View all news

Research Grant Success in the School of Modern Languages

24 October 2016

The School of Modern Languages has been successful in capturing a number of research grants over the past month or so.

Professor Charles Burdett

Charles Burdett from the Department of Italian, and the research team of Transnationalizing Modern Languages has been awarded £250,000 from the AHRC's participation in the Global Challenges initiative.  This funding will extend the work of the project to Namibia.  This is a major achievement and illustrates Modern Languages' and the School's relevance to current developments in the UK's research agenda. 

Professor Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown from the Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies,  has been awarded an AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund award for 'Peace Festival: Creative methodologies for unearthing hidden war stories, Colombia and Peru'.

Matthew has also been awarded a University of Bristol International Strategic Fund award for the project 'Building bridges for reconciliation and peacebuilding: Colombian overseas collaborators and University of Bristol Researchers'.

Dr Ruth Bush 

Ruth Bush from the Department of French has been successful recently is capturing two research grants.   She has been awarded an AHRC grant for the Global Challenges project entitled 'Popular print and reading cultures in francophone Africa' and, with Dr Madhu Krishan (Department of English), has secured an award under the ESC Impact Accelerator Account Award Scheme for 'Literary Entrepreneurship, Arts Management and Cultural Industries on the African Continent'.


TML Global Challenges

TML’s established group of Modern Languages experts has conducted research revealing the centrality of a variety of language practices, ranging from multilingualism to translation, in migration contexts and multicultural societies. An important part of TML has been to develop methodologies aimed at embedding awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity within educational practices, from primary to higher and adult education.

The aim of the project is to take the expertise and practical knowledge acquired within TML to Namibia by working closely with The Phoenix Project ( and its educational partnerships. Methodologies developed in TML will be adapted and refined to co-produce with researchers from University of Namibia and local practitioners materials tailor-made for the Namibian context. The new research seeks to facilitate educational and professional development through multilingual education in the local environment, identifying the school and health systems as key areas of social wellbeing and economic development.

The promotion of multilingual education has been identified as a key target with social and economic benefits for Namibia with clear connections to a number of UN sustainable development goals. Issues relating to languages and communication affect the country’s ability to grow economically; they are central to successful healthcare provision; they have a clear impact on poverty, income disparity and gender and generational inequality; they impact upon capacity building and access to job markets; they are relevant to conflict resolution as well as to the promotion of human rights; and they are clearly related to issues of cultural heritage and memory.

Peace Festival: Creative methodologies for unearthing hidden war stories, Colombia and Peru

Societies moving to post-war contexts face multiple challenges. Many of these are echoes from the war and its historical roots. Memories of war resonate throughout the transition process; they penetrate cultural practices, the public arena, the institutional level, and the social fabric.

Colombia is at a crucial historical juncture. Peace Accords agreed between the government and the FARC were narrowly rejected in a national referendum on 2 October; President Santos was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace on 7 October.

Long-lasting peace will not be possible without memory-seeking initiatives that think creatively about the past and its place in imagining the future. This project will bring together the most adventurous groups who are seeking to open up ways of thinking about peace in Colombia and its neighbour Peru. The project will strengthen their efforts, rooted in civil society, building networks and sharing experiences. It should go without saying that our partners in this project risk their lives everyday as they seek to encounter alternative visions of society in countries still emerging from conflict. Our project will support them and make them better able to withstand the challenges they confront in their work and in their lives.

The project will map, systematize, and disseminate relevant methodological practicesused in local initiatives aimed at unearthing alternative stories of marginalized victims of war, for example through sharing the work of the prize-winning Ruta Pacífica NGO (

We will invite representatives of seven projects from Colombia and seven projects from Peru to a Peace Festival which we will organize in Cartagena de Indias in mid-2017. In so doing we will build a space for knowledge exchange and networking between local practitioners who have been on the front line of the peace moment, for example the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó (, in order to understand the potential of local and critical narratives in the construction of peace and reconciliation.

Edit this page