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What a privilege it was again to help organise and to be part of the whole of this amazing conference! You can look at the whole programme by clicking here. Unfortunately I could not be everywhere at the same time, so below is only what I was able to experience!

We kicked off with Richard Tallaron’s keynote: le subjonctif est notre ami and other cultural stories. He reminded us that humour is part of the culture… and we certainly laughed listening to him and sharing stories with him! Click here check out Richard’s current work with ELAPSE and Power Language.

I then listened to Vicky Gough from the British Council, and she reminded us that intercultural experiences can happen in our home country and do not require travelling – do travel if you can though!

Petra Bauer was next. My favourite quote of hers was that translation is not only a linguistic act, it is also a cultural one.

Elizabeth Judges had me in tears: this primary teacher was so inspirational as she shared with us how she had just discovered a love of languages in general, and of Spanish in particular, thanks to Erasmus + funding. She reminded us how much happy memories influence teaching and learning.

Lunchtime is always a popular and busy time, as you can see!

After lunch, with Cathy Hampton, we reflected on Claire Kramsch’s work and how language study itself can be seen, as a mix of 2 or more cultures, as a third culture in its own right.

Lou Smith sees culture as a vehicle for making language real, and she shared lots of great ideas to embed culture into the curriculum rather than have it as an add-on.

John Bald reminded us that culture generates interest and makes young people want to learn a language. It also expands and allows to look back at language in different contexts.

I was on next: more about it below!

Jesús followed me with his faithful guitar: singing, telling stories, doing magic!

Ritsuko Kos-Kirk finsihed the day by making us aware that communication is muldi-modal: language and grammar are only an access point to a whole world of meaning, cultural knowledge is essential too.


Many of us met up on the Saturday evening for food and drinks: it was very friendly.

On the Sunday, our keynote speaker was Julie Hall. I noted that she stressed culture can be used as an aid for retention as it reinforces core language and creates emotional connections for the learners, which in turn motivates them.

I went to listen to Paula Davison next. I am ashamed to say that I have never used headlines before, but I will now!

Conceição Perreira told us how she uses nonsense poetry with Portuguese beginners and gets her students to record themselves saying it. We learnt a little Portuguese too!

Stephanie Little was talking about songs and poetry, which are interlinked, and can be made up to help learn grammar, or can be authentic then be adapted. She gave us many ideas.

Michael Thompson and Sarah Kemp shared some very useful experiences and resources: on the Théâtre Sans Frontières website for workshops and activities packs, and on the Durham University website for work on theatre censorship in Spain.

Last but not least, Cynthia Tavars talked about culture through songs – as music is universal, builds bridges, creates emotions, is authentic and multifunctional. She shared work she did on this song by Kerry James “Lettre à la république” … and it was very powerful, to say the least!


We are also very grateful to our exhibitors who, as always, add expertise to the conference.

Thanks again to everyone who took part!

Please do like our Facebook page for UK Lingua and language related news by clicking here. You will find out first everything you need to know about UK Lingua 2021.

I used these notes as inspiration to record a podcast, so do click here listen if you are interested about culture in the classroom and please let me know your thoughts about it all in the comments below!