Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Research Student: Jessica Bradley

Photo of Jessica Bradley

Translation and translanguaging in production and performance in community arts

Submission Date: December 2017

My research focuses on communicative practices and multimodality in community arts – specifically street arts - throughout the process of the production of a theatrical performance. I take a critical approach to 'translanguaging' as a concept which shifts the focus from bounded named languages to the individual repertoires or ‘idiolects’ and which is linked to social justice for bilingual and multilingual speakers. I am particularly interested in how performers and creative practitioners might communicate translingually in different settings and across different activities, and how this intersects with and incorporates the different creative practices at play. I explore the ways in which translanguaging might enable a focus on multimodality in communication. My research also extends to how translanguaging can be used to develop new understandings of collaboration and co-production across sectors and across practices. I am developing my research across to institutional discourses in collaborative projects and communication across practices. 

During my time in the School of Education I have also developed and coordinated a number of co-produced, collaborative research projects working with external organisations, including from the arts and third sector. These stem from themes and findings from the TLANG project, my doctoral research, and my previous professional experience in Educational Engagement here at the University of Leeds. Among these are a project developed for the Connected Communities Festival 2016 project – Migration and Home: Welcome in Utopia and a follow-on project – Migration and Settlement: Extending the Welcome’ (both with James Simpson). I have also led an educational engagement project leading from research methodologies around the linguistic landscape, working with artist-researcher Louise Atkinson, and with James Simpson and Emilee Moore (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). These are supported by the Educational Engagement Social Sciences Cluster (see Festival of Arts and Humanities 2016www.langscapecurators.tumblr.comwww.bricolagearts.org.uk).   

In December 2016 I was invited by Professor Sari Pöyhönen at the University of Jyväskylä to lead seminars on co-producing research with artists and creative practitioners. Here I was able to talk about my doctoral research, the TLANG project and the engagement and co-produced projects I have been developing. More details are available here: http://translatingcultures.org.uk/event/beyond-language-co-production-and-collaboration-in-language-research/. In May 2017 I presented my work at the Worldwide University Network conference at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which focused on the role of heritage in migration and displacement (http://blogs.umass.edu/infochs/conference/). 

I have also been invited seminar speaker at the universities of East Anglia (October 2016), Lancaster (November 2016) and the Institute for Modern Languages Research (November 2017).

In September 2017, with Lou Harvey, I co-convened the invited colloquium at the Annual Meeting British Association for Applied Linguistics which focused on creative inquiry in applied linguistics.

I am part of the TLANG project which is AHRC-funded under the Translating Cultures theme. Researchers are investigating translation and translanguaging across superdiverse wards in four UK cities – Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and London. I am the editor of the project blog (www.tlangblog.wordpress.com).  

I have a number of publications including journal articles and book chapters. I am co-editing a book, Translanguaging as Transformation, with Emilee Moore and James Simpson, contracted by Multilingual Matters. 

In 2016 I was given the nomination by the School of Education and the Faculty of ESSL for PGR researcher of the year.


My academic background is in modern languages and applied translation studies. I have a first degree in French and Spanish from Newcastle University, with time spent studying and working abroad in Paris and in northern Spain. In my previous role, I studied for an MA in Applied Translation Studies in the Centre for Translation Studies at Leeds (2009). Prior to starting my doctoral research I worked in languages and arts for Educational Engagement, also here at Leeds, for almost a decade. In this role I developed, coordinated and managed multiple outward-facing projects linking to languages and art. My previous work intersects with and informs my research and my research aim is to bring the two areas closer together – in terms of engagement, practice and research.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I was motivated to undertake this study as I wanted to develop a better understanding of the links between creative practice and language use, particularly with multilingual groups.

Because of my professional background in outreach and engagement, I am particularly interested in how language research of this kind could inform practice – particularly with visual arts and performance with multilingual groups. One area of focus – both in terms of research and in terms of practice – is in understanding better how researchers and practitioners from across disciplines and sectors can work collaboratively, and the role of applied linguistics in developing these understandings. 

What makes me passionate about my subject?

Every project I investigate, or even develop and run, has so many different possible connections and outcomes. And this is what drives me to continue with my work – seeing the opportunities for developing strands of research into educational work and also finding new ways to research collaboratively. 

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I am continuing my research into communication, interaction and community arts, linking to public and educational engagement. I am particularly interested in intersections of evaluation and qualitative research for engagement practices. I am the research assistant for the Sadler Seminar Series ‘Signs Beyond Borders’, led by Elisabetta Adami in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies. I work part-time at Leeds Trinity University as research and evaluation officer for the Go Higher West Yorkshire National Coordinating Outreach Programme. I am also working on a series of collaborative arts-based grant applications, including a research network for linguists working with creative arts practitioners with Lou Harvey and a transdisciplinary project based on ‘belonging’ with James Simpson.

