It is rare to get the opportunity to thoroughly discuss and calibrate academic ideas.
A Short-term Scientific Mission at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in March supported by the COST network on new speakers made it possible for me to spend a week collaborating with management committee member Jürgen Jaspers, and for creating a space for focused discussions.
The combination of dedicated interaction and writing was indeed a fruitful kick-off for what we hope will be an exciting publication resulting from the network activities. The specific aim of the STSM to Brussels was to collaborate with Jürgen Jaspers on the preparation of a special issue and the writing of our joint introductory paper for this publication.
Jürgen is associate professor of Dutch linguistics. His vivid and inspirational research focuses on ethnographic and interactional discourse analysis in relation to education, urban multilingualism and linguistic policy making - much in tune with my own research interests and approach.
I had the pleasure of organizing the panel on ‘Sociolinguistics in a languagised world’ with him at the 2nd International Symposium on New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe (COST Action) in Barcelona back in November, and the idea of the special issue came about as a result of this.