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Durham University

School of Education

Intercultural Communication and Education

Intercultural communication, and intercultural and international education are core in the education of young people and in lifelong learning. Research that investigates how people interact and dialogue with others in diverse multilingual and intercultural contexts, and the role of language, culture, identity, and belonging in these processes, are central to our field. How educational and other institutions, political regimes, and policies enhance or curtail such engagement are also key. Researchers in this cluster draw on critical perspectives that question relations of power and authority; they understand communication and dialogue as socially constructed processes; they recognise the multiplicity of individuals’ languages, cultures, identities, histories; they value diversity and difference, as well as similarities in interpersonal and intercultural communication; and they foreground youth participation, engagement and responsibility for social justice, both locally and globally.

The researchers in the cluster draw on critical theories in education, comparative methodologies, and critical pedagogies that foreground socially constructed, dialogic, experiential and reflexive approaches to research and learning, and approaches that give voice to people from outside of the “metropole” or “global North”, particularly around experiences of migration. A further aspect of the research cluster concerns understandings and interpretations of how people perceive interculturality and human relations, and the implications for national and international education and educational policy: in contexts of internationalisation on the one hand, and increasing forms of nationalism on the other. The cluster also investigates the role of language and intercultural communication in education, language and intercultural pedagogies, and in researcher praxis.

Research in the cluster therefore foregrounds the ways in which multiple languages, culture, identities, and citizenship are understood and played out in diverse educational contexts around the world, and the linguistic, cultural, educational, and political implications for all those involved.

These concepts and research strands are central to the following (internationally and nationally funded) projects and research undertaken in the cluster:

EUROMEC: European Identity, Culture, Exchanges and Multilingualism
Jean Monnet Network Project (553397-EPP-1-2014-1-BG-EPPJMO-NETWORK)

Here To Stay? Identity, Belonging and Citizenship Among Eastern European Settled Migrant Children in the UK
Economic and Social Research Council (UK) Standard Research Grant Project (ES/M011038/1, 2016-2019)

IEREST: Intercultural Education Resources for Erasmus Students and their Teachers
LLP ERASMUS Project (527373-LLP-1-2012-1-IT-ERASMUS-ESMO)

Researching Multilingually
Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Network Research Project (AH/J005037/1)

Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language: the Body, Law and the State
Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Large Grant Project (AH/L006936/1).

RICH-Ed: Resources for Interculturality in Chinese Higher Education
ERASMUS+ Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices: Capacity building in Higher Education (KA2).

The Chequered History of British University Engagements with Chinese
British Academy (UK)
Dr Tinghe Jin (supervised by Professor Prue Holmes)

Research Projects

  • EUROMEC: European Identity, Culture, Exchanges and Multilingualism
  • Here To Stay? Identity, Belonging And Citizenship Among Eastern European Settled Migrant Children in the UK
  • IEREST: Intercultural Education Resources for Erasmus Students and their Teachers
  • Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language: the Body, Law and the State
  • RICH-Ed: Resources for Interculturality in Chinese Higher Education
  • The Chequered History of British University Engagements with Chinese Language Studies: Intercultural Failure or Success

Staff