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Enabling Environments, Fugitive Spaces, and Restorative Practices or Intercultural Dialogue and Linguistic Justice

Sir Run Run Shaw Lecture Series & MIC Distinguished Lecture Series


Time: 4pm
Location: Charles B. Wang Center, Lecture Hall 2

The macro conditions for intercultural dialogue and peace building worldwide are not favourable. The processes and structures for cultural diplomacy, for sustaining cultural and linguistic rights are eroded and the institutions proposing global goals (Sustainable development goals) are reporting the failure to make progress in the wake of escalating violence, genocidal conditions in some regions and the Covid 19 pandemic. For institutions which aim to sustain intercultural dialogue and peace, and to protect Human Rights these are difficult times. How to live and how to language in such circumstances when the macro, meso and micro structures seem inadequate at best?


Allison Phipps


In this Sir Run Run Shaw lecture I will consider the macro conditions and introduce the work I have undertaken in 2020-2023 with UNESCO and UNCHR and with UNRISD on re-thinking what makes for enabling environments for intercultural dialogue, and for languages as critical constituent parts of these dialogues.

I will then turn to the level of context and bring forward work undertaken to create enabling environments with migrant in the global south, both considering the embodiment of resilience and refuge and also the work with fragile, meso-level institutions from Morocco to Mexico; Ghana to Gaza; Zimbabwe to Aotearoa in order to sustain and protect cultural and linguistic rights.

In so doing I will offer up methodological approaches, including affective methods, which have used multilingualism as an enabler of intercultural dialogue and as conflict transformational research methodology. Practice-led approaches which are restorative, as opposed to extractive are at the core of my work, internationally as academic, activist and also as artist and I’ll offer some examples of how these work.

Finally, I’ll speak of what it takes, to live with war, loss and grief,  and to ‘stay’ as Haraway says, with the trouble. This lecture will use story and some drama to enact the ways in which restorative realities can be strengthened and en-joy-ed.