MultiLing in the time of corona

Around the world, people are adjusting to measures put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The University of Oslo closed its doors Thursday 12 March. At MultiLing we are adjusting to a new normal: working and teaching from home, not knowing when we'll be able to return.

We had many exciting events planned for this semester, most of which have now been cancelled or postponed. We are of course more than willing to do do our part to minimize the spread of the virus. Even so, knowing all the hard work that has been put into planning and organizing these events, it's sad to see so many of them cancelled. Georgetown University Round Table (GURT), co-organized by MultiLing, was the first event to be cancelled. Mini multilinguals in the making, a wonderful opportunity to disseminate our research to the public, was postponed until autumn. Internal events such as our Annual Retreat and the Scientific Advisory Board meeting have also been postponed. We will continue to evaluate our upcoming events, and postponing or cancelling them if the situation requires it.

A virtual break room

Just like people all over the world, MultiLingers are adjusting to a new way of living. We are changing the ways we work and socialize. Luckily, there are so many ways to stay connected through all of this. One of our initiatives is a “vitual break room”, a Facebook group for MultiLingers that is meant to give us the informal meeting space we usually rely on our physical meeting room to provide. In the virtual break room, we share ideas and tips ranging from how to plan online teaching and how to work from home, to which is the best YouTube yoga channel.

Morning coffee with colleagues

From day one of the university lockdown, postdoctoral fellow Pernille Hansen has been organizing a daily morning coffee for the PhDs and postdocs on Zoom. This helps our junior researchers stay connected, check in, and share thoughts and ideas in a time with less real-life interaction. 

Colleagues having a morning coffee over Zoom.
Physical distance doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Informal chats in the break room have been replaced by morning coffees over Zoom.  (Screenshot: private)

Wednesday seminars in your living room

Our Wednesday Seminar series is also going virtual. Yesim Sevinc and David Natvig are organizing the seminars this semester, and they have taken it upon themselves to adapt the Wednesday seminars to these new circumstances. For now, the seminars will be internal, and will be used as a way of sharing what we are working on, so that we can continue to engage with each other's research, and to support each other’s work in these challenging times.

Writing retreats with furry friends

We look forward to the day when we can once again fill the halls of MultiLing with life, laughter and scientific exploration. For now, we are trying to cope with the situation as best we can. We are definitely learning a lot about all kinds of digital communication. And we are of course curious to see what this involuntary writing retreat will do to our publication rate. Our new furry colleagues are sure to be a boon to our productivity!

dog and cat
Max and Miranda discussing their methodology chapters.(Photos: private)
By Marit Johanne Furunes
Published Mar. 27, 2020 9:42 AM - Last modified Mar. 27, 2020 9:42 AM