Communication in the multilingual city

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TLANG is delighted to invite proposals for its final two day international conference to be held in Birmingham, UK. The conference fee is £150.

This international cross disciplinary conference is focused on the theme of communication in the city. We will create conversations which transcend disciplinary boundaries, and assist in thinking creatively about communication in metropolitan settings. We aim to promote discussion of research findings and methodologies between a range of stakeholders including academics, professionals, policy-makers, and practitioners.  British Sign Language and International Sign interpretation will be organised for all main sessions and at least one of the parallel sessions. The names of the interpreters will be announced shortly.  

We welcome proposals for individual papers and colloquia related to the following themes:

1. Mobility

Presentations in this theme will consider the dynamics and complexity of communication in superdiverse societies where people from an increased number of territories come into contact, and where people have access to an increased range of resources for communication. Presentations considering implications for communication of movement from and to cities are welcome.

2. Change

In this theme presentations will explore communication in changing cities. Presentations will engage with changing city landscapes, changing demographics, and changing modes of communication. Presentations may refer to the implications of change for communication in institutional contexts, including education, law, and business, and in non-institutional, informal contexts.

3. Interpretation

This theme addresses communicative exchanges which include, or refer to, any aspect of interpretation and translation, broadly conceived. Examples of such exchanges may include asylum interviews, sign language interpretation, and text translation. We also welcome presentations which consider miscommunication, and presentations which refer to cultural translation.

4. Encounters

This theme explores communication in encounters between people in the city. These may include, for example, service encounters in markets, interactions in welfare benefits settings, and exchanges in contexts of teaching and learning. We welcome presentations which refer to encounters which include translanguaging, multilingualism, multimodality and complex semiotic repertoires.

5. Creativity

This theme contemplates creativity across a broad range of formal and non-formal communicative arenas. We welcome presentations which take creativity as a starting point to explore communicative competence in everyday contexts of linguistic and social diversity.

6. Networks

This theme takes networks as its focus. Presentations may consider notions of community, place, and neighbourhood, in discussions of communication in local, national, and global networks. We are interested in studies of digital communication, and welcome presentations which refer to social media and other online networks. 


Proposals are invited for individual papers, colloquia, posters, and roundtable discussions. In addition to academic presentations, artistic presentations based on research related to the conference themes are also welcome. The deadline for proposal submission is midnight on 6th October 2017.  Decisions on successful applications will be announced in late-November. 

Contribution types

We invite proposals for individual presentations (including artistic presentations), colloquia, posters, and roundtable discussions. Artistic presentations may include (but are not limited to) theatre, dance, poetry, visual arts, and music. These presentations should be based on research, and should be related to the conference themes.   

Proposals should be submitted in one of the following categories: individual presentation, colloquium, poster, or roundtable. Proposals for artistic presentations may be submitted as individual presentations, or as contributions to colloquia, and must adhere to allocated time specifications.

Each presentation room will be provided with a computer, and audio-visual facilities.  

International Sign Language and British Sign Language interpreters will interpret during the conference.  They will cover keynote talks and all of the sessions in one parallel strand.  

Please submit your abstract online. When submitting you will need to indicate which theme best fits your proposal. 

Submission of Proposals 

Please state clearly whether your proposal is for an individual presentation (including artistic presentations), a colloquium, a poster, or a roundtable.

Individual presentations: (300 word abstract) These are presentations, by one or more author, which report original research. Presentations will be of twenty minutes, followed by five minutes for discussion.

Posters: (300 word abstract) Poster presentations will provide a focus for informal discussion of research. Poster sessions will run during lunch on both days of the conference.

Colloquia: Colloquia allow for more than one presentation on a common topic.  Colloquium organisers must state the duration of each presentation. The colloquium is allocated 90 minutes, and should allow time for discussion. The colloquium organiser is responsible for submission of the proposal, and for communication with presenters and discussants. A colloquium may include artistic presentations. Colloquium organisers should submit:

Colloquium title and abstract (300 words)

The name of each presenter and discussant in the colloquium (300 words abstract for each presentation)

The title, abstract, and duration of each presentation in the colloquium  

Roundtable discussions: (300 words) Roundtable discussions offer an opportunity for in-depth discussion of a specific topic. These sessions will include named participants, and will encourage participation of conference delegates. They will not necessarily include formal presentations.

Roundtable sessions are allocated 90 minutes.

The roundtable convenor should submit the title and abstract of the roundtable, and a list of named participants. 

Individuals may make no more than one presentation as first author. First authors are expected to present the research bearing their name, but all authors are encouraged to share in the presentation of co-authored research. An individual may take on an additional role as a colloquium organiser or discussant.  An individual may also appear as a co-author/co-presenter of a second paper, provided they are not first author. Presenters who know that they cannot attend the conference are asked to withdraw their proposal as soon as possible to give another presenter a place on the programme.

The author’s confirmation of attendance signifies that the author will present the paper on the day and time assigned by the conference programme committee. The committee is unable to consider requests for a specific time slot.