Who is running this project?

This project is led by Holly Joseph and Naomi Flynn at the Institute of Education and Alice Mpofu-Coles in Geography & Environmental Science.

What is this project about?

The Oxford Road area of Reading is a hugely diverse, multilingual community where more than 70 languages are spoken. However, the dominance of English as the language of schooling means that families are not always aware of the benefits of maintaining heritage languages. Moreover, they may have very little exposure to their heritage languages outside the home. This community has already been involved in a participatory action research project, led by Alice Mpofu-Coles, which resulted in a multimedia exhibition celebrating the area’s social history, drawing on people’s stories and experiences. Our study builds on this project to develop community-led heritage language events as a route to celebrating identity and supporting maintenance of home languages. We have two main research questions:

(1) What are the perceived needs and wishes of Oxford Road Community in relation to existing heritage language story-telling events and establishing new ones?

(2) What are the drivers for and barriers to establishing community-driven heritage language story-telling events for Oxford Road Community?

This project is funded by the Research England participatory research fund.