British Council welcome 20 international delegates

Screen Daily online – BEV, British Council welcome 20 international delegates – http://bit.ly/OZHEOc

 Birds Eye View (BEV) and the British Council have renewed and expanded their partnership on an International Delegates programme in April 2014.

The Birds Eye View Festival, which runs April 8-13, will welcome 20 female writers, directors and producers for a bespoke series of training, networking and industry events from April 10-14.

Eleven countries are represented including Iraq, Indonesia, Cuba, Sudan, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Jamaica, Pakistan Romania and Argentina.

This year’s programme builds on 2013’s inaugural run. Again the partners are BAFTA and MoFilm.

Global Dickens read-a-thon to celebrate 200 years of Dickens

In this blog post we announce a Global Dickens read-a-thon which takes place today, 7 February, over Twitter. If you’re interested, please read on or have a look at the British Council Literature website, where you can find more details on the subject.

A global 24 hour read-a-thon of different Dickens texts takes place today, Tuesday 7 February over Twitter, in celebratation the bicentenary of the great writer’s birth in every corner of the world. Twenty-four countries will read an extract of the work of this truly global author, from China to Albania, Pakistan to Russia.  All readings will be uploaded onto the @BritishCouncil twitter feed and onto the #Dickens2012 stream: on the hour, every hour. The readings will carry on until 6 am tomorrow morning.

If you missed out on today’s events, don’t worry, as there’ll be many more to come. You can, for example, watch a British Council event, Bent and broken into a better shape: the magical storytelling of Charles Dickens, with Jeremy Harmer and Steve Bingham online. They will bring Dickens’ writing to life through readings and music, in a show designed especially (but not exclusively) for teachers and students of international English. You can follow the event live at www.teachingenglish.org.uk/dickens from 1845 on Thursday 9 February.

And as for past events, there is plenty of interesting video material on the British Council Germany website. From 26-28 January they hosted a seminar entitled What would Dickens write today? 

Or, if you’re looking for a nice and quick presentation of Dickens’ life, have a look at this wonderful video:

Sign Language – making literature more accessible

This year the Edinburgh International Book Festival piloted a new scheme which offered British Sign Language interpretation by request for any event. This built on previous years where BSL interpretation was offered at a number of pre-decided events. The festival ended on Tuesday and now with some time to reflect, Amanda Barry, Marketing and PR Manager has kindly shared some of the background to the initiative with the Language Rich Europe blog:

Why was the decision made to start this initiative?

We have a set budget for BSL interpreted events and were choosing the events ourselves which seemed the wrong way round. People who book events because they are BSL events rarely make themselves known to us, so we are never sure how many people actually use the facility. The events we used to pick to be BSL interpreted were often the more popular events and would sell out very quickly and we wanted to allow for later bookers, be able to assess how many people actually wanted/needed a BSL interpreter (given we are a book festival about language and words and many deaf people struggle with this) and wanted to give bookers some flexibility in what they could attend.

Although the response rate to the initiative was described as ‘low – about 6 people requested BSL interpreted events’ with no plans to expand upon it in the immediate future, the pilot recognises the importance of  sign languages in making book events more accessible with Press Manager Frances Sutton explaining that the festival wanted ‘to give our hard of hearing customers a wider range of events they can see and enjoy.’

Edinburgh is not the only book festival to include sign language in their programme. Last year, Sheffield’s Off the Shelf festival launched the first British Sign Language translation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This book enables readers to read the text in English while following video clips of the BSL translation. According to publisher DeafEducate’s website, this is an important resource for language learning:

For people who use British Sign Language as their first language, eBooks will enable them to acquire confidence in reading and understanding English, and likewise for people who use English and want to learn British Sign Language.

Similarly, the European Commission funded project SignLibrary provides access to world literature which has been translated into Sign Language. Texts can be downloaded or read directly on the site and members can create their own stories or translate books themselves which can be uploaded to the Community area.

