The Community Café project is a collaboration between the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) at the University of Southampton; Southampton City Council and the COLT project at Manchester Metropolitan University.

 The project will address a particular problem: the scarcity of up-to-date, online resources for community languages. The aim of the project is to work together to co-create a community collection of online language and cultural materials which will significantly enhance existing materials to support community languages. The learning and teaching of those languages is particularly under-resourced and mostly takes place outside of mainstream education. However, evidence shows that maintaining these languages within society is beneficial to both the communities in which these languages are spoken and to society as a whole.

The project will make use of existing networks and models for community engagement in Southampton. It will bring together academics with experience in creating online resources and digital collections and community language speakers who are content experts with little formal experience of digital media. The project will use a blended approach consisting of informal meetings, workshops and online social/community spaces to build the confidence and skills of community language speakers in the use of technology. The materials produced, repurposed and collected will be made freely available to the wider community through existing repositories, e.g. www.languagebox.ac.uk .

The community-building methods and upskilling workshops will also be made freely available to other groups and UK regions in order that this model of collaborative co-creation and collection for community languages can be cascaded more widely. This will form part of the evaluation process which will be led by a regional centre in Manchester which also works in the area of community languages.

This project is led by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, contact us at: llas@soton.ac.uk


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