Read the summary of the Arqus participation in the ELC event in Seville!
|23 Dec 2022
On 1 and 2 December 2022, colleagues from the Language Center, Alba Delgado and Kerstin Gackle, presented the activities undertaken by Work package 11: Plurilingual and Intercultural Hub (WP11) in the Arqus European University Alliance at the conference “Languages in European University Alliances: challenges and issues” in Seville (Spain). The conference was organised by the European Language Council (ELC), and more than ten European university alliances presented their work and future projects.
After welcoming remarks by the organisers, Lola Pons, professor of Spanish language, linguistics and literary theory at the University of Seville, gave the plenary lecture on the Andalusian linguistic landscape and the important role it plays in creating and promoting a multilingual society.
Together with three other colleagues from Granada, the Leipzig colleagues presented on the Arqus Language Policy, the Agreement for the Automatic Recognition of Language Certificates and Language Competence, the online series 7 Months, 7 Universities, the workshop series, the Arqus Language Café and the Arqus Termbase. The session was moderated by Roma Kriaučiūnienė, co-leader of WP11 in the Arqus Alliance. The presentation and Arqus itself received much positive feedback on the quantity and quality of work related to multilingualism that was carried out in the first EU funding phase (2019– 2022).
In addition, some of the challenges were discussed such as the possibilities of including target groups that are less involved in academic activities, as well as the limited human and financial resources allocated to carry out these tasks.
The other sessions also raised issues and problems that turned out to concern all of the Alliances:
– English as the sole lingua franca and possible alternatives such as intercomprehension courses in specific language families;– certification of multilingual and intercultural competence for formal and informal contexts;
– the planning, development and implementation of language policies in European partnerships, taking into account national and local arrangements;
– networking spaces for administrative and academic staff;
– Open Access Education and academic programmes to promote multilingualism in educational institutions; and
– language tandem as a strategy for promoting languages and culture.
The conference ended with a summary of the forum given by Professor Manuel Célio Conceiçao, in which he emphasised the need to make languages and multilingualism visible, improve linguistic and communication skills in higher education, and use existing policies and resources efficiently. He also spoke about the contextual inclusion of artificial intelligence, the development and implementation of language policies that take into account the actual use by users and that are not just institutional rules, and the cultivation of language as an identity and as a tool for knowledge creation.
The Rector of the University of Seville closed the conference with words of thanks and appreciation in regard to the importance of this meeting for the future of Europe and its universities. Even though the Leipzig colleagues have already said goodbye to the beautiful capital of Andalusia, the exchange of ideas and experiences between the alliances will continue in the coming months in online meetings organised by the Working Group of Language Centres at Universities, including a face-to-face meeting at the upcoming 8th Bremen Symposium.
Summary by Alba Delgado-Aguilar (Leipzig University)