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"The use of new and traditional media and information technology to strengthen linguistic diversity and support language learning"

Mercator Network Conference on multilingualism and media

The Conference took place in Aberystwyth, Wales, on the 18th and 19th May, 2010. A total of 54 people attended the conference, held at the National Library of Wales. Each of the two days had a keynote speech which gave an outline to the main topics and developments of multilingualism and media in the last years. The two keynote speakers, Dr. Donald Browne and Dr. Mike Cormack, clearly steered the conference to the relevant topics that were to be discussed.

There were a total of three panels and seven sessions (which finally turned to be only six, due to two last-minute cancellations), and they included one session held by presenters who were not able to attend personally but who undertook their presentation via video, being present for questions through videoconference from their homes in Australia and New Zealand/Aotearoa.

Following the Call for Papers, but trying to draw conceptual lines that would link the presentations around common topics, the central themes of the conference were:
1.    Social Networks, Internet participation and Multilingualism: How is multilingualism part of the design, use and mechanics of social networks and other aspects of the internet?
2.    Media convergence and its impact for the language in creative industries: What are the requirements for multi-platform, audience-based multilingual products in a fragmented, user-generated content market place?
3.    Representation of linguistic difference in the media: How do different linguistic groups portray themselves in the multilingual media space?
4.    New technologies, participation, citizenship and audience interaction: What are the current trends, concepts and leading factors of multilingual participation in the media?

Each of the three panels addressed one or more of these topics, and the sessions each subscribed to one of them.

It is also important to highlight that the presentations and papers have been made available in video by request, and it is expected that they will be uploaded to an exclusive website to be designed in 2011, where people could gain access to the presentation and written forms of the papers available in PDF. However, due to the demands for such an endeavour, the page would not be available for public access until the end of 2011.