Interculturality SIG


Sonia Cunico, University of Exeter ( and Katarzyna Lanucha, University of Cambridge (

About the Interculturality SIG


A number of language centres and language programmes already deliver courses and other activities related to intercultural competence and communication. These are often responding to different circumstances, and are being developed independently. At the same time, Universities are promoting internationalisation and the concept of the global graduate, often aligned to global citizenship and inter-cultural awareness. There is also no real common understanding as to what inter-cultural competence means in the context of language centre strategies, and how it is taught and measured, nor are there many teachers well trained in such approaches. As a result, there is a hotchpotch of approaches to inter-culturality, but with an opportunity for language centres to seize the initiative and present ourselves as the natural home within and around which to develop such institution-wide strategies, with languages at the core. The SIG endeavours to support member institutions in their responses to this situation.

Main questions to consider

  • There is an inherent separation between inter-cultural competence and inter-cultural communication, and language learning in its current form.  There is a disconnect in understanding of, and approaches to, inter-culturality (IC).  The SIG could explore ways to deconstruct this separation through application of new discourse, linking to the multi-cultural language classroom.
  • We aim to keep separate the work of the SIG and IC as taught at a programme level (e.g. MA, BA programmes).  However, modules and short courses can (and should?) be included in our scope.
  • We need to develop an intellectual rationale for inter-cultural competence and communication as a key soft skill.
  • We need to consider learning outcomes and modes of measuring achievement that are meaningful rather than symbolic.  We need to better understand how to effectively assess inter-cultural learning.
  • We need to be able to articulate how various inter-cultural awareness activities fit in to this intellectual rationale (both formal and informal).
  • We need to link approaches to inter-cultural learning as currently practised in language centres, EAP/EFL programmes and degree programmes.
  • We need to explain the relationship between terms such as “international”, “inter-cultural”, “multilingual”, “global” etc., and between “citizenship”, “awareness”,” competence”, “skill”, “intelligence” and “literacy”– first of all for ourselves(!)
  • We can promote the benefits of the development of inter-cultural skills, directly linked to institutional strategies for equality, diversity and inclusivity, as well as re-defining aspects of internationalisation (e.g. the “global graduate”).
  • We will need to link teaching strategies and resources to available research (as a repository).
  • We need to develop a clear set of “course” descriptors that allows us to carefully manage learner expectations, and to better promote such courses to those who will most benefit.
  • We have a need for in-house training – for our own teachers, for wider University staff, and for students.

Initial terms of reference

The SIG has an initial focus on three primary objectives:

a) To build a repository of research information and articles in the field that is relevant to the above ambitions, and of interest to AULC members;

b) To develop an intellectual rationale for inter-cultural competence and inter-cultural communication, and its relationship with language learning, and extend from this to a rationale for how this can be integrated into the range of activities delivered and facilitated by language centres and language programmes

c) To develop resources and materials to educate and train language centre teachers in delivery of inter-cultural learning outcomes.  This may include creation and sharing of some materials and resources.

These priorities are considered to be those that will individually help each of us in our own planning, in our own Universities. (It is important to bear this in mind – we cannot expect to solve the whole problem, but a SIG is a good way of sharing strategies to solve our own problems individually and collectively).

Meetings, workshops and conferences

Intercultural Competence and Foreign Language Learning in Higher Education: Present and Future Directions
Online Conference | 1 and 2 July 2021 | University of Exeter

Please click on the titles below to open video recordings from this conference:

Fostering Intercultural Competence with Interactive Interviews. The Newcastle Calls Project as a case study
Barbara Guidarelli (Newcastle University) and Cristina Peligra (Newcastle University).

Facilitating Intercultural Dialogue across Borders; The Case of Co-Created Student Podcasts
Maria Hussain (University of Leeds).

Implementing a Virtual Exchange Programme at the University of Bath
Isabella Stefanutti (University of Bath).

3D Vignettes: Supporting Intercultural Awareness for EFL Teachers
Samiah Ghounaim (University of Warwick) and King Saud Bin Abdulaziz (University for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia).

