Adrian Blackledge

Adrian Blackledge is Professor of Sociolinguistics at University of Stirling. He conducts ethnographic research in the field of language in society, with a particular focus of multilingualism and translanguaging. He is currently developing creative approaches to the representation of research outcomes. In collaboration with co-author Professor Angela Creese, his publications include Volleyball – An Ethnographic Drama (2021), Interpretations – An Ethnographic Drama (2021), Voices of a City Market (2019), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Superdiversity (2018), Heteroglossia as Practice and Pedagogy (2014), The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism (2012), and Multilingualism, A Critical Perspective (2010). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Advanced Research Collaborative, City University New York, 2019-2020. He was Poet Laureate for the city of Birmingham, 2014-2016.


Seminar Two Digital Provocation Abstract

The Drama of Encountering the Other

Adrian Blackledge and Angela Creese

This presentation focuses on ethnographic research in an advice service in a Chinese community centre. Over four months interactions between advice workers and their clients were documented as field notes and audio-recordings. Advice workers moved in and out of translation zones, mediating for whoever came through the office door, not only translating between languages, but also interpreting the bureaucratic discourse of institutions, regulations, systems, and processes. Their role as translators stretched far beyond the transfer of meanings from one language to another. They were legal advisors, counsellors, advocates, mediators, and much more. In addition, interactions between advisors were recorded in the cracks and seams of everyday life, including during tea breaks, and in quiet moments at work.

Rather than representing the advice session through conventional academic writing, we create the scene in dramatic dialogue in which translation, interpretation, and mediation are at the forefront of the encounter. Advice workers are revealed as anonymous heroes of communication, making sense of the world for their clients, and keeping the superdiverse city moving.


Related Profiles