Tag: UCMLS

New Semester

It’s already the end of our first week of the new semester here at Stirling so time for a quick round-up of our news. It’s been a busy little run up to the start of teaching here: new colleagues, great First Year numbers and those starting in our Advanced stream have been benefiting from our Bridging Materials, French at Stirling has been rated No.3 in Scotland and in the top 20 in the UK by the 2019 Complete University Guide… A period of great change and excitement!

Where to start? ‘New colleagues’ seems a good place. Beatrice Ivey, Research Assistant on Fiona Barclay’s AHRC Leadership project, is now in Stirling and settling into Divisional life. She and Fiona are working on the organisation of the exhibition that forms part of the project, more on which soon. We’ve also welcomed Emeline Morin who has joined us as a Lecturer in French for the next two years. Emeline’s research interests lie in comparative literature and fairytales and she’s teaching with us across a wide range of courses.

Alongside Emeline, two other new lecturers will be joining us over the months ahead. Aedín ní Loingsigh will be starting in October, with Hannah Grayson taking up her post in January. Hannah’s recent work has been on the Rwandan Stories of Change project at St Andrews. Much as we were sad to see Bill Marshall retire, it’s great to get a chance to welcome a fantastic group of new colleagues and we’re looking forward to working with them. We’ve also got some new faces among the Teaching Assistants who work as part of our Language team (with Language Coordinator, Jean-Michel DesJacques, Mathilde Mazau and Brigitte Depret): Fanny Lacôte and Fraser McQueen who have taught with us before are joined by Aurélie Noël who has previously taught at the University of Glasgow.

2018 Hornberger VIIAs ever, the start of the new semester also means welcoming back our students. Our finalists are back from their Semester Abroad (in France, Quebec, Morocco, Switzerland… or Hispanophone destinations for those doing French and Spanish) and our Year 3 students are about to start the process to select their destination for their Semester Abroad. With that in mind, Jean-Michel DesJacques, Jose Ferreira-Cayuela and Cristina Johnston are organising their annual get-together at the end of September that gives all those students a chance to meet over wine and nibbles to talk about Study Abroad and to exchange questions and tips. All the University’s incoming exchange students from French or Spanish-speaking partner institutions are also invited and it’s a great chance for the different groups of students to get to know each other.

2018 Nicolas Masdorp Pic I

Some of those incoming French-language exchange students are also currently being recruited to lead informal conversation sessions for students in a range of year groups, to offer a further opportunity for spoken language practice beyond the weekly tuition offered by our Language team.

And, of course, we have a great cohort of Year 2 students, many of whom will be applying for English Language Assistantships over the course of this year (welcome back to those who were ELAs last year!). For the first half of our second year, we run an Intermediate class for those who started as complete beginners with us in Year 1 and it’s great to see that numbers on that module are even higher than last year.

Finalists back from Semester Abroad, Year 3 students planning time abroad, students settling into Year 2 and good numbers of Year 1 students which is fantastic to see. Those on the Advanced stream – taking French with a wide range of other subjects – have been working their way through the Bridging Materials that we put together for incoming students each year, to help smooth the transition from secondary school language study to University-level language learning. And those on our Beginners’ stream are about to plunge into the intensive programme of language learning that will introduce them to French and build their confidence and ability as the weeks progress.

A great group of undergraduates and an enthusiastic intake of students on the French stream of our Translation and Translation with TESOL programmes who will work under the guidance of French at Stirling staff on their translation portfolios and, ultimately, on their dissertation projects. It’s been particularly nice to see some familiar faces on those programmes with recent graduates returning to undertake postgrad work with us (as well as across other TPG programmes at Stirling, of course).

As in previous years, we’ll be posting profiles of our students regularly, partly to catch up with those who’ve written for us before and to get a sense of how their studies are progressing, and partly to introduce you to some of our new Year 1 intake, so keep an eye on these pages!

