Professor Charles Forsdick’s Valedictory Lecture: Languages Now!

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Street sign for Roscoe Lane

We are delighted to make available the recording of Professor Charles Forsdick’s Valedictory Lecture entitled Languages Now!, which was delivered on 12 October 2023, to mark the end of his time as James Barrow Chair of French in Liverpool, and the start of his new appointment to the Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge.

In the lecture, Professor Charles Forsdick draws on his experience of over twenty years in the James Barrow Chair of French at Liverpool and reflects on his role as British Academy Lead Fellow for Languages, addressing some of the central challenges faced by languages in the contemporary academy. Exploring both policy and practice, he analyses the need for joined-up approaches that link primary, secondary and Higher Education provision, and stresses the key role of languages in interdisciplinary and internationalized teaching and research.

As one of the most prominent national voices advocating for the importance of modern languages, Professor Forsdick underlines the significance of harnessing the often-unrecognized multilingual resources of the UK. Through this aspect he also brings attention to Liverpool itself, a city characterized – in the past and present – by its incredible linguistic and cultural diversity. The title of the lecture – Languages Now! – brings us to the legacy of Edgar Allison Peers, Gilmore Chair of Spanish from 1922 to 1952, whose publications included Spanish Now and Redbrick University – the latter coining the term with which we are so familiar today. As demonstrated by Professors Peers and Forsdick, languages play a central role not only within our city and our university, but also in helping us – and our students – to further our understanding of the world.

The lecture is introduced by Professor Alison Fell, Dean of Histories, Languages & Cultures.