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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V007351/1
Title: Studies in Computing to enable research and teaching on Electronic Literature and Digital Culture
Principal Investigator: Fülöp, Dr E
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Languages and Cultures
Organisation: Lancaster University
Scheme: Discipline Hopping Awards
Starts: 01 February 2021 Ends: 03 June 2022 Value (£): 119,839
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fundamentals of Computing Human Communication in ICT
Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
02 Dec 2020 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel December 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The aim of this project is to introduce the perspective of Computing into the study of Modern Languages and cultures and vice versa, in order to enhance both fields' understanding of the intertwining of technology, language, and culture today and induce a change in the disciplinary cultures to facilitate continued collaboration.

We live in an age where everybody uses computers and smartphones, but mostly without understanding how they work. These networked devices have, however, come to shape not only our modes of communication, but more fundamentally our modes of thinking and doing things. If we are to become responsible and self-aware citizens of a connected nation, it is crucial to understand their logic, potentials, biases, and risks. The UK's new national curriculum (2014) has made a big step towards spreading digital literacy by making Computing compulsory for all four key stages. The currently active generations of teachers and researchers in other fields, and especially in the arts and humanities, however, typically have no computing skills beyond that of an end user. With democracies already at risk under the impact of social media, AI, and digital surveillance, we cannot just wait until the next generation grows into jobs and need to act at the higher end of the education system as well.

Modern Languages as a discipline has a long tradition and an important role in observing complex cultural, social, and political processes, highlighting biases, and helping students to become culturally self-aware multilingual members of society. Yet our approach to culture still has an almost exclusive focus on print literature, with little attention to the implications of digital communication and culture. Meanwhile, Computing is largely perceived as a neutral STEM subject divorced from social and cultural processes, despite its role in facilitating them. We need to connect these fields.

This project proposes to do this through a novel approach using electronic literature, which exploits the distinctive features of the programmable medium in creating dynamic, interactive, generated, etc. texts, mostly coded by the authors themselves. Electronic literary works have explored the potentials and risks of computers and networks since the 1970s, highlighting how they allow us to manipulate language and cultural and social processes. Such works engage with the affordances of code, hardware, and networks, which they both use in creating executable programs and thematise in their content and functioning. As such, they offer an ideal meeting ground between Modern Languages and Computing, accessible and relevant to students and specialists of both.

This Discipline Hop will consist in an intensive programme of study and research enabling the PI, a multilingual literary scholar specialised in French Studies, to acquire the necessary knowledge and hands-on experience with programming, which will allow her to undertake and lead truly cross-disciplinary research and teaching. In addition to taking a selection of relevant masters' modules offered by Paragraphe, a French research laboratory with a long-standing tradition of using computing for literary and artistic purposes, she will translate, curate, and co-create electronic literature in collaboration with colleagues and students in Computing. These collaborations will serve as pilots for larger future international projects as well as for local cross-disciplinary research and teaching supported by Lancaster's Institute for Social Futures and new Digital Hub.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk