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Gwennan Higham


Gwennan Higham
Position: PhD student Email:
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Location: John Percival Building

Teaching Welsh to Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities: a pathway to intercultural citizenship

With expanded devolution powers & an increasingly multi-ethnic society in Wales, there is demand for re-conceptualizing national citizenship in Britain (Kymlicka 2011). Claims concerning a transformation from an ethnic to civic nationalism in Wales raise further doubts regarding the inclusivity of the Welsh language. My research considers this question: to what extent can the minority Welsh language facilitate the integration of immigrant and ethnic minorities into a ‘civic’ Wales?

The theoretical argument considers various modes of cultural accommodation such as multiculturalism and interculturalism and the preferred choice for the Welsh language. It further compares and contrasts British and Welsh government policies on citizenship and social cohesion.

With focus on the bidirectional nature of integration, fieldwork on attitudes of host and immigrant communities in Wales will be conducted. Furthermore, research conducted in French second language teaching centres in Québec will aim to provide recommendations for linguistic integration of immigrants in the Welsh for Adults Centres in Wales.

In this respect, it will respond to the call for a new citizenship programme and consider the extent to which immigrants can be motivated to learn the minority language in a majority English framework. In light of growth in Welsh education, will a multicultural or intercultural integration provide the answer?

Supervisors: Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost and Dr Jeremy Evas


2012: AHRC Scholarship in Celtic Studies
2013: Scholarship from Association internationale des études québécoises (l’AIEQ), Conseil supérieur de la langue française (CSLF) a Centre d'études ethniques des universités montréalaises (CEETUM)


Higham, G., Bermingham, N. & Lamarre, P. 2014. Immigrants as new speakers: issues of integration, belonging and legitimacy, paper in Sociolinguistics Symposium 20, Jyväskylä, Finland, 17 July.

Higham, G. 2014. Teaching Welsh to ESOL students: lessons from the Québec model of intercultural “citizenship”? yn Mallows, D. ed. British Council Innovations Series: Language and Integration, London: British Council. (forthcoming)

Higham, G. 2013. Hep Brezhoneg, Breizh Ebet? Cenedl Heb iaith, Cenedl Heb Galon? Festival Interceltique v Eisteddfod yn Tu Chwith (39), July.

Higham, G. & Willis, G. 2012. Bringing Welsh to the Community in 2012, Big Issue: Cymru, 26 November, t. 18-18

Higham, G. 2012. Kate Bosse-Griffiths; Dy bobl di fydd my mhobl i / Thy people shall be my people in Görner, R. ed. Yearbook for Anglo-German Literary Criticism, Intellectual History and Cultural Transfers / Jahrbuch für britisch-deutsche Kulturbeziehungen, Boston: Walter de Gruyter, t.160-191