[CFP] The Languages of Covid-19: Implications for Global Healthcare

The Languages of Covid-19: Implications for Global Healthcare

14 September 2020, 11.00pm – 11.59pm
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Call for Participation: submission by 14 September 2020
Online Workshops followed by Conference on 21-22 June 2021 
This British Academy-funded project examines the role that modern languages and translation studies can play in revealing new ways of thinking about and communicating Covid-19. Focusing on the language used in multilingual healthcare settings, international public health campaigns and by patients across the globe, the project analyses what new facets or understandings of the disease might be revealed by a linguistic and cultural encounter with non-anglophone languages and societies. The project is formed of three connecting strands. Strand 1 will focus on Covid-19 healthcare delivery in non-anglophone medical settings in the UK and overseas. Drawing on the experience of practitioners and academic research, it will ask how translation and interpreting, far from leading to a ‘loss’ of information, may generate new epistemes on Covid-19. This strand may also include examinations of the language used by medical practitioners that reflect on the value of linguistic diversity in patient healthcare. 

Strand 2 will examine the language used by politicians and policy makers from across the world to articulate Covid-19. It will discuss the prophylactic language used in governmental public health messages and campaigns by cultural figures (e.g. musicians) in non-anglophone countries, asking how these differ from trends in the anglophone world. It will also consider public health messages in signed languages and what light these shed on understandings of Covid-19. 

Strand 3 will consider the language used to describe Covid-19 by non-anglophone patients who have contracted the disease. It will draw on a range of first-person patient accounts and languages of Covid-19, including blogs, documentaries, articles, social media posts and short stories, asking how a more multilingual, multi-generic, multimedia appreciation of ‘the patient’s story’ might enhance our understanding of the disease.

A conference bringing together all participants will be held at the IMLR in London on 21-22 June 2021. The Keynote Speaker will be Professor Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool and AHRC Theme Leadership Fellow, ‘Translating Cultures’).
Proposals of c. 250 words outlining a contribution to the issues to be considered in one of the three strands (please indicate which) should be emailed to the organisers, Dr Steven Wilson (steven.wilson@qub.ac.uk) and Dr Piotr Blumczynski (p.blumczynski@qub.ac.uk), by Monday 14th September 2020. There will be a publication resulting from this project.

Participants must be free to take part in their respective online workshop and the conference (21-22 June 2021). 

Dates for the workshops (all 14:00-16:00 BST): 
Strand 1 – Friday 29th January 2021 
Strand 2 – Friday 12th February 2021 
Strand 3 – Friday 26th February 2021

Cathy Collins
+44 020 7862 8738