Fostering Intercultural Competence Hand in Hand with Foreign Language Skills within a Virtual Exchange Context
Regina Brautlacht (Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences), Dr Paula Fonseca (Polytechnic Institute of Viseu) and Maria de Lurdes Martins (Polytechnic Institute of Viseu).

Exploring How Online Assessment Enhances Students’ Intercultural Competence: Opportunities and Challenges
Zhe Yu (University of Leeds).

Best Practice for Language Teaching and Education – Media Competence and Intercultural Competence as Critical Factors in Digital Vocational and University Language
Dr Michaela Rusch (University of Applied Sciences Zwickau) and Heinrich-Braun-Klinikum (Zwickau).

Beyond the Language Code – Explore the Self and the Other through Language Learning
Dr Fei Morgan (University of Cambridge).

Citizens of Nowhere: On Embracing the Discomfort of Difference
Prof Maria Scott (University of Exeter).

Student-Teacher Allyship: Supporting LGBTQI+ Voices in the Modern Language Classroom
Dr Alejandro Bolaños García-Escribano (University College London), Dr Soledad Díaz Alarcón (Univesidad de Córdoba), Dr Marga Navarrete (University College London), Dr Mazal Oaknín (University College London) and Dr Azahara Veroz González Alarcón (Univesidad de Córdoba).

Effective, Affective and Critical Intercultural Interaction in the Virtual Language Classroom
Eva Seidl (University of Graz).

Teaching Language to Go Glocal: Black Lives Matter in Italy
Dr Valentina Abbatelli (University of Warwick).

Workshop: Decolonising Language Teaching: AULC Manifesto
Dr Leticia Yulita (University of East Anglia).

Creative and Decolonising Mindsets in Language Teaching for Sustainable Intercultural Learning
Marian Arribas-Tomé (University of East-Anglia).

Developing Global Citizens through Critical Intercultural Pedagogies
Prof Prue Holmes (Durham University).

Intercultural Competence as a Space in between and across Disciplines: Two Case Studies
Donata Puntil (King’s College of London) and Dr Elena Borelli (King’s College of London).

Mediating Intercultural Differences in University Education: Learning through Translation
Prof Gardenia Alonso (AKAD University) and Prof Verena Jung (AKAD University).

Creating Stories to Rethink Culture: The Development of Intercultural and Plurilingual Competences in Teacher Training Programs
Dr Caterina Sugranyes (University Ramón Llull).

Developing Pluricultural Competencies Within an Intercomprehension Setting. Evidence from Practice for Romance Cultures
Dr Christoph Hülsmann (University of Salzburg).

Fostering Intercultural Communicative Competence in Higher Education Modern Language Programmes: The Potential of Telecollaborative Translation Courses
Dr. des. Raphaëlle Beecroft (Karlsruhe University of Education) and Dr Petra Bauer (Durham University).

Integrating Cultural Elements in the Proficiency (B2+/C1) Syllabus in French and Italian (2020-21)
Christopher da Silva (University of Essex) and Daniela Carboni (University of Essex).

Transcultural Devon: Translating, Understanding and Archiving Migrants’ Experiences
Valentina Todino (University of Exeter), Dr Eliana Maestri (University of Exeter) and Alice Farris (University of Exeter).

Intercultural Business English: Conceptual Reflections on Syllabi and Evaluation of Acquisition of Competencies
Prof. Dr. Nicole Brandstetter (Hochschule München, University of Applied Sciences).

Nonverbal Perceptual Awareness as Part of Language Teaching
Dr Yumi Nixon (University of York).

The Awareness of UK Students in an Intercultural Communication Context: Identites, Cultures, Communication and Friendship Formations with International Students
Mona Helmi (University of Exeter).

An International Project Week Goes Virtual
Prof. Dr Alexandra Angress (Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences) and Prof. Dr Sylvana Krauße (Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences).

Workshop: Combining Signed and Spoken Language Studies: Exploring Ways of (Mis)Communication within the Deaf Community
Ugo Marsili (University of Reading).

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