UniNet Meeting in Santiago de Compostela, 24th of April 2024

Benvidos a Galicia! The third UniNet meeting took place in the historic city of Santiago de Compostela, Galisia on the 24th of April 2024 in conjunction with the NPLD steering committee meeting. The meeting also coincided with the NPLD conference, The Impact of Language Technologies on the Economy and Society held on the 25th of April 2024.

In attendance were UniNet members from several universities and research institutes across Europe. Represented at the Santiago meeting were Flóra Gábor from the Partium Christian University, Rhian Hodges from Bangor University, Sion Jobbins from Coleg Cymraerg Cenedlaethol, Elin Haf Gruffudd Jones from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Iain Caimbeul, University of the Highlands and Islands, Jelske Dijkstra from the Mercator Research centre, Imanol Larrea-Mendizabal from the Soziolinguistika Klusterra. Vincent Fenollar was also in attendance as a representative of the NPLD.

Santiago de Compostela is a city full of history and tradition and the meeting took place at the Hotel Eurostars, Araguaney, located near the old town which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Following the Dublin meeting in November 2023, the agenda for this meeting concentrated on the progress of the existing research groups, which are as follows:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Language progression
  • Language attitudes
  • Language use in high density areas (proposed new group at the Santiago meeting)

The research groups reported back to the network regarding their progress and noted that they had met online several times to continue working on their agendas. It was suggested that a shared TEAMS folder was created in which to store all the data for the research groups. All groups created abstracts and have begun working on research themes. Following the Dublin meeting, the group members also agreed the need to invite other specialists from different universities to develop and expand the potential of the research specific research groups. The groups shared the names of key researchers within the field who would be useful for their research groups. Some groups hope to present their initial research findings at the NPLD Coppieters Campus Conference in Barcelona, November 2024.

The meeting in Santiago also provided an opportunity to discuss how the UniNet network is funded and whether it was possible to allocate research funding to specific research groups. The group agreed that to progress, the research groups would need specific budgets in order to produce some outcomes. This would allow further opportunities to employ postgraduate students to continue to develop the research fields moving forward.

The UniNet group also discussed the blended intensive programme will take place in November 2024 in Oradea for Erasmus+ universities. The exchange will last for one week. However, there should be some previous online seasons that feed into the teaching programme which highlights the blended learning component of the exchange. It would be possible to fund some students and some academics/researchers from UniNet if they cannot access to Erasmus grants. It is necessary to have partners from at least 3 Erasmus countries apart from the organizers. Any UniNet member could teach on the exchange programme and participation could be quite flexible. Partium University is in charge of organising the teaching exchange and will provide more information as we move forward.

Following a fruitful and productive meeting, UniNet members had the opportunity to attend the NPLD general assembly where Flóra Gábor provided a progress report on UniNet which was well received by NPLD representatives. Furthermore, UniNet members also had the opportunity to attend the NPLD conference, The Impact of Language Technologies on the Economy and Society, which provided some key insights into how language technologies can have a positive impact on the maintenance and resurgence of minority languages on a global scale.

UniNet group members visited the Cidade da Cultura de Galicia and the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and had an evening meal at the Hotel Eurostars Araguaney.