I edit the TLANG blog 

I tweet @JessMaryBradley

My academia.edu profile is available here

I also write in my spare time and have had work published


Academic Publications


Moore, E., Bradley, J. & Simpson, J. (eds). (contracted and in preparation, 2018). Translanguaging as transformation: The collaborative construction of new linguistic realities. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 

Peer reviewed journal articles

*Bradley, J., Moore, E., Simpson, J. & Atkinson, L. (2017). Translanguaging space and creativity: Theorising collaborative arts-based learning. Journal of Language and Intercultural Communication, Special Edition, Bridging across languages and cultures in everyday lives: new roles for changing scenarios, pp.1-20 (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14708477.2017.1401120)

Simpson, J. & Bradley, J. (2017). Communication in the contact zone: The TLANG project and ESOL. Language Issues 27.2, pp.4-18. (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/natecla/esol/2017/00000027/00000002/art00002)

McKay, S. & Bradley, J. (2016). How does arts practice engage with narratives of migration from refugees? Lessons from ‘utopia’.  Arts and Communities, Special Edition Arts, Activism and Human Rights, 8(1-2), pp.31-46. (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/intellect/jaac/2016/00000008/F0020001/art00004?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf)

Book chapters

*Bradley, J. & Atkinson, L. (invited and in preparation, 2018). Translanguaging and bricolage: Meaning making and collaborative ethnography in community arts. In E. Moore, J. Bradley & J. Simpson (eds). Translanguaging as transformation: The collaborative construction of new linguistic realities. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Bradley, J. & Moore, E. (under review, 2018). Resemiotisation and creative production: Extending the translanguaging lens. In E. Adami & A. Sherris. Making signs, translanguaging ethnographies: Exploring urban, rural, and educational spaces. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 

Bradley, J. & Simpson, J. (in press, 2018). Translanguaging in the contact zone: Mobility and immobility in inner-city Leeds. In K. Horner & J. Dailey-O’Cain (eds), Multilingualism and (Im)mobilities: Language, Power, Agency. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.  

*Bradley, J. (2017). Liquid Methodologies: Researching the ephemeral in multilingual street performance. In Conteh, J. (ed), Ethnographic Principles in Qualitative Research: Making a Difference in Multilingual Contexts. London: Bloomsbury. ?

Working papers

*Bradley, J. (2017). Translanguaging engagement: Dynamic multilingualism and university language engagement programmes. [Online]. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/publications/index.aspx.  

*Bradley, J., Moore, E., Simpson, J. & Atkinson, L. (September 2017). Translanguaging space and creativity: Collaborative ethnography and arts-based learning. [Online]. Available from http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/publications/index.aspx

Simpson, J. & Bradley, J. (2017). WP24 Communication in the contact zone: The TLANG project and ESOL. [Online]. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/documents/communication-in-the-contact-zone.pdf

Atkinson, L., & Bradley, J. (2017). WP23 Meaning making and collaborative ethnography in transdisciplinary arts. [Online]. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/documents/meaning-making-and-collaborative-ethnography-in-transdisciplinary-arts.pdf 

Baynham, M., Bradley, J., Callaghan, J., Hanusova, J., Moore, E., & Simpson, J. (2017). WP22 Transformations through sport: The case of capoeira and basketball. [Online]. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/documents/transformations-through-sport.pdf.  

*Bradley, J. (2016). WP18 Liquid Methodologies: using a linguistic ethnographic approach to study multilingual phenomena. [Online]. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/working-papers/index.aspx.

Baynham, M., Bradley, J., Callaghan, J., Hanusova, J., Moore, E., & Simpson, J. (2016). WP15 Heritage With No Fixed Abode: Transforming Cultural Heritage for Migrant Communities in Inner-City Leeds. [Online]. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/working-papers/index.aspx.

Baynham, M., Bradley, J., Callaghan, J., Hanusova, J., & Simpson, J. (2015). WP4 Translanguaging business: Unpredictability and precarity in superdiverse inner city Leeds. [Online]. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tlang/working-papers/index.aspx

Research reports

Bradley, J. & Simpson, J. (2017). Migration and Settlement: Extending the Welcome. Report from impact acceleration responsive mode research project. Leeds Social Sciences Institute/University of Leeds. 

Simpson, J. & Bradley, J. (2016). Migration and Home (M&H): Welcome in Utopia. TLANG project and Faceless Arts. AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2016: Community Futures and Utopias. Report from research project. AHRC/University of Leeds. 