2018 FFF Logo

As for French at Stirling colleagues, lots of news to report there, too. Fiona Barclay, Beatrice Ivey and Cristina Johnston are in discussions with the MacRobert’s film programmer, Grahame Reid, to finalise a programme of French Film Festival screenings that will take place at the MacRobert later in the semester. Details to follow but expect some great new French-language films! (It’s not directly French-related but do also check out Grahame’s Central Scotland Documentary Festival at the MacRobert from 4-8 October – a fantastic programme of documentaries lies ahead!) And on another film-related note, David Murphy will be involved with the Africa in Motion festival in November – more on which soon…

2018 Cent Scot Docu Fest

2018 AiM Logo

 

 

 

 

Aedín ní Loingsigh will be participating in a workpshop on Interdisciplinarity at the Université de Limoges in December and Elizabeth Ezra gave a paper in June at the Contemporary Childhood Conference at the University of Strathclyde examining the witch-familiar relationships in Harry Potter and His Dark Materials. Elizabeth has also just signed a contract for a book, co-edited with Catherine Wheatley of KCL entitled Shoe Reels: The History and Philosophy of Footwear in Film, which will be published by EUP in 2020. And with her non-academic hat on, Elizabeth will be talking about her children’s book Ruby McCracken at the Wigtown Book Festival later this month.

2018 Ruby McCracken

This weekend, while staff and students from French and Spanish are talking to prospective students at Stirling University’s Open Day (15 September – come and see us!), Jean-Michel DesJacques is off to Dundee where he’ll be taking part in the 25th Anniversary Conference UCML Scotland​: Looking inward and outward. Jean-Michel will be meeting actors from all education sectors from Primary to higher education. The 1+2 language initiative will be high on the agenda but not exclusively since challenges and issues in languages are multiple and complex.

And our Phd student Fraser McQueen has been presenting his work across a range of conferences since the Spring, including the ASMCF Postgraduate Study Day at the IMLR (where he spoke about Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in France), the Society for French Studies Postgraduate Study day at UCL (with a paper on female radicalisation fiction), Stirling’s own annual Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Research Conference and the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies Postgraduate Study Day at Birmingham. Fraser also co-organised the SGSAH Second Year PG Symposium in Glasgow in June and presented his own work there, too.

There is much, much more that we could include here but that seems a good taste of what’s going on to start things off this semester. More to follow over the weeks ahead! In the meantime, many thanks to the students whose photos from last semester abroad have made their way into this post and bon weekend!

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To 2020 and Beyond for Scotland’s 1+2 Language Policy: Action Plan Launch

This blog post should have been part of last Friday’s updates on what French at Stirling has been up to over the past month or so but, somehow, slipped through the net. Our Language Coordinator, Jean-Michel DesJacques, who is also Stirling’s representative at the UCMLS, attended the launch of the action plan on Scotland’s 1+2 Language Policy a couple of weeks ago and has very kindly found the time to send us this report on the event.

“Taking place just before the Language Show in Glasgow, this was an opportunity for stakeholders across all sectors of education to share their views on the progress made regarding the 1+2 Language Policy.

If you remember, in 2011, the current government launched its 1+2 language policy and stated its commitment to “create the conditions in which every child [in Scotland] will learn two languages in addition to their own mother tongue” over the course of two parliaments or ten years (SNP Manifesto, 2011). Later, the Scottish Government recognised the role that the HE sector could play and stated that it was for the universities themselves to decide on their contribution.

In response to the above, the Scottish branch of the University Council for Modern Languages in Scotland (UCMLS), which represents the interests of university staff working in modern languages, linguistics, cultural and area studies, has committed part of its work since 2013 to supporting the Government’s efforts to implement the 1+2 language policy through a range of cross-sector initiatives, in some of which the University of Stirling is involved such as Student Ambassadors Scheme and the Language Learning, Global Teaching initiative with SCILT.

2017 Glasgow City Chambers March JMDOn Friday 10 March, in the beautiful surroundings of the Glasgow City Chambers, UCMLS launched its action plan after months of consultation with all sectors.  It was an opportunity for all to contribute to and comment on our Action Plan proposals which we will review at yearly intervals.

