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Distinguished Speaker 2023: Prof Alison Phipps

research talks
Monday 24 April 2023, 16:00-18:00
Clothworkers South Building LT 2 (3.04) AND LIVE STREAMED

Languaged in Place: People; Pēpēhā and the resources of Peace

Professor Alison Phipps

As a second decolonial turn is taken in the wake of #BlackLivesMatters, the reappraisal of the histories of the British Empire languages and their propagations are called to account.

In this lecture I will consider the myriad ways in which the challenges of decoloniality – past and present – affect the work of researching, learning and teaching languages. Presenting and developing the work I undertook in Decolonising Multilingualism: Struggles to Decreate -  and continued in several key contributions on place, epistemology and methodology -  I will offer some tentative suggestions regarding the potential ways languages can deal with the aporia created by institutionalised complicity and radical potential for change. Through a range of examples drawn from projects worldwide; from UNESCO’s work in the Decade of Indigenous Languages; and from my own language – ‘pēpēhā’ or ancestry (as taught and permitted by Dr Piki Diamond) – I will both describe and analyse some of the ways in which the necessary decreation that de-destituting language practices engenders might be engaged.

Throughout I will look to the ways in which languages are implicated in the common tasks of enabling environments for peace.

I will offer resources for developing a praise poem to languages which place us, make us and change us, using work developed in the UNESCO RILA Chair by Tawona Sitholé (with permission).

The talk will be followed by a round-table discussion with local experts, including:

The event will be live-streamed.  Further information will be provided nearer the time.

Please register via EventBrite to attend.


Alison Phipps is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies UNESCO  Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts (Culture, Literacies, Inclusion & Pedagogy). She is based in School of Education at the University of Glasgow where she uses creative, decolonising and restorative methods to teach widely in refugee studies, critical multilingual studies, religious and spiritual education, anthropology and intercultural education and education for non-violence. She was Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET) from 2009 -2019.

In 2019 she was appointed DeCarle Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Otago University /te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo. In 2017 she was appointed Adjunct Professor of Hospitality and Tourism at Auckland University of Technology /Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau. In 2016 she was appointed ‘Thinker in Residence’ at the EU Hawke Centre at University of South Australia. She was the Inaugural Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Waikato /te Whare Wananga o Waikato Aotearoa New Zealand in 2013, and in 2014 Adjunct Professor of Tourism and hospitality.

In 2011 she was voted ‘Best College Teacher’ by the student body and received the Universities ‘Teaching Excellence Award’ for a Career Distinguished by Excellence. In 2012 she received an OBE for Services to Education and Intercultural and Interreligious Relations in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Scences.

Alison chairs the New Scots Core Group for Refugee Integration in partnerhsip with Scottish Government, COSLA and Scottish Refugee Council; She Co-chaired the The AHRC Global Challenge Research Fund Advisory Board and she is an Ambassador for the Scottish Refugee Council. She has served on the boards of the University of London in Paris, and The Royal Society of Edinburgh's International Committee.

She is author of numerous academic books and articles and a regular international keynote speaker and broadcaster. She make regular broadcast media appearances and has a regular column in the national Scottish broadsheet press. Her first collection of poetry, Through Wood  was published in 2009, with a further collection - The Warriors who do not Fight forthcoming in 2018, with co-author Tawona Sitholé.

She has published widely in the arts, humanities and social sciences, most notably in the field of language studies, theatre, performance studies, creative methods and ethics, refugee studies, tourism and hospitality, intercultural studies and European anthropology as well as in the field of higher education studies. She co-edits the book series Tourism and Cultural Change and the book series Languages, Intercultural Communication and Education and is on the editorial board of both Language and Intercultural CommunicationCritical Multilingualism Studies, and Hospitality and Society.