International Mother Language Day 2022

Creative Manchester recently held a series of events to mark UNESCO IMLD 2022, exploring and celebrating linguistic diversity and looking at the challenges faced by heritage language practitioners.

This is the fifth year that International Mother Language Day has been celebrated in Manchester, with a wide programme of events curated by Manchester City of Literature taking place across the city.

Kathputli Utsav_UoM

There were four events in total that tied into Creative Manchester’s research theme of Creative and Civic Futures. All were wonderfully received, with attendees finding each to be interesting and educational. The events, in partnership with the Linguistic Diversity Collective (Department of Linguistics and English Language) and the Humanitarian Conflict Response Insititute, were as follows:

Mother language(s) from My Field Site
Staff and student fieldworkers presented video recordings and photos from their field sites, followed by a discussion of the sociolinguistic setting in which children learn to speak their mother language(s). One attendee said:

‘Thank you for the opportunity to learn about such interesting field studies – this was such an enriching experience!’

(Heritage) Language Learning during and after a Global Pandemic: A Virtual Roundtable Discussion
A virtual roundtable discussion on the challenges and opportunities of (heritage) language learning during a global pandemic. The engaging panel included supplementary school teachers and other practitioners sharing their experiences of adapting and exploring a different approach to teaching and learning following the COVID-19 outbreak. Attendees said:

‘Thank you very much for organizing this session and to all the panellists, thanks for sharing your experiences: very engaged and brave people!’

‘Great to hear so many encouraging stories of resilience and optimism – thank you to all panellists.’

‘I agree with others’ comments - the level of resilience reported this evening is inspiring and brings a lot of hope for the future of these activities.’

Explore Your Own Language – Talking about Time and Space
This online activity actively involved speakers of different ages and proficiencies of languages spoken in Manchester. The audience took part in polls and discussions around their own use of language when talking about time and space. One attendee said:

‘Thank you all, very interesting discussion!’

Kathputli Utsav - A Festival of Traditional Indian Arts
This event took place on 23 February in partnership with the Humanitarian Conflict Resolution Institute and The University of Manchester’s Social Responsibility Fund. The event showcases the skill, talent and culture of the Kathputli Colony from New Delhi, India - the largest community of street performers in the world. A film of the performers – featuring puppeteers, dancers and musicians – is followed by a panel discussion including Ruth Daniel (CEO, Artistic Director, ‘In Place of War’), Vijay Maitri (community leader and theatre artiste) and Dr Simon Parry (senior lecturer in Drama and Arts Management).

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