School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics & Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies

Creative Multilingualism in World Literatures


Creative Multilingualism in World Literatures is Strand 5 of the AHCR Open World Research Initiative-funded project on Creative Multilingualism.

The research is being conducted in the context of an unprecedented crisis in language learning in UK schools, which is in turn undermining the health of Modern Languages departments in universities. The crisis has many causes, but the bigger picture is globalisation and the gradual rise of English. Native English speakers can now travel anywhere in the world and rely on getting by fairly comfortably with the global lingua franca in the main tourist centres. And the internet gives us the illusion that the world now speaks English. So the most obvious incentive for learning another language has disappeared over the last few decades.

This strand explores multilingualism’s revolutionary potential and creative force in language, literature, thought and the visual arts. Using the modern period (from the long nineteenth century to the twenty-first century) as the temporal framework, it examines the flowering of multilingualism inherent in a single linguistic system and one regional cultural complex, and the impact of this on linguistic, literary and cultural creativity. Creative multilingualism, conceived as the novel ways of thinking engendered in imaginative works emerging from engagement with more than one language, will inform new ways of thinking and writing about the creative impetus, underpinning any form of multilingualism and about its role in literary innovation in world literatures.


Strand partners