*Bradley, J. (2015). Social Audit of a Community Interest Company: ToastLoveCoffee (TLC). [Online]. Available from:  http://www.lssi.leeds.ac.uk/lssi-placement-fellowship-scheme/. 

Book reviews

*Bradley, J. (2017). Review of Snell, J., Shaw, S. & Copland, F., Linguistic Ethnography: Interdisciplinary Explorations. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, 10(1).

External relations/practitioner publications 

Bradley, J. & Simpson, J. (2017). TLANG City Report: Leeds. AHRC/University of Leeds.

Bradley, J. & Simpson, J. (eds). (2017). TLANG City Reports: Birmingham, Cardiff, London. AHRC/University of Leeds.

*Bradley, J. (2016). What is welcome in utopia? Migration and Home Project 2016. AHRC/University of Leeds. 

Editorship of TLANG Project research blog (2015-2017). [Online]. Available from: www.tlangblog.wordpress.com.  

Refereed conference papers

  • Refereed colloquium presentation: ‘Performing belonging in collaborative street arts production’. Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics. University of Leeds, UK. (September 2017). 
  • Refereed conference presentation: ‘Bauxite and shadow puppetry: Sensoriality and visuality in migration narratives’. Valuing the Visual in Literacy Research International Conference. University of Sheffield, UK. (July 2017). 
  • Refereed seminar presentation: ‘Translation and translanguaging in production and performance in community arts’. Research workshop on multimodality with Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen. University of Leeds, UK. (May 2017) 
  • Refereed symposium presentation: ‘Packaging heritage: Language, space and the business proposal’. WUN Symposium, The role of heritage in migration and displacement, UMASS, Amherst, USA. (May 2017).
  • (with Louise Atkinson) Refereed plenary presentation: ‘Meaning making and collaborative ethnography in transdisciplinary arts’. National Association for Fine Art Education Conference, University of Coventry, UK. (March 2017). 
  • (with Emilee Moore) Refereed conference presentation: ‘Resemiotisation and creative production: Extending the translanguaging lens’. AAAL2017, Portland, USA. (March 2017).
  • (with Louise Atkinson and Emilee Moore) Refereed colloquium presentation: ‘Translanguaging creativity: Creating spaces for the visual and the audible’. International Association of Language and Intercultural Communication, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. (November 2016).
  • Refereed conference presentation: ‘Ethical entanglements: Collaboration and co-production in language/arts research/practice’. Language, Literacy and Identity International Conference, Sheffield, UK. (July 2016). 
  • (with James Simpson) Refereed colloquium presentation: ‘Translanguaging in the contact zone: Language use in superdiverse inner city Leeds’. Sociolinguistics Symposium, Murcia, Spain. (June 2016). 
  • (with Louise Atkinson) Refereed conference presentation: ‘Writing as Practice, Practice as Writing: Conversations between Art, Linguistics and Ethnography in Digital Space’. Society for Artistic Research, The Hague, The Netherlands (April 2016). 


Speaking invitations (selected)

  • Invited panel presentation: ‘Ethnography and Modern Languages: Critical Reflections’. AHRC OWRI and Translating Cultures workshop, Institute for Modern Languages Research, London, UK. (November 2017).
  • Convenor (with Lou Harvey) and chair of Local Organising Committee’s Invited Colloquium: ‘Creative Inquiry and Applied Linguistics’.  Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics, University of Leeds, UK. (September 2017). 
  • (with James Simpson) Invited research seminar: ‘Multilingual and multimodal realities: Translanguaging across space and place’. Researching Language in the City: exploring methodological and theoretical concepts, Open World Research Initiative Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals Transforming Societies, University of Southampton, UK. (June, 2017).  
  • (with Sam McKay) Invited research seminar: ‘How does arts practice engage with narratives of migration from refugees and asylum seekers? Lessons from ‘utopia’’. Performance and Cultural Industries Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Leeds, UK. (May 2017). 
  • Invited panellist:  ‘Englishes – A Conversation, Nicoline Van Harskamp’. RADAR, University of Loughborough Arts, UK. (February 2017).  
  • Invited research seminar (four sessions): ‘Beyond Language: Co-production and collaboration in language research’. RECLAS, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. (December 2016).
  • Invited research seminar: ‘Co-production as transcreation? Mediating ecologies in visual arts and language research’. Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, University of Lancaster, UK.  (November 2016). 
  • Invited research seminar: ‘Liquid Methodologies: Using a linguistic ethnographic approach to study multilingual phenomena’. Seminar Series, University of East Anglia, UK. (October 2016). 
  • Invited speaker: ‘Translanguaging from studio to street: Resemiotising the narrative in production and performance’. Translation, Translanguaging and Creativity, AHRC Translating Cultures and IMLR seminar, Senate House, London (June 2016). 



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