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25/6/18: UCL Institute of

International Centre for Intercultural Studies

University College London, Institute of Education


Seminar 3:



Date/Time: 25 June 2018, 5.30-7.00 pm

Venue: UCL Institute of Education, Room 537

Convenor: Dr Nicola Savvides, Honorary Senior Research Associate, ICIS/ IOE UCL; Senior Lecturer in International Education, University of Bath


Paper 1: Contradictory narratives of proficiency in English in Brexit Britain: linguistic diversity and cultural inclusion/exclusion 

Dr Maki Kimura, Teaching Fellow in Gender and Politics, Department of Political Science, University College London

Dr Siân Preece, Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, UCL Institute of Education


Since Brexit, there have been reports on racially motivated incidents in the UK, where the language differences are used as a tool for inciting racial hatred, while the government has promoted proficiency in English as a ‘strong enabler’ of cultural integration. Drawing on ongoing research into acceptance of linguistic diversity in Brexit Britain, in this presentation we examine contradictory narratives that have arisen on English and cultural integration in UK media reports as well as through our fieldwork involving bi/multilingual migrants living and working in London. In the climate of Brexit, we argue that highly proficient levels of English do not guarantee cultural inclusion for members of Britain’s diverse migrant communities and that the visibility of languages other than English in public spaces risks cultural exclusion.

Bio note:

Maki Kimura is a Teaching Fellow in Gender and Politics in the Department of Political Science, UCL. She has longstanding research interests in gender and race equality, and the role of the state in re/producing gendered and raced inequality. Before joining UCL, Maki was involved in numerous research studies in the issues of equality and diversity in higher education. Currently, she is working on the UCL Grand Challenges Small Grant Project ‘What space for linguistic diversity in Brexit Britain? A study of political campaigning material, media reports and migrant experiences in the Brexit Referendum and 2017 General Election’ with Dr. Sian Preece.

Siân Preece is a Senior Lecturer in the Applied Linguistics and TESOL team in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media at the UCL Institute of Education. Her research examines the relationship between language and identity, particularly the intersection of gender, ethnicity and social class for bi/multilingual university students, and plurilingual approaches to pedagogy in in contexts of linguistic diversity in higher education in Anglophone settings. She is author of Posh Talk: Language and Identity in Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan 2009), editor of The Routledge Handbook of Language and Identity (Routledge 2016) and one of the co-authors of Language, Society and Power, 3rd ed. (Routledge 2011). She is Principal Investigator for the ESRC seminar series ‘The Multilingual University: The impact of linguistic diversity on higher education in English-dominant and English medium instructional contexts’ and is currently collaborating with Dr Maki Kimura on the UCL Grand Challenges Small Grant Project ‘What space for linguistic diversity in Brexit Britain? A study of political campaigning material, media reports and migrant experiences in the Brexit Referendum and 2017 General Election’.


Paper 2:  Wrestling with the Language of Intercultural Competence:   conceptualisations and contradictions in a UK university

Dr Trevor Grimshaw, Senior Lecturer, Department for Education, University of Bath


This presentation reports on a recent multiple case study of postgraduate programmes in a UK university. The research sought to uncover tensions and issues between staff and students in terms of the conceptualisation and development of intercultural competence, with a view to developing common understandings and identifying good practice in teaching and learning. Data collection, which was conducted across all four faculties of the university, involved initial and stimulated recall interviews with staff, observation of lectures, and focus group interviews with students. The findings reveal groups and individuals wrestling with the notions of intercultural competence, its associated behaviours, and its apparent contradictions. In particular, the presentation focuses on the language that participants used in order to express their conceptualisations of intercultural competence. It concludes with implications for the policy and practice of ‘international’ higher education in a superdiverse, post-intercultural environment.

Bio note:

Trevor has been a teacher educator, researcher, language teacher, translator and curriculum consultant in various countries, including several years in China, Indonesia and Spain. His recent projects and publications have focused on intercultural issues in the internationalization of higher education, the critique of the ‘East Asian learner’ stereotype, and the marketisation of English as an International Language. His work is currently concerned with the intercultural dimension of English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI).

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