British Academy Award helps Catz Fellow advance Modern Languages

Jessica Goodman, our Fellow and Tutor in French, is one of the latest academics to have been granted a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (BARSEA), in April this year. Unlike traditional research awards, the BARSEAs exist to allow distinguished early career academics to actively engage in the work of the British Academy, and to enhance their own skills and career development. Dr Goodman’s award will fund a project on Modern Languages outreach, entitled ‘Modern Languages in Crisis: Creating a Support Network for Languages Outreach in the UK’.

Having been involved in Modern Languages outreach for some time, Dr Goodman recognises a crisis facing the subject – both in terms of student recruitment and in encouraging interest in the subject at a school level. The project she is working on as a result of the BARSEA funding will use the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to make a contribution to the effort to increase Modern Languages uptake at all levels.

The project will involve staging a conference, bringing together eight early career modern linguists from different UK universities along with teachers, national outreach providers, and bodies such as the British Academy and the University Council for Modern Languages, to discuss current provision and future needs. This will be followed by the eight ECRs working together to put these ideas into practice through school engagement afternoons and online materials.

Of her hopes for the project, Dr Goodman said: “Not only will the ECRs get training and practice at using their research to engage school students, but hundreds of pupils across the country will be exposed to events that can inspire them to see Modern Languages study in a new light, and hopefully encourage them to study it at both school level and – hopefully – beyond.”