Competition for visual representations of multilingualism

Deadline: 29/03/2019  |  Venue: BAAL conference  |  City: Manchester  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  CuratorSpace

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BAAL (British Association for Applied Linguistics), in partnership with CuratorSpace, Multilingual Matters, and the AILA Research Network for Creative Inquiry and Applied Linguistics, is looking for applied linguists and visual artists to submit visual representations of multilingualism as part of an international competition.

This competition aims to provide a creative opportunity to explore new ways of representing multilingualism through visual means and to stimulate debate and raise awareness about innovative ways of thinking about multilingualism. 

Multilingualism has often failed to be represented, or – when it has been represented – this has been done through the co-presence of a select number of languages. However, this raises the question of which languages are represented and why, while recent research about multilingual practices, for example translanguaging, has questioned traditional views of languages as discrete systems.  

This research has also highlighted the multilingual language user’s capacity to create an apparently seamless flow between named languages and language varieties to achieve effective and meaningful communication in everyday social interaction. 

Our interests are in how applied linguists and artists represent these new ways of thinking about multilingualism creatively and visually and how these images communicate the message about dynamic multilingualism to the public.

To apply

The competition is open to artists, designers and/or applied linguists working in a range of 2D practices, including, but not limited to: drawing, painting, illustration, graphic design, collage, digital, photography, etc. Sculptural/relief works presented in a 2D format will also be accepted. 

Although all visual media are eligible, works will be judged on a single image which represents the overall work. 

Collaborations between artists and applied linguists, and submissions from students of all levels are particularly welcome. 

Submissions can be of new or existing works, however artwork should have been made within 2 years of the submission date. 

To apply, please complete the application form with one good quality image of the work along with title, medium, size, year and a statement (250 words max) about how the work responds to the theme. Please also include a brief artist bio (250 words max). Statements and bios will be used to promote the winning works. 

Applicants can make up to 2 submissions and separate forms should be used for each submission.


Please submit works by Friday 29 March 2019, 11:59pm GMT

Winners will be chosen and all applicants will be notified of the outcome by early June 2019.


Prizes will be awarded to three winners at the BAAL conference at Manchester on 29-31, August, 2019.

First prize: £400

Second prize: £200

Third prize: £100

A number of works by selected applicants may also be included alongside the prize winners in an exhibition at the BAAL conference 2019. 

Works will be promoted through BAAL website and may also be used to promote visual and creative approaches to multilingualism within the research community. Elements of the winning work may also be incorporated into the BAAL logo upon further discussion with the applicant(s). All applicants retain copyright of their work.

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged against the following criteria:

  • Close engagement with the theme, i.e. creative ways of representing multilingualism
  • Effective communication: clear and compelling in communicating dynamic multilingualism to the public
  • High quality digital image (300 dpi)
  • Relationship between medium and content: providing clear reasons for using a particular medium in the production of the work

Judging panel

Professor Zhu Hua (BAAL Executive Committee Rep / Birkbeck College, University of London)

Professor Bernadette M A O'Rourke (BAAL Executive Committee Rep / Heriot-Watt University)

Professor Abigail Harrison Moore (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds)

Jessica Bradley (AILA ReN Creative Inquiry and Applied Linguistics Rep / Leeds Trinity University) 

Dr Louise Atkinson (Visual artist and researcher / CuratorSpace / Yorkshire Visual Arts Network)

Contact for further queries

The competition submission will be managed via Curatorspace 

For further information about submission, please get in touch using the Contact curator form at the top of the page.

Links to organisers and partnerships

Links to resources

Tong-king Lee (2015). Translanguaging and Visuality: Translingual Practices in Literary Art. Applied Linguistics Review, 6(4), 441-465: 


Contact the curator
When is the deadline?
Friday 29 March 2019, 11.59pm GMT
How many works can I submit?
How much does it cost?
Are there payments to artists?
There are 3 prizes of £400, £200, and £100 for competition winners
What publicity will be provided as part of the opportunity?
Selected artists will be promoted through the BAAL website and may also be used to promote visual and creative approaches to multilingualism within the research community.

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