With the theme ‘Language’ research is mentioned that studies the topic of language in different settings, such as asylum and migration procedure, educational services and health care, with specific attention for the relation between language and inclusion.

Institutional multilingualism in settings of asylum and migration: a linguistic-ethnographic study of global English use in lingua franca and interpreter-mediated interaction at the Belgian asylum authorities

Description: The project aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of global English use in dialogic and triadic asylum interaction at the Belgian asylum agencies. It provides a linguistic-ethnographic analysis based on interview data (both authentic asylum interview data and semi-structured interviews with asylum applicants, officers and interpreters) gathered at different asylum agencies. Adopting an integrated approach to the participation structure of the asylum encounter (incorporating both dialogic and triadic interaction strategies and research perspectives), this study aims to contribute to both fundamental and applied research insights into global English use in migration encounters where English has no official status. The project will explore how such different practices of multilingualism pragmatically and indexically impact on the interaction between the participants and by extension how they affect the discursive construction of socio-legal identities in the asylum process.
Promoter(s): Katrijn Maryns
Researcher(s): Katrijn Maryns
Department / Research group:
Department of Linguistics
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Language and employability. A sociolinguistic ethnography of the activation of migrant job seekers in Flanders

Description: This project proposes a sociolinguistic ethnographic analysis of the activation trajectories in which migrant job seekers are inserted in Flemish Belgium. The analysis aims at acquiring insight in the role of language in the different stages of these trajectories, focusing on the relation between small-scale interactional practices, policy requirements and public macro-discourses on integration, linguistic diversity and work.
Promoter(s): Sarah Van Hoof, Alfonso Del Percio
Researcher(s): Sara Nyssen
Department / Research group: MULTIPLES
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Legal and administrative assistance to asylum-seekers in Belgium

Description: The project’s main objective is to strengthen protection standards for asylum seekers through safeguarding procedural rights and improving access to qualitative legal advice. The project aims to achieve the following outcomes: - Improved quality of legal assistance and information for asylum seekers, including for those in border detention facing risks of refoulement. - Improved access to a qualitative asylum procedure in Belgium. - Deepened scientific knowledge on legal, linguistic and other aspects of the asylum procedure, with a particular focus on detention. To achieve these outcomes, we will develop a new dynamic of legal and administrative aid to individual asylum cases, bringing together the expertise of experienced lawyers, legal practitioners and academics from different disciplines and putting this shared knowledge at the disposal of lawyers and other practitioners to improve the quality of the legal aid they deliver to asylum seekers.
Promoter(s): Ellen Desmet, Katrijn Maryns
Researcher(s): Marjan Claes
Department / Research group: Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication - MULTIPLES
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Multilingualism and the social media when used in the diaspora: practices of code selection/switching by users of Iranian descent in Belgium

Description: The project investigates aspects of multilingualism on Facebook, in particular code selection/code switching by language users of Iranian descent in a Belgium. The focus is three-fold: (i) the distributional salience of the various languages used, (ii) their functional role in the interactional architecture of social media