BAAL Webinar 2024.pdf

Webinar Details


Thursday the 2nd of May: 14:00 till 16:30, on Zoom

This webinar offers a space to hear about and discuss ways in which language policy scholars can contribute to language policy issues outside of academia. We will host three guest speakers whose important work goes beyond academia to uphold linguistic and social justice. Guest speakers will share insights from their ongoing engagement and activist work with a range of supranational NGOs. The speakers’ presentations will be followed by an extended Q&A and discussion. The discussion will be chaired by the co-convenors of the Language Policy BAAL SIG Dr. Florence Bonacina-Pugh and Dr. Elisabeth Barakos.

This seminar is an online event and registration is required. When registering, please ensure your email address is accurate and advise of any accessibility needs.

Schedule: 2pm-4.30pm

Presentation 1: The European Language Equality Network: the campaign for Europe's minoritised and endangered languages.

Dr. Davyth Hicks, Secretary-General, European Language Equality Network (ELEN)

This paper will discuss the ELEN’s advocacy work and campaigns for European lesser-used languages from a civil society, activist perspective as well as reflecting on how and why people become language activists, what the work involves, and the impact of language activism. It will review how civil society organisations act as the drivers for effective language recovery and will give an insight into how language campaigns lead to effective language policy and planning, and the work to establish minoritized language rights. The paper will also discuss how academic research helps to guide effective civil society activism and how academics interact with civil society organisations.

Presentation 2: Challenging monolingual perspectives in a South American multilingual border region
Dr. Isis Ribeiro Berger, Associate Professor at UNIOESTE (Western Paraná State University, Brazil)

Multilingualism in Brazil and in its border regions has been on the agenda of academic debates within the scope of Language Policy. Despite the ongoing initiatives towards the recognition of the languages spoken within its territory and borders, monolingual perspectives still surface in the language-in-education centralized policies. Aiming at contributing to raise the awareness and the importance of promoting multilingualism among the local society, as well as bridging academia, civil society, and local language communities, in 2018 UNIOESTE became a member of the UNESCO Chair on Language Policies for Multilingualism, working on Multilingualism and Language Education as a general line of action. This presentation looks at initiatives conducted within the scope of the University, to address local language policies, raising awareness of pre-service language teachers and society on the importance of valuing and promoting language diversity, as well as fostering reflection for negotiating policies in school practices.

Presentation 3

Language Policy Confidential: Seen and Unseen Work in the Service of Multilingualism

Professor Francis M. Hult, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

As language policy and planning (LPP) researchers, many of us hope that our empirical work and knowledge of LPP theory might allow us to contribute a research-based perspective to inform those responsible for crafting, revising, or implementing policies (e.g., Corson, 1999; Van Avermaet & Shohamy, 2022). Sometimes possibilities for such influence emerge from opportunities in consulting or advocacy beyond the scope of structured research studies whereby LPP researchers conduct meaningful work that is not documented in the scholarly literature and in some cases remains confidential.

Here, I consider principles of public engagement with politicians, media, and educators that were developed by LPP scholars for a research methods book (Hult & Johnson, 2015). I also recount my own experiences with advocacy and consulting for a range of institutions such as the Language Council of Norway (Språkrådet), the Swedish Agency for Education (Skolverket), the United States Congress, and the United Nations. I describe how this kind of work can be both rewarding and frustrating, including how minor contributions can have a substantial impact as well as how sustained efforts might be needed to yield minor if potentially consequential results. This type of work, I suggest (cf. Hult, 2018), is more like politics and diplomacy than research and requires a reorientation in our approach.


Corson, D. (1999). Language policies in schools: A resource for teachers and administrators. Routledge.

Hult, F.M., & Johnson, D.C. (Eds.)(2015). Research methods in language policy and planning: A practical guide. Wiley-Blackwell. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9781118340349

Hult, F.M. (2018). Foreign language education policy on the horizon. Foreign Language Annals, 51, 35-45. DOI: 10.1111/flan.12315

Van Avermaet, P., & Shohamy, E. (2022). Advocacy issues and research in language policy. Language Policy, 21(4), 507-510.

Short biographies:

Dr. Davyth Hicks is a specialist on territorial, minoritized, and endangered languages, the regeneration of these languages, and on linguistic rights. As Secretary-General and one of the founders of Europe’s NGO for lesser-used languages, the European Language Equality Network (ELEN), he plays a key role in developing language policy and planning, and campaigning for language rights, at the European, State, and local level. From Cornwall, Dr. Hicks completed his MSc and PhD in Celtic Studies at Edinburgh University, lecturing in the subject for seven years after which he worked for the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (EBLUL) in Brussels from 2003. Prior to this he enjoyed success as a professional songwriter and rock musician, touring extensively with different bands worldwide, as well as working with language activist organisations in Cornwall and Wales.

ELEN represents 50 lesser-used languages with 175 member organisations in 25 European states and works closely with the EU, the UN, the Council of Europe, and UNESCO.

ELEN website: www.elen.ngo

Dr. Isis Ribeiro Berger is an Associate Professor at UNIOESTE (Western Parana State University in Brazil). She is a member of the UNESCO Chair on Language Policies for Multilingualism, and institutional coordinator of the Project Paraná Fala Inglês, a Language Policy of Paraná State. She has been a lecturer for both undergraduate courses and the post-graduation program Society, Culture and Borders, working in the field of Language Policy with a special interest in multilingualism management in border regions.

Francis M. Hult is Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He has published widely on language policy and planning, with books including Research Methods in Language Policy and Planning (with Johnson) and Language Policy and Language Acquisition Planning (with Siiner and Kupisch). Professor Hult is the manager of the Language Policy (LgPolicy) listserv. He also serves on the editorial boards of Language Policy, Current Issues in Language Planning, and Language Problems and Language Planning, among several other journals, as well as on the boards of the Language Policy Research Network (LPReN) and the Center for Applied Linguistics.

If you wish to attend this lecture but do not wish to register via Eventbrite, please email us at: ile@ed.ac.uk

If you have any questions, please contact: ile@ed.ac.uk