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H2020

ENGHUM Report Summary

Project ID: 692199
Funded under: H2020-EU.4.b.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ENGHUM (Engaged humanities in Europe: Capacity building for participatory research in linguistic-cultural heritage)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Twinning Project Engaged humanities in Europe: Capacity building for participatory research in linguistic-cultural heritage (ENGHUM) aims at strengthening scientific and innovation capacity as well as social impact of the Faculty of "Artes Liberales" of the University of Warsaw in the field of participatory action research in linguistic-cultural heritage and revitalization of endangered languages. It is carried out through a set of knowledge transfer, training, promotion, coordination and support activities with the Department of Linguistics of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) and Leiden University’s Centre for Linguistics (Faculty of Humanities) and Department of Archaeological Heritage (Faculty of Archaeology). The assumptions behind the project reflect the need for a holistic and problem-oriented (not disciplinary-limited) approach to both theoretical and applied issues in the study of language, culture and society. An essential goal also includes finding solutions for bridging collaboration and knowledge-transfer gaps between academics, members of local communities/ethnic minorities and non-academic organizations.

Support for minority languages is crucial for multicultural development in Europe and elsewhere; research institutions should play an active role in such support. The ENGHUM project aims at constructing a collaborative network buttressing community-based programs of language revitalization and providing extensive capacity-building, both for researchers and for members of minority ethnic groups, including activists, teachers, social workers and indigenous researchers. An essential framework for our project is participatory action research and community-based participatory research, based on direct participation of language communities as stakeholders and partners in research projects. The capacity-building we are developing includes investigation and training in: (1) transdisciplinary studies on language and culture, (2) formulation of language policy and language attitudes, (3) promotion of multilingualism, and (4) development of practical and theoretical strategies for revitalization, including curricula and methodologies for teaching minority languages. To achieve this we have designed and are running an integrated program of summer schools, fields schools, and workshops, all of which involve researchers, students, language activists, and representatives of numerous minority ethnic groups struggling to preserve their languages, including Wymysorys, Lemko, Kashubian (Poland), Manx (Isle of Man), Guernesias (Guernsey), and Nahuatl, Mixtec and Ayuuk (Mexico). This paper reports our results to date and outlines plans for future developments.

Our "Engaged humanities" approach area embraces many forms of participatory action research (PAR)–closely related to the notion of community-based participatory research (CBPR)–based on direct participation of language communities/ethnic groups as stakeholders and partners in specific research projects. This is a partnership-based approach in which community members, local researchers/teachers/activists and organizations participate in all steps and aspects of the research process, sharing their values, networks, tools and viewpoints and making it possible to combine external and internal perspectives.

Our project attempts to create new spaces for marginalized groups in Europe and beyond, such as the members of language communities, to research themselves. The community members will be positioned as the driving force behind all research activities they choose to pursue in partnership with our academic institutions and fully recognized as knowledge holders and knowledge creators. This paradigm reaches beyond the notion of "communities of inquiry".

Another goal is to facilitate a networking space for diverse societal sectors to build partnerships and discuss solutions for sustainable, holistic, multilevel community development through language and culture.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first 13 months of the project were very intense and fruitful. The consortium planned, organized and carried out the following main activities:

2016
7-8.03.2016 Workshop in Warsaw: Capacity building in methodology and theory of transdisciplinary research on cultural and linguistic heritage;
23-24.05.2016 Workshop in Warsaw: Teaching minority languages, methodology and curriculum development. Practical applications, understanding societal and cultural challenges;
14-21.06.2016 Summer School London;
18-28.09.2016 Field School in Wilamowice;
19-21.12.2016 Workshop in Warsaw: Engaged Humanities in practice. Community-based language documentation, support and revitalization.

2017
18.02.2017 Mother Tongue Day in Wilamowice (Wilamowice Field School follow-up event and workshop for the project’s participants);
27-29.03.2017 Workshop in Warsaw: Developing practical skills for transforming documentation into multi-dimensional materials for transdisciplinary humanistic research.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected impact of ENGHUM project:

- Fostering effective cooperation between academia and society.
- Raising the effectiveness of research and innovation in direct response to key societal challenges related to linguistic and minority groups’ rights, linguistic-cultural diversity and language policies, by means of preserving, extending and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity and its benefits and by setting responsibilities for academia in the research within the social sciences and humanities.
- Mobilizing documentary materials in teaching, revitalization activities and community-oriented programs.
- Raising awareness of the implications of such issues as language endangerment, historical trauma, discrimination, low health indices and suicide rates linked to language and culture loss.
- Providing useful solutions and know-how for European communities and multi-language European heritage.
- Connecting linguistic-cultural revitalization to positive economic impact and sustained development of local communities.
- Constructing bridges between academy, ethnic/linguistic minorities, discriminated social groups, non-academic organizations and institutions organizing social life (educational institutions, organizations and state institutions dealing with immigration and ethnic issues).

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