13th May 2016



Birmingham’s award-winning science museum



Globalisation and changing patterns of migration mean ‘superdiverse’ cities are increasingly populated by speakers of multiple languages. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project, Translation and Translanguaging: Investigating Linguistic and Cultural Transformations in Superdiverse Wards in Four UK Cities http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/index.aspx) , will hold a Network Assembly on May 13th 2016 to focus on communication in changing urban communities.

Speakers will present evidence of changing communication practices in city meeting places including markets, shops, libraries, arts venues and community hubs.

The focus of the day is interdisciplinary, and will promote exchange between a range of stakeholders including academics, professionals, and practitioners in the areas of business, heritage, libraries, museums, arts, community support and advocacy, and national and city level policy stakeholders. Presentation of research outcomes will be accessible, evidence-based, and tangible. The social, political and economic consequences of research findings will be foregrounded through engagement with participants. The day will consist of presentations, film, and panel and audience discussion and debate.


The day is organised around two themes:

  • Language, Business and the City

This theme examines everyday interactions in small business settings. Presentations will provide examples of everyday exchanges between traders, customers, suppliers, and colleagues, as they draw on linguistically diverse repertoires in commercial activity. In everyday encounters in business people negotiate social differences in relation to language, ethnicity, gender, class, and generation. Data analysis will demonstrate that interactions are structured to build convivial relations, which in turn have the potential to contribute to social cohesion in city neighbourhoods.

  • Everyday Encounters with Heritage

This theme considers the heritage of cities as the foundation on which they build their future. Presentations will explore new conceptualisations of heritage in contexts of superdiversity, and describe processes of valuing, protecting, bequeathing and producing heritage. A feature of the heritage of cities is their diversity. Analysis of data reveals that linguistic and cultural difference serves as a resource for the creation of new city heritages. Discussion will focus on how people make connections in everyday encounters where difference is commonplace and unremarkable.


Please disseminate this information to your networks. The closing date is May 1st 2016.


Attendance is free but registration is required, please register here.


For further information please contact the TLANG project administrator, Sarah Martin (S.L.Martin@bham.ac.uk).



9.30 am           10.00 am                     Registration

10.00 am         10.05 am                     Welcome, and aims of the day: Toby Watley, Director of Collections,

Birmingham Museums Trust


10.05 am         10:15 am                     Screening of Project Film


10:15 am         10.20 am                     Welcome, University of Birmingham


10.20 am         10.25 am                     Aims of the TLANG project: Professor Angela Creese, Principal Investigator


Session 1                                              Language, Business and the City (Chaired by Professor Kiran Trehan)

10.25 am         10.30 am                      Introduction: Engaging with business (Professor Kiran Trehan, University of Birmingham)


10.30 am         11.00 am                     Migrant livelihoods: Transaction economies in Birmingham and Leicester (Dr. Suzanne Hall, London School of Economics)



11.00 am         11.10 am                     Cultural reflection


11.10 am         11.30 am                     Tea / Coffee


11.30 am         12.00 pm                     Beyond transactions: social and communicative practices in small businesses (Professor Zhu Hua, Birkbeck, University of London, and Dr Frances Rock, Cardiff University)

12.00 pm           12.40 pm                  Panel and audience discussion:

  • Professor John Bryson (University of Birmingham)
  • Simon Cane (Director of Public and Cultural Engagement

University College, London)

  • Jayne Magee (Business in the Community)



12.40 pm         1.30 pm                                   LUNCH



Session 2                                             Everyday Encounters with Heritage (Chaired by Professor Jenny



1.30 pm           1.40 pm                       Cultural reflection


1.40 pm           1.45 pm                       Introduction: Superdiversity – A heritage for the future (Professor Jenny



1.45 pm           2.15 pm                      Pioneer migrants in a super-diverse context (Dr. Suzanne Wessendorf Institute for Research into Superdiversity , University of Birmingham)

2.15 pm           2.45 pm                      Encounters with everyday heritage (Professor, Adrian Blackledge,

University of Birmingham and Dr James Simpson, University of Leeds)


2.45 pm           3.00 pm                     Tea / Coffee

3.15 pm           3.55 pm                      Panel and audience discussion:

  • Orit Azaz (Creative Development Lab)
  • Abid Hussain (Arts Council)
  • Professor Mike Robinson (University of Birmingham)
  • Toby Watley (Birmingham Museums Trust)


3.55 pm           4.15 pm                      Closing remarks and discussion: Gary Grubb (Associate Director of Programmes, Arts and Humanities Research Council)