Public engagement

The School of Languages and Cultures reaches further than just the student and staff community.

Alumni chat to current students about their experiences.

We consider it part of our mission to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the wider public through projects that involve staff and students of the School. We are committed to engaging with a broad range of audiences and communities in creative and constructive ways, according to our particular strengths and interests.

Our activities are diverse; they draw on traditional academic activities of teaching and research, yet reach far beyond. Some projects involve performances for the general public or presentations of specific research, but many have a broader and more general scope and involve collaboration with cultural organisations within or beyond the City of Sheffield.

Whatever shape our activities take, they are all part of the same ambition: to foster a dialogue with and to make a contribution to local, national and international society.

Some current and recent projects:

Dr Wendy Michallat has discovered and translated a hidden perspective on the Nazi occupation of Paris. Madeleine Blaess was a French-born but British-raised young woman studying at the Sorbonne when the Nazis took control of the city. Madeleine wrote a daily diary, in French, which Wendy dusted off in Sheffield University's archives and which soon will be free to download from White Rose University Press. Wendy works with Yorkshire schools, bringing French and History classes to life. 

Dr Pete Watt is a leading authority on the history of narcotrafficking in Mexico. If you’ve watched Narcos, this is Pete’s terrain! He writes on related cultural problems for Mexico that are of relevance to today's fragile world: human rights abuses, corruption, and the security crisis. He regularly speaks on Sky News and has appeared on the pan-Latin American station Telesur. He helps charities in the region. And together with his doctoral student, Watt observed Mexico’s most recent presidential election - leading an international delegation. 

Dr Amanda Crawley-Jackson considers local spaces that leave traces of a traumatic past. Using French literary and intellectual thought and her connections to the French avant-garde art scene, Amanda brings a creative and subversive perspective to standard urban regeneration. Examples include: Sheffield’s Furnace Park; disused railway tracks and their representation in Yorkshire, together with the National Railway Museum; and most recently, Amanda has begun working on wasteland near Wakefield. She is co-curating a major new exhibition to be launched in Sheffield, called Post Traumatic Landscapes.

Dr Seán Williams works on cultural history, especially of Germany, and compares this to the British context in regular radio work. He can often be heard talking and even presenting on BBC Radio 3. He has spoken on Swiss national radio, and on the World Service. He's appeared on BBC TV. Seán also writes for trade magazines such as History Today and BBC History, as well as newspapers from The Guardian and to Neue Zürcher Zeitung. He has spoken at events across Sheffield, at national festivals (such as Hay), and at the Proms.