Addressing linguistic, cultural, and digital hegemonies in Virtual Exchange

Addressing linguistic, cultural, and digital hegemonies in Virtual Exchange
12 May 2021, 3.00pm - 4.30pm

Mirjam Hauck (Open University) will argue that Virtual Exchange (VE) provides the ideal setting for promoting critical agency and a sustainable approach to developing language, intercultural and digital skills (Hauck, 2019; Helm, 2014). VE is a practice, informed and supported by research, that consists of sustained, technology-enabled, people-to-people education programmes or activities in which constructive communication and interaction takes place between individuals or groups who are geographically separated and/or from different cultural backgrounds, with the support of educators or facilitators. VE combines the deep impact of intercultural dialogue and exchange with the broad reach of digital technology (EVOLVE, 2019).

The challenge lies in addressing not only issues of language and culture in such a way as to avoid linguistic and cultural hegemonies, but also in addressing issues of digital literacy so as to overcome digital inequality and marginalisation (Satar & Hauck, in press). Mirjam Hauck proposes this can be achieved, through VE tasks designed to develop a critical lens through which language learners examine linguistic and non-linguistic features of digital media, their biases, and assumptions, in order to verify information and access the truth (Darvin, 2017).

To illustrate the suggested approach she will be drawing on examples from exchanges carried out in the context of the EU ERASMUS Plus-funded Evidence Validated Online Learning through Virtual Exchange (EVOLVE) project: 

Biography: Dr. Mirjam Hauck is Associate Head for Internationalisation, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the Open University/UK and a Senior Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy. She has published widely on the use of technologies for the learning and teaching of languages and cultures, in virtual exchange contexts in particular. Her work covers aspects such as learner and teacher autonomy, intercultural communicative competence, and critical digital literacy. She presents regularly at conferences, seminars, and workshops worldwide. She is the President of the European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL), serves as Associate Editor of the CALL Journal and is a member of the editorial board of ReCALL and LLT. She is also a founding board member of

This event is part of the Digital Modern Languages seminar series convened by Naomi Wells (IMLR) and Paul Spence (KCL).


Naomi Wells
020 7862 8832