Our teaching, research and outreach strands take inspiration from current issues raised by practitioners and communities, who strive to ensure equality of access to services as well as the maintenance of Manchester’s rich array of home languages. We work with local government, healthcare providers, police and emergency services, schools and community initiatives to co-design research and to share good practice.
Language policy and practice
We study policy responses to language diversity in a globalised urban environment. Communities, services and local government all reflect and respond to growing diversity. While the city’s civic identity draws strongly on a multicultural ‘brand’, our research finds that policy responses are local, institution-based and responsive to needs. Cultivation of language skills is community-based: we promote these skills as a community asset, and examine their contribution to the city’s growth.
Evaluating interpreting and translation provision
Working in partnership with local authorities, key service providers, and voluntary sector organisations, we examine translation and interpreting in public services. We investigate interpreter-assisted service delivery, service user experiences and critically test common, monolingualist assumptions that interpreting and translation provision encourage migrant dependence on such services, hindering cross-community integration and national cohesion.
Dynamic language repertoires
Our researchers engage in describing the language repertoires of Manchester’s residents. We study the dynamics of these repertoires, and explore the role that languages play in residents’ lives. Our research looks at the changes in language practices and structures that emerge from increased mobility and migration, and an interweaving web of diversity.
Students are an integral part of our work. They contribute to research and outreach activities. Multilingual Manchester has created the world’s largest online archive of research reports authored entirely by undergraduate students. The reports can be viewed here.