Summer School in Cape Town

In the beginning of December, a delegation of eight people from MultiLing participated in and taught at INTPART Summer School in Cape Town. The theme of the school was North-South perspectives on multilingualism and diversity: practices and policies. The visit is part of the INTPART network project with four top South African universities.

The Summer School took place December 5 – 9 and was an initiative of the International Partnership (INTPART) between the University of Oslo, University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and University of the Witwatersrand. The project aims to “establish, further develop and strengthen collaboration with scholars at four key South African universities whose work is highly relevant for MultiLing’s research agenda”.

The topic for this year’s course, which was hosted by the University of the Western Cape, was North-South perspectives on multilingualism and diversity: practices and policies. The participants were introduced to key theories and concepts that can help in understanding and managing multilingualism and diversity. The course had three key overarching questions:

  • What does a broad semiotic approach (emphasising a multilingual/multimodal repertoire) contribute to our understanding of diversity?
  • In particular, how do notions of style, stylisation, repertoire, creativity, agency, voice, heteroglossia, revitalisation and reclamation help us understand diversity?
  • How do we analyse diversity as practised or performed in different sites so that we can best manage it as a resource and as a tool for greater inclusivity and social justice?

The program consisted of keynote lectures, panel discussions, fieldwork and data collection, student presentations, fieldwork consolidation, plenary discussion and thematic sessions. The participants had signed up for different thematic strands in which to work: "Linguistic Citizenship, Place and Performance", "Multilingual Speakers in Global Spaces", or "Language in Social and Digital Media". The groups discussed their topic, conducted fieldwork and presented their findings and analysis.

Library in Manenberg (Photo: Miché Thompson)

The group Multilingual Speakers in Global Spaces took a lifestyle perspective to looking at multilingual speakers in global spaces. Their fieldwork took them to a community library in Manenberg township (external link), a largely Afrikaans-speaking area in Cape Town. As the photo shows, the library attempts to cater for speakers of English, Afrikaans, and isiXhosa, to varying degrees. During the fieldwork the group was able to practice linguistic landscape documentation and interviews, and children drew language portraits in the library. Dmitri Jegels (University of the Western Cape) was the expert leader for the fieldwork, and shared his extensive insights based on his long-term work in Manenberg. The two other groups did fieldwork on digital access and hip-hop activism, two really interesting topics in this context. 

Filedwork in Cape Town. Group of people standing in front of a building.
The group "Language in Social and Digital Media" conducting fieldwork (Photo: Jorunn S. Thingnes)

For the participants from MultiLing, the fieldwork was their first experience with such activities during a PhD course. It worked very well, and was a great inspiration for future PhD courses at MultiLing. 

The MultiLing delegation consisted of five instructors/researchers (Elizabeth Lanza, Unn Røyneland, Pia Lane, Judith Purkarthofer, Haley de Korne), head of administration (Mari R. Otnes), and two doctoral students (Maria Obojska and Jorunn Thingnes). The instructors at the summer school included, in addition to the ones from Norway, Kathleen Heugh, Christopher Stroud, Christine Anthonissen, Tommaso Milani, Ana Deumert, Zannie Bock, Quentin Williams, Amiena Peck, and Sibonile Mpendukana.

MultiLing is grateful to our hosts and fellow participants who engaged in great discussions throughout the week, and looks forward to continuing collaboration thanks to the INTPART network project.

By Jorunn Simonsen Thingnes
Published Dec. 22, 2016 10:59 AM - Last modified June 26, 2017 10:54 AM