After some helpful reminders from various colleagues, notably our Chair, Dr. Marion Spöring, on how we got to where we are now, we split into smaller groups for discussion.  There are of course many issues still to be addressed but teacher training seemed to be at the centre of the preoccupations.  I was pleased to note to my discussion group that at Stirling, provisions were in place to train and indeed produce teachers that do not simply meet any minimum requirement.  Au contraire, they are part of our language section just like any other students doing a combined degree, let’s say in French and Politics or Sociology and Spanish.

I am not going to list all the recommendations that were made but in the end, it was good to see so many people dedicated to the provision of languages in Scotland, particularly in a very difficult climate.  I will, however, single out one of them because I strongly believe in the relevance of languages and it is a pity that languages have been left out:  To lobby for a move from STEM to MELTS.  I see no reason why languages should not be included.”

Let the lobbying start here! Many thanks to Jean-Michel for taking the time to send us this post.

1+2 Language Policy Conference

2016-jmd-pictureOur Language Coordinator Jean-Michel DesJacques serves as Stirling’s representative on the University Council of Modern Languages (UCMLS) and recently attend a conference on the 1+2 Language Policy in Dundee on which he has sent us the following report.:

“First I would first to thank the Chair, Marion Spöring, for her excellent organisation of the event.  It kicked off with 4 keynote speakers from various backgrounds which illustrated the success and challenges of language learning.  We learned from Thomas Hulvershorn from Outplay Ltd. based in Dundee that you never know where learning a language can take you.  In his case, designing computer games with the help of multilingual technicians whose expertise in the language and culture is key to success.  If you ever played Angry Birds in a foreign language, it is partly thanks to them.  This was followed by Do Coyle from Aberdeen University who gave a very good insight of “where are we right now?” regarding the impact of the 1+2 Language policy and its implications on education programmes and the HE sector in general.  Then we had the point of view of the local authorities.  Sometimes we do need to be reminded of the financial implications and the importance of dealing with day to day issues in schools.

In the discussion groups, it was fascinating to hear and share the views from all sectors of education and to see how we can support each other.  There is still so much to be done especially on how to make languages more relevant.  I know, the research is there for all to see, the impact of a good knowledge of foreign cultures on the economy is very well documented but simple things such as:  convincing parents to let their children continue with languages especially in deprived areas; making sure primary teachers get the right training to give them confidence; gaining the support of your head of school to invest in languages; etc.

The attempt was really to look at how we can generate ideas for a cross-sector action plan in support of the 1+2 implimentation by 2020.  The idea is to finalise discussion at local level, this is why the next hub-meeting from the central region will be held at Stirling on Thursday 22 September, 5-6.30pm.  Do get in touch if you wish to attend.”

French at Stirling News Round-Up

Another new semester is well underway with lots of French-related news to report…

Welcome, first and foremost, to our new intake of Year 1 students – whether you’re starting from our ‘Advanced’ stream or in our Beginners’ classes, whether you’re here to study French with Human Resource Management or Education, with Spanish or Mathematics, with English or with Business Studies, welcome to Stirling! And a particular welcome to those of you here as part of our double degree partnership in International Management and Intercultural Studies with the University of Passau – we hope you enjoy your year in Scotland!

On the staff front, following the retirement of our former Language Assistant Bernadette Corbett, we’re delighted to welcome Mathilde Mazau to French at Stirling. Mathilde previously worked at the University of Glasgow and will be teaching spoken and written language classes across all years of our undergraduate programmes, working alongside Brigitte Depret.

