Reimagining Linguistic Ethnographic Research is a series of four digital artworks created from research carried out on the Leeds case study of the Translation and Translanguaging: Investigating Linguistic and Cultural Transformations in Superdiverse Wards in Four UK Cities (TLANG) project.
The TLANG working papers document the research of the four city case studies across the four years of the TLANG research project. For the Leeds case study, the research focused on areas of the inner city and sites where people came together for legal advice, to access advocacy services, to develop enterprises and to play sports.
As the research developed, it extended towards the visual and towards the arts in particular. I worked with the team to create a series of digital collages responding to the case study data and the analysis presented in the Leeds working papers.
The works were created using a process of collection, analysis and synthesis, which in some ways mirrored the TLANG research methodology itself. I worked with ethnographic data collected by the team, including photographs of the research sites and surrounding areas, flyers, posters, fieldnotes and diagrams, social media data and transcripts of interactional data. The core concepts of translation and translanguaging were foregrounded through attention to multilingual practices. I also used significant motifs from the data, for example musical instruments from the capoeira sessions, which did not appear visually in the research. Visual tools, such as maps, were used to represent migration trajectories and boundaries of the research sites.
The process of creating the artworks emerged through close engagement with the data and materials associated with the project and through interaction with the research team over a period of a few months. Working in this way enabled us to find commonalities between artistic practice and ethnographic research and also highlighted the productive tensions between aesthetic and communicative strategies.
The artworks explore research relating to themes of Business, Heritage, Sport and Law.
The Business phase artwork responds to the locations where the research took place, and includes diagrams made by the research team. It foregrounds the key participant and her interactions in home, social and work domains.
The Heritage phase artwork shows the processes involved in developing a space for the Leeds Roma communities which would enable them to participate collectively in aspects of shared culture. It highlights notions of heritage, both tangible and intangible.
The focus of this artwork is the opportunity created by sport for intercultural communication, and how this happens across quite different practices. The life history of the key participant is central to the work.
This experiences of individuals caught up in a complex migration context are the main feature of the final artwork. These experiences are entangled with the ‘hostile environment’ and changes and anxieties triggered by the EU referendum in June 2016.
Working papers all available from www.tlang.org.uk.
Baynham, M., Bradley, J., Callaghan, J., Hanusova, J. & Simpson, J. (2015) Translanguaging business: Unpredictability and precarity in superdiverse inner city Leeds. Working Papers in Translanguaging and Translation (WP. 4).
Baynham, M., Bradley, J., Callaghan, J., Hanusova, J., Moore, E. & Simpson, J. (2016) Heritage with no fixed abode: Transforming cultural heritage for migrant communities
in inner-city Leeds. Working Papers in Translanguaging and Translation (WP. 15).
Baynham, M., Bradley, J., Callaghan, J., Hanusova, J., Moore, E. & Simpson, J. (2017). Transformations through sport: The case of capoeira and basketball, Working Papers in Translanguaging and Translation (WP. 22).
Baynham, M., Callaghan, J., Hanusova, J., Moore, E. & Simpson, J. (2018) Translanguaging immigration law: A legal advice drop-in service. Working Papers in Translanguaging and Translation (WP. 33). [Online]. Available from www.tlang.org.uk].
Bradley, J. & Simpson, J. (2020, forthcoming) Translanguaging across space and place: Concept and context. In C. Mar-Molinero (Ed), Researching Language in Urban Contexts: Exploring Methodological and Theoretical Concepts. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
The TLANG project (PI Angela Creese) was funded by the AHRC 2014-2018 (AH/L007096/1). Thanks are particularly due to University of Leeds Research Fellows John Callaghan and Jolana Hanusova. We also thank the Leeds case study Key Participants.