Visiting Research Fellow: Raquel Lázar-Gutiérrez (Universidad de Alcalá, Spain)
Asylum and migration constitute a highly relevant current topic due to the increase in the population movements brought about by the existing conflicts in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan or Irak. The Brussels superdiversity is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored, as people from a great variety of origins and nationalities live together in a multicultural and multilingual society. Equal access to public services for all inhabitants of the city is only possible when barriers, among which language barriers, are overcome. Therefore, the main objectives of this visit are the following:
1. To acquire an understanding of the impact of the refugee crisis on the linguistic reality in Brussels and on the language practices in multilingual public service provision, in particular by focusing on the communication needs, strategies and mechanisms in the context of asylum procedures and from the perspective of public service interpreters and the (vulnerable) end users, such as women and (unaccompanied) minors.
2. To make comparisons between the Brussels situation and the situation in Madrid, which is another superdiverse city.
3. To explore how higher education institutions, through research and training, can provide answers or solutions to the communicative challenges that public service organisations face.