Initiatives such as these support the European Parliament’s call ‘to promote sign language and to ensure deaf people can work and learn in their preferred language’ and the European Commission‘s acknowledgement of sign language as ‘an important part of Europe’s multilingual diversity.’ There are many more excellent sign language projects and events happening across Europe, a few of which are listed below, but we would love to hear of others in the Comments section:

A big thank you to Amanda Barry, Frances Sutton and Colin Fraser at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for answering my questions and Kathrin Tietze at the British Council for providing information on other sign languages events.

Edwin Morgan – Poetry’s Ambassador for Multilingualism

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the death of Edwin Morgan, one of Scotland’s greatest poets. Born in 1920 in Glasgow, Morgan was Professor of English at Glasgow University until 1980 and went on to serve as Glasgow’s first Poet Laureate until 2002. In 2004 he was appointed the first ‘Scots Makar’, a position created to recognise Scotland’s rich history of poets (makar is a Scots word for poet).

Edwin Morgan loved language and languages, playing with how words sound and, through his concrete poetry, how they look on the page. In his poems he gives voices to unexpected objects including computers and an apple, and gives language to Mercurians and the Loch Ness Monster. He also translated poems from a number of languages including German, Hungarian, French, Spanish, Latin, Italian and English (into Scots) and published a book of Collected Translations in 1996.

One of my favourite poems by Edwin Morgan is the science-fiction poem ‘The First Men on Mercury’, which sees humans and Mercurians swap languages. Here is an excerpt, but you can, and should, read the poem in full on the Scottish Poetry Library’s website.

– We come in peace from the third planet.
Would you take us to your leader?
– Bawr stretter! Bawr. Bawr. Stretterhawl?
– This is a little plastic model
of the solar system, with working parts.
You are here and we are there and we
are now here with you, is this clear?
– Gawl horrop. Bawr Abawrhannahanna!
– Where we come from is blue and white
with brown, you see we call the brown
here ‘land, the blue is ‘sea’, and the white
is ‘clouds’ over land and sea, we live
on the surface of the brown land,
all round is sea and clouds. We are ‘men’.
Men come –
– Glawp men! Gawrbenner menko. Menhawl?

The Scottish Poetry Library is home to the Edwin Morgan archive, and yesterday the Director, Robyn Marsack posted a tribute to the poet on their blog Our sweet old etcetera…

Shakespeare in different languages during the Olympics

It has long been recognised that Shakespeare, as well as a great playwright, has become an international language. We want to celebrate this international affection by welcoming Shakespeare enthusiasts – producers, performers and audiences – to experience his work in their own languages and dialects.

says Dominic Dromgoole, the Globe’s artistic director, as it is reported the BBC News website

And it is exactly what the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre will do during the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, giving the opportunity to the international audiences to experience Shakespeare in their own language(s), inside the Globe Theatre. Companies from around the world will participate in this special season, starting on 23 April and lasting 6 weeks.

Audiences will see The Taming of the Shrew in Urdu, The Tempest in Arabic, Julius Caesar in Italian, or Troilus and Cressida in Maori. Other languages will also include Lithuanian, Greek, Spanish, Turkish, …

A celebration of multilingualism, this project is also a very good way to open up to more international collaborations.

There is no information yet on the Globe’s public website, but you can read the press release with a list of the languages and plays to be performed.

Déjeuner thématique à La Monnaie: Eine Diskussion am Mittagstisch

RAB/BKO – Réseau des arts à Bruxelles/Brussel Kunst Overleg have organised a meeting about multilingualism in cultural institutions last month at the Brussels Opera House La Monnaie/De Munt. Our colleague Julia Kofler, from the British Council in Brussels, attended the event and is reporting back for the Language Rich blog… in German.

Donnerstag 31 Maerz : Reseaux des Arts Bruxelles, das franzoesischsprachige Netzwerk der kulturellen Institutionen in Bruessel und dessen flaemisches Pendant, das BKO luden zu einem Gespraech mit Broetchen ueber zwei und – Mehsprachigkeit im Bruesseler Kulturbereich. Die Veranstaltung fand, gerechter- und erfreulicherweise, auf Niederlaendisch  und Franzoesisch statt.

