In recent decades, universities have tended to augment the number and the scope of academic meetings. In one sense, this is to be welcomed. The University is about people. Scholars and researchers, lecturers and students, need to communicate. But the size of international events and the obligation to ensure that papers are to be handed in before the actual conferences have tended to push us all into a frenzy of activity that is not entirely healthy for the contemplative life. While these kinds of events are good for networking and finding out about what other colleagues and disciplines are engaged in, they do not prepare a fertile terrain for long-term rigorous research in groups. They do not create rich long-term research relationships. They do not create the conditions required for that engaged critical thinking that must form part of any sustained activity in research circles.
For this reason, REP does not focus on promoting international conferences. Though it does engage in them, we prefer to set up series of International Workshops that are likely to help us generate ongoing exchanges between scholars from different countries specializing in various languages. This has enabled us to make friends in Lublin, Prague, Belfast, Paris, Berlin, Canberra, and Edinburgh. And various members meet regularly and introduce new people to each other. In Rouen, REP focuses on putting rich and diverse multilingual videoconferences on line. These are designed to be pedagogical ressources used by stuents and researchers around the world. Our partners work closely with us to put together their publishing projects. Often a REP book project will involve several International Workshops with a handful of researchers rather than a single big event in which numerous academics converge without any plans to establish a sustained dialogue. Though we are interested in broadening the scope of our activities, REP’s philosophy means that we are primarily engaged in two forms of activities,
Encounters & Videoconferences
o Meetings with scholars from different countries who converge to debate a chosen ethnolinguistics question. The Rouen Workshop on Space in 2014, and Rouen’s conference Home and Homeland in 2015, and The Prague Conference on European Cultural Linguistics planned for 2016 fit into this form of events. They enable scholars to come together, to ask questions, and compare and contrast methodological approaches. These events are filmed and put on line, so as to act as a stimulus for ethnolinguists around the world.
o The work REP is engaged in has been evolving over the past four years and has already enabled us to sign book contracts with prestigious publishers in English-speaking countries (Cambridge University Press, Edinburgh University Press, Ottawa University Press). Often our partner universities already have a book project in mind when they come to us and suggest we launch an online event with videoconferences designed to explore related subjects.
o The Books REP is interested in producing cannot include the publication of PhD theses or conference papers. Those kinds of publications are already over-represented in academia. REP is interested in setting up long-term partnerships with groups to produce books written by two, three, or at the very most, four authors. Our books will include a synthesis of existing scholarship, case studies, and glossaries of key terms from the field. Limiting the number of authors enables us to ensure coherence in terms of content, form, style and structure. And Publishers are thereby able to market more easily the final book by targeting a specific niche market to which the book makes a clear and erudite contribution. The REP website and our videoconferences support and promote these publications. And they offer us scope for exploring avenues opened up in these publications in greater detail.