Ongoing Projects

Transnationality at large: The Transnational Dimension of Hispanic Culture in the 20th and 21st Centuries' TRANSIT (an IRSES Project) (January 2013 – December 2016)


The objective of this project is to bring together several research centres specialized in the study of Hispanic and Latin American culture around a central topic: the transnational dimension of contemporary Hispanic culture. More precisely, we are interested in the way in which Hispanic cultural identity is (re-)defined under the pressure of transnationalisation.

The relevance of the project is twofold. First, the project aims at bringing to the notice of scholars interested in transnationality the case of the Hispanic world.Second, the project encourages attention to the cultural dimension of transnationality as a broader phenomenon.

The innovative character of this research exchange project consists in the integrated perspective on transnationality as a cultural phenomenon in the Hispanic world (literature, film, journalism, literary criticism, photography), as well as the production of truly international teams of experts on the topic, situated in strategic research centres, and making a coordinated effort to produce results during the period of the partnership (Jan. 2013 – Dec. 2016).

The project consists of four work packages: The first WP focuses on space, which is the basic dimension of transnationality and directs attention to pressing problems such as migration and multicultural cities. The second WP complements the first one by a focus on time and history.The next two WPs are also mutually complementary as they centre on the verbal dimension of the transnational, especially in literary discourse (WP3), as well as on the audiovisual one (WP4); they examine transnationality as related to the rise of new genres and modes of (cinematic) production and circulation.

PARTNER INSTITUTIONS: University of Leuven (Leuven, Belgium); Universität Konstanz (Konstanz, Germany);University of Roehampton (London, UK); Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City. México); Universidade de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil); University of California, Los Angeles (Califonia USA); Université Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand 2 (Pascal Clermont-Ferrand France); Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Cordoba, Argentina).


TILA (January 2013 – June 2015)

TILA promotes the integration of collaborative activities in the foreign language classroom across a number of European secondary schools. Through the use of computer-mediated communication tools, students will work with peers from other countries in order to help each other improve their language skills and learn about each other's cultures. Some of the tools used for this purpose will be web chats, videoconferencing software and social networking sites such as Ning among others. The aim is to make language learning a more exciting, challenging and enriching experience, contributing at the same to train multilingual and intercultural speakers.

Flexibility and openness will be promoted and respected throughout the project. Schools will experiment with the different tools but will have the freedom to choose the ones that are more suited to their curriculum and respond best to their students' needs and learning styles.

One of the project's aims is to be able to incorporate telecollaboration activities in a harmonic way, without disrupting the usual dynamics of the usual day to day in the school.


Completed Projects

The Power of justmessaging.com: Media Success

Ideas and projects might be good, but they are even better if people talk about them. This is the ongoing story of "Just Messaging", an original project aimed at providing an outlet for communication between those living in the Saharawi refugee camps and the outside world.

As well as the team behind the project and its participants, this idea has captivated many journalists and researchers around the world. Instances of this can be found in the short TV item made by Marina de Russé and Madeleine Predel from Agence France-Presse, the articles by Stefan Simanowitz in The Independent and in the New Internationalist, the article by Paul Rigg in University World News and the mention to the project in The Times Higher Education.

And this is only the beginning. The website of the project "Just Messaging" hosts many other Western Sahara-related topics that will make you shout for freedom. Get involved! The Western Sahara Audiovisual Database can be found here.


A New Cultural Adventure: Cinema, Western Sahara & the HRC

A team from the Hispanic Research Centre, with the support of the LTEU and eLearning, successfully ran an audiovisual workshop with Saharawis in the refugee camps during the FISahara international film festival in May 2009. The workshop took place in the most remote of the four camps, Dakhla, which is situated around 150 km away from the nearest town of Tindouf, in an extremely desolate desert region of SouthWestern Algeria.

The Team video-taped messages from Saharawis, and a website was created to upload these messages to give voice to this forgotten people and open up a new means of communication between the Saharawis and the rest of the world. These may be viewed at www.justmessaging.com, where you'll find a brief explanatory paragraph and a short video-summary made by the team of assistants, which will give you a very good idea of what was done prior to and during the workshop in the refugee camp. You can also view the two-minute documentary made by AFP (Agence France Presse) on the workshop.

In July 2009 a British Academy 'Small Research Grant' was awarded to continue working on this project. The award will be used to compile and disseminate a bibliographic and filmographic research database on cinema and the Saharawi People. This database will be available to any interested parties via the University of Roehampton website and via the Sandblast website. The data will be searchable, so as to assist outside parties in quickly identifying specific data, and it will also be made available for download.