Els Van Volsem, Ausbildungsleiterin bei La Monnai/De Munt…oder bei De Munt/La Monnaie, ganz nach Bedarf, trug vor, wie die Thematik in dem staatlich subventionierten Konzerthaus und der Bruesseler Langzeitinstitution verarbeitet wird.

Bruessel ist in erster Linie der Sammelpunkt der flaemischen und wallonischen Kultur und Sprache. Was zusammenfuehrt, kann aber auch entzweien. So wird versucht, dem auf regionaler Ebene gegenwaertigen Kulturkonflikt, zumindest in der Hauptstadt entegenzusetzen und stattdessen Modell zu stehen fuer ein gegluecktes sprachliches Zusammenleben.

Bei La Monnaie/De Munt wird der franzoesisch-sprachige Text des Programmheftes ein Jahr auf die linke Seite und der flaemische Text auf die rechte Seite gesetzt, und das Jahr darauf das Ganze umgekehrt. Die Auskunft meldet sich hoeflich mit Bonjour, La Monnaie, comment je peux vous aider/ Goede dag, DeMunt, hoe kan ik u helpen ? Als waere dem nicht genug, wird den Mitarbeitern nahegelegt, doch bitte stets zu wechseln. Beim darauffolgenden Anruf heisst es dann: DeMunt, Hoe kan ik u helpen/ Bonjour, La Monnaie, comment je peux vous aider?

Aber nicht nur der Sprachgebrauch intern und mit dem Publikum, auch die Einstellung zu fremden Kulturen allgemein wurde angesprochen. So hat das Bruesseler Kulturangebot an exotischem Flair reichlich zugenommen: Afrikanisches Theater, Chinesische Oper, Balkan Festival und vieles mehr hat Einzug genommen in den staedtischen Saaelen. Und mit Erfolg: mehr und mehr werden dadurch die jeweiligen Gemeinschaften dieser Kulturen ins Theater oder ins Konzert gelockt. Das ist natuerlich ueberaus lobenswert, aber wie steht es mit der kuturellen Vielfalt innerhalb des Kulturmangements? Selten findet man Mitarbeiter aus anderen Laendern oder exotischem kulturellen Hintergrund, dabei ist Bruessel zu 47% anderssprachig , das heisst, Einwohner, die nicht franzoesische oder niederlaendische Muttersprachler sind: Ein klarer Nachteil fuer Sprachenvielfalt und –austausch innerhalb des Sektors.

Die Frage am Rande: Das Profil der Teilnehmer des Mittagsgespraechs bestand zum grossen Teil aus mittlerem Management und war weiblich. Kultur und Kommunikation sind an sich fast “naturgegeben” ein von Frauen sehr geliebter Bereich. Oder muss gefolgert werden, dass Sprachen und Sprachengebrauch von, im Kulturmanagement wie andersweitig meist maennlich besetzten, hoeheren Etagen weniger ernst genommen wird

Tire ta langue!

Tire ta langue est un programme radio sur France Culture qui explore la langue française et le multilinguisme à travers des discussions avec des philosophes, auteurs, acteurs, essayistes, linguistes, journalistes et autres.  Créée au milieu des années 1980 par Olivier Germain-Thomas et Jean-Marie Borzeix, directeur de France Culture, le programme était sous la responsabilité d’Antoine Perraud de 1991 à 2006.

Comme expliqué sur le site de l’émission, Tire ta langue explore différentes pistes à travers le thème de la langue:

  • La défense et l’illustration du français et de la francophonie, mais aussi la découverte d’une langue étrangère (Sommet ou journée de la francophonie. Quelle langue pour la science ? Le français malmené à l’ONU. Comment travaillent les commissions de terminologie ? …)
  • L’évolution du français contemporain, de ses variantes régionales ou corporatistes ; ceux qui s’en saisissent, ceux qui étudient une telle évolution (Les nouvelles formes d’argots. De la langue populaire au parler populiste. La langue de la Chine et des puces. La langue de l’écologie…)
  • L’analyse d’un auteur ou d’un genre littéraire (La langue de Marivaux, de Guyotat. La langue du canular. La polémique. Les comptines enfantines…).

 Vous pouvez écouter les différents entretiens sur le site de l’émission Tire ta langue sur France Culture.