I work with international literature and culture on these projects:
The Stephen Spender Trust
I am Director of the Stephen Spender Trust, a charity that celebrates and promotes multilingualism, international literature and translation in the spirit of British writer Stephen Spender (1909-94). We run an annual poetry translation competition in association with the Guardian, and the education programme ‘Translators in Schools’, training translators to deliver creative translation workshops to young people.
The Queen’s College Translation Exchange
In 2018 I set up this new outreach and research initiative at Oxford University. The Translation Exchange brings together expertise in literary translation and outreach within the College, University, city, and country to develop a broad programme of translation-related activities for students, schools, and the public.
The focus of the Translation Exchange is on bringing Oxford students together with teachers and pupils from local schools for translation workshops. With an emphasis on translation as a creative, inspiring, and aspiration-raising activity, these workshops channel the students’ expertise in translation and enthusiasm for language-learning and literature into enriching literary experiences for young people from primary age upwards.
New Books In German
I ran the project New Books in German for ten years until 2019, promoting German-language literature internationally. As well as continuing NBG’s work reviewing and recommending the best new books from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, I also oversaw a redesign of our biannual print magazine and a revamp of our website, and launched NBG’s Emerging Translators Programme.
Emerging Translators Programme
The NBG Emerging Translators Programme, which I founded in 2011, provides opportunities for new talents in translation through a series of workshops and commissions. In 2019 we expanded the programme’s workshop into a two-day event, including a networking day with UK publishers.
From 2014-2018 I was project coordinator and researcher on the international project ‘Writing Brecht’, based at Oxford University. This research and translation project was devoted to extending and developing the corpus of Brecht’s works in English. It involved several major publications, including the first collected edition of Brecht’s poetry in English translation and a brand new collection of his writings on performance, also translated into English. The project also hosted numerous events, including performances of Brecht’s poetry and drama, outreach events for schools, and in 2016 the conference of the International Brecht Society. In 2017 I established a partnership with Crisis Skylight and Arts at the Old Fire Station in Oxford, which culminated in a performance of Brecht-inspired poems by Crisis members, a performance of ‘A Berlin Kabaret’ by Sphinx Theatre, and a publication of the poems, Words as Weapons.
Oxford German Network
I was the founding coordinator of the Oxford German Network, which brings together all those interested in German language and culture by facilitating contacts between the University of Oxford, local schools of all types, local organisations and companies. Our purpose is to foster an appreciation of German language, linguistics, literature and culture in all their rich diversity and historical depth, and to act as a beacon for enhancing the profile of German across the UK. The network also runs an annual national competition for learners of German: the Oxford German Olympiad. I am an OGN associate, most recently conducting research into how undergraduates can participate in MFL outreach, co-funded by the German Embassy in London. You can read the resulting report here.
Widening participation in higher education is very important to me, and I have been involved in several access initiatives, including those listed below. The Queen’s College Translation Exchange, which I founded in 2018 (see above), is dedicated to widening participation.
- founding coordinator of the Oxford German Network
- Modern Languages access days, Oxford University
- UNIQ (formerly the Modern Languages Sutton Trust Summer School), Oxford University
- Further Education Colleges Humanities Study Days, Oxford University
- Regular visits to local secondary schools