Bitter sweet in Brazil: observations on fieldwork with landless communities

07 December 2016 - 15:30-16:30 [MB.G14]

Mike Danson

Heriot-Watt University

Registration closed

Metrics for the Social Sciences and Humanities

30 November 2016 - 15:30-16:30 [EF26]

James Wilsdon

University of Sheffield

Registration closed

Interpreting the Soviet liberation: the perspective of the Baltic States and Russia

11 October 2016 - 16:15-17:05 [SR114]

Tomas Kavaliauskas

Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas & University of Klaipėda

Registration closed

IRC Symposium 2016

Intercultural Scotland: Challenges and Opportunities

19 May 2016

More than 60 participants attended the IRC's first symposium on 19 May 2016, considering challenges and opportunities faced by an increasingly multi- and intercultural Scotland.

Spurred on by the campaigns leading up to the 2014 independence referendum, there have been several tropes of a continuing debate about what, where and who Scotland was, is, and should become. One strong trope is the idea of Scotland as a trans-/intercultural society capable of an inclusive form of nationalism encompassing the "new Scots" within a way of national identity that is rooted in a shared culture rather than civic codes or descent. The symposium critically examined that trope and its wider implications, with particular focus on key areas of research at the IRC: cultural heritage, migration and language, narrative & memory, socio-cultural policy, sustainable development, and tourism management.

BAAL Workshop


New plurilingual pathways for integration: Immigrants and language learning in the 21st Century

 Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 26th & 27th May 2016

With support from BAAL, the IRC's Nicola Bermingham organised this event as part of the BAAL / Cambridge University Press Applied Linguistics Seminar Programme 2015-2016 and COST Action IS1306 "New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges".

Read the Call for Papers.


Politics of Language in Scotland

Tales of the standard and non-standard in Scotland

Dr James Costa
Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
University of Oslo

Wednesday, 11 November, 3pm [room tba]

This presentation will question whether analyzing social issues in terms of regimes of language can refine how we problematize and understand language in society. It will draw on ongoing fieldwork on minority language standardization in Scotland to ask how the study of language regimentation is a way to productively link language ideologies, practices and political economy and to understand how ideologies are organized and by whom in order to shape moral orders, i.e. mutual rights and obligations. Focusing on standardization as a sociolinguistic regime premised on the idea that everyone potentially has equal access to a linguistic standard, the speaker will analyze how specific social actors mobilize categories of ‘language’, ‘dialect’ and ‘accent’ under the present ideological conditions in post-independence referendum Scotland to understand what it entails for whom: in other words, how do people do dialect or language? How are people’s actions constrained and regimented within the social space that the existence of such ideologically bound categories permits, and how are boundaries moved to implement or impede social changes? Based on the analysis of language debates over the desirability of (not) standardizing Scots, it will be argued that the regimentation of language is fundamentally about defining and managing the public space and who has access to it, and under which conditions.

Dr Costa's current research builds on his work as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo working as part of the STANDARDS-Standardising languages in Europe research project, led by Dr Pia Lane. He is currently trying to understand the politics of standard/non-standard language in Scotland, focusing more specifically on the registers that can be termed Scots, non-standard English etc. Broadly speaking, he is interested in contrasting the politics of standard/non-standard language in Scotland with access to the public sphere: who get's to talk, to say what, under what conditions and circumstances? Central to this work is the question of the legitimate speaker, and research in this area is also his main contribution to COST Action IS1306 "New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe" (led by Professor Bernadette O'Rourke, Heriot-Watt University, and Joan Pujolar, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya). Dr Costa has been associated with the COST network since the onset in 2011, and is currently co-coordinator of WG10 ("Legitimacy and Power") with Dr Alfonso Del Percio (University of Oslo).

For further details, please contact Prof. Bernadette O'Rourke.

Film Screening

Joint event with CTISS

Sunday 11 October 2015 – 2.00pm [Filmhouse, Lothian Road]

The Tribe” (Plemya) – Winner of the 2014 International Critics' Week Grand Prize at Cannes, told entirely through un-subtitled Ukrainian Sign Language

Special screening followed by a panel discussion, in spoken English and British Sign Language with panellists

  • EJ Raymond (actor, writer and founder of Turtléar)
  • Andy Carmichael (sign language interpreter, TV producer)
  • Nicholas Padden-Duncan (freelance sign language professional and director of Kumquat & Co.)
  • Professor Ursula Böser (Department of Langauges & Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh).

Tickets £9.00/£7.20conc.

Registration closed.

IRC Seminars 2015/16


All welcome!

Attendance is normally free, but places may be limited.

Please register in advance, using the links below.

21 October 2015 – 3.15 pm [MB147]

Dr Maria Economou (Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute, University of Glasgow)

Evaluating the Use of Digital Cultural Resources: Issues and challenges


4 November 2015 – 9.15 am [DB115]

Dr Norin Arshed (Intercultural Research Centre, Heriot-Watt University)

Festivals and Sustainability

2 December 2015 – 12.15 pm [MBG13]

Prof. Ullrich Kockel (Intercultural Research Centre, Heriot-Watt University)

Youth Towards the East: An aspect of post-War Germany, 1951-75

2 December 2015 – 3.15 pm 

Facundo Reyna Muniain (Romanisches Seminar, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)

Language and Identity in Diaspora Context in Argentina


20 January 2016 – 3.15 pm [MBG20]

Dr Nina Parish (Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath)

Suitcases, Keys and Handkerchiefs: How are objects being used to collect and tell migrant stories in Australian museums?


28 January 2016 – 1.15 pm [MBG13]

Dr Ashvin Devasundaram (Intercultural Research Centre, Heriot-Watt University)

Breaking Bollywood Conventions: The Brave New World of independent Indian cinema

2 March 2016 – 3.15 pm [MBG13]

Sandie Dawe (Visit Britain)

Nation Branding and Soft Power: A comparative perspective

23 March 2016 – 3.15 pm [MBG13]

Prof. Victor de Munck (Center for Social Anthropology, Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas)

Towards a Cognitive Theory of Culture

13 April 2016 – 3.15 pm [MBG14]

Toma Pustelnikovaitė (School of Management, University of St Andrews)

Foreign-born Academics in UK Universities: Investigating their migration and employment experiences

9 May 2016 - 5.00 pm

Prof. Stephen May (University of Auckland)

Language revitalisation and linguistic superdiversity: Prospects and challenges


11 May 2016 - 3.15 pm [MBG14]

Claire Johnstone (Intercultural Research Centre, Heriot-Watt University)

Walking the Landscape: Place Attachment and Routes toward a Personal Heritage

21 June 2016 - 3.15 pm [MBG14]

Dr Tytti Steel (Social & Economic Sustainability of Future Worklife Consortium, University of Helsinki)

Sustainable working life - Participatory research from the point of view of Nordic Ethnology

Registration closed.