interactions  So must RMly/RICly researchers in their research (not surprising – but why does it matter?) Guattari. F. (2000). The three ecologies. London: The Althone Press.
  18. 18. An example: Case Study 3 Working and Researching Multilingually at State and EU borders (Bulgaria/Romania) – Linguistic ecologies – Research spaces – Researcher relationships
  19. 19. An example: CS3 Romania/Bulgaria Linguistic ecologies  R’s communicative resources (English, French, Bulgarian, Romanian) Research spaces (context, power) The researched phenomenonethnography at Romanian border The research environmentpolitics related to refugee/asylum/border crossing ; The researchers)languages, disciplinary perspectives The research texts/dissemination  English, French, Bulgarian, Romanian; public workshops (“Connect”); field notes in two languages, translating fieldnotes/interviews into creative arts
  20. 20. Relational aspectsresearcher(s), supervisors, participants, translators, interpreters, transcribers, editors, and funders, gatekeepers? Working with co-researchers (large project, flat power structure)  NGOs, Border guards/govt officials, border crossers; getting access; negotiating data collection; disseminating findings Ethics
  21. 21. Implications • How do researchers approach their work ? (ideology) • How do researchers and supervisors manage the research process together? (instrumental – the researcher apprenticeship) – Links to EUROMEC project • Why does all of this matter?
  22. 22. Conclusion: Matters of ecology A “researching interculturally” perspective draws attention to: – the linguistic repertoires and resources, individuals’ biographies and experiential knowledge, social relations, communication dynamics, the linguistic environment (of researchers, of others) – inter-relationships, interconnectivity in the environment (the research spaces ) – social relations & communication dynamics- the need to manage intercultural communication with co-researchers, participants, interpreters & translators & mediators, supervisors, funders – human (inter)subjectivity /researcher identity & reflexivity
  23. 23. To ensure the trustworthiness of the research, RMly/RICly researchers might consider the following:  Adopt an Rmly approach  build and nurture relationships among all stakeholders - Interrogate positions of power and positioning  recognise the values and motivations of those initiating, undertaking and evaluating the research - project funders, supervisors, ethics committees, other researchers, policy implementers  negotiate the institutional parameters of the research site or context - e.g., the institutions involved  investigate the in-between, and often unexplored, spaces—the silences, interruptions, apprehensions, unexplored and unarticulated tensions and decision making—invoked in the minds of researchers, supervisors, and research participants (and other stakeholders)  (re)negotiate researcher identity (in and through these relationships and spaces) Conclusion: Matters of trustworthiness
  24. 24. Building a wider RMly researcher knowledge base and network: www.researchingmultingually.com www.researching-multilingually-at-borders.com 1) What is your experience of doing research in more than one language? 2) What is your experience of becoming aware of the complexities in this area? Send 300 – 500 words (same text can be offered in different languages) and photo (JPEG) to mariam.attia@durham.ac.uk An invitation to participate
  25. 25. Thank you p.m.holmes@durham.ac.uk Holmes, P., Fay, R., Andrews, J., Attia, M. (2013). Researching multilingually: New theoretical and methodological directions. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23(3), 285–299. Holmes, P. Fay, R., Andrews, J., Attia, M. (2016, in press). The possibility of researching multilingually. In H. Zhu (Ed.), Research methods in intercultural communication: A practical guide. London: Wiley.

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