Translation as a creative practice in contexts of crisis

An event from the University of Roehampton and the European Commission Representation in the UK

Friday 26 May 2017, 10:00 – 18:00

Europe House

32, Smith Square



This one-day event will explore how translation is used as a creative and artistic tool in order to cope with situations of crisis. The past years have witnessed extensive social and political unrest, economic turmoil and mass migration, giving rise to collective experiences of conflict and dislocation, and sometimes empowerment and emancipation, that have affected the lives of millions. These experiences are often recounted against the normative background of English as lingua franca using the dynamic of translation in various formats, such as interviews, narratives, cultural texts and visuals, video diaries and blogs. In these non-fictional texts, translation transcends its representational function, incorporating creative and politically meaningful practices of re-narration, re-enactment, self-translation, adaptation and intercultural communication, often in the form of digital and audiovisual media. Whether prompted by a need to articulate subjective experience in dominant idioms, to advocate new causes on international platforms, or to develop new media and art forms that challenge given orders of cultural transmission and exchange, translation is increasingly present in affective, pro-active and/or critical responses to situations of crisis.

This event will bring together: i) artists, filmmakers and journalists who have performed or used translation as a creative practice in their work; ii) professional and/or non-professional translators whose work relates to contexts of crisis; iii) academics who are studying creative uses of translation in socially/politically engaged contexts.

Participants from various backgrounds will be invited to show extracts of their work and to discuss ways in which translation has been instrumental to their vision. The conference will instigate new ways of thinking about the social role of translation and will also help decipher the lingua-cultural complexities involved in contemporary responses to situations of crisis.

For further details and to register for this free event, please visit