And welcome back, of course, to our Year 4 students returning from Study Abroad, readjusting to life in Stirling after a semester at Sciences Po in Paris, in Perpignan, Limoges, Clermont-Ferrand or elsewhere, and to Year 3 students coming back after a year on the British Council’s English Language Assistantship scheme! As ever, a new group of Stirling students are about to embark on a year as English Language Assistants as part of the British Council-run scheme so best of luck to them and we look forward to hearing about your year when you come back. We’ve also got around 20 students waiting to find out in the next week where they’ll be spending their Semester Abroad in Spring 2016…

Following on from an extremely interesting workshop organised by our Language Coordinator Jean-Michel DesJacques and led by Petra McLay of SCILT focusing on the transition from Higher French to University French just before the start of semester, we have a whole range of French-related events to look out for over the coming weeks and months.

The Africa in Motion Film Festival – founded by former French at Stirling PhD student, Lizelle Bisschoff – celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and the packed programme of events (screenings, exhibitions, concerts and much more) can be found here.

As part of the Division of Literature and Languages’ regular research seminar series, we’re particularly looking forward to two papers by colleagues from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Glasgow later in the semester. Ed Welch (Aberdeen) will be giving a talk entitled ‘Image, Imagination and Power: Visualising Urban Futures in Post-war France’ on 25 November and Jackie Clarke (Glasgow) will give a paper entitled ‘Consumer Culture in Post-war France’ on 2 December.

And our own Bill Marshall will be giving a paper on 21 October on ‘The Uses of Prehistory’, developing work he conducted during his recent research leave, a project for which he has also been awarded funding via a British Academy Small Research Grant with a Stirling workshop coming up over the next few months. Bill’s success as one of the joint recipients of the Prix du Québec from the British Association of Canadian Studies will also enable him to go to Montreal in early 2016 to conduct research for an edited book on Quebec Cinema: Texts and Contexts, and on Quebec bande dessinée for an article on images in that medium of the First French Empire.

French Programme Director Cristina Johnston and her Spanish counterpart, Ann Davies, have been successfully awarded Cohort Development Funding by the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities for a series of workshops aimed at Modern Languages PhD students on ‘Writing for an Interdisciplinary Audience’. The workshops will take place at the Universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews, Stirling and Glasgow, involving colleagues from all those partner institutions. More details will follow in due course.

Stirling staff remain as active as ever in giving papers and keynotes at various locations throughout the UK and well beyond. David Murphy is giving a seminar on ‘The Performance of Pan-Africanism’ at the University of Edinburgh in November 2015 and Bill Marshall will be delivering a keynote lecture at the World Cinema and Television in French conference at the University of Cincinnati in September 2016. Bill will also be giving the annual Christianson Lecture at University of Bristol in March 2016. Elizabeth Ezra will be introducing and leading a discussion with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet at St Andrews University in October 2015 and has been invited to give a talk in November at the University of Aberdeen on her forthcoming book, The Cinema of Things. And Jean-Michel DesJacques continues to represent Stirling at regular UCMLS meetings throughout the year.

Following the successful EIAE Conference in Glasgow earlier this month, we’re also continuing to look at our range of Study Abroad partner institutions with a view to expanding our network. In this context, we were delighted to welcome colleagues from the Ecole de Management de Strasbourg to our campus, as well as colleagues from our partners ESSEC at Cergy and the Ecole de Gouvernance et d’Economie in Rabat and we’re looking forward to welcoming Annie Birks (Université Catholique de l’Ouest) in October to give a paper to our Translation students.

We’re also really looking forward to finding out more about our students’ French Society events for the coming year and will be posting more about them over the weeks and months ahead. And there’ll be plenty of events organised for French students coming up too, including a get-together for future and returning Study Abroad students from Stirling as well as visiting French and Francophone exchange students, and an employability event organised by Frances Sessford from Publishing Studies with a range of participants talking about what to do with a degree in Languages.

And last but not least, on the teaching front, we’ve got option modules running this year in French Crime Fiction, Quebec Cinema, The French Atlantic Slave Trade and the Cinema of the Fantastic and, for the first time, we’re offering an option module in Translation Theory at Honours level. French at Stirling staff will also be contributing teaching to a range of Stirling TPG courses including Translation Studies, Translation with TESOL, Gender Studies and our Film Studies programme.

Lots more news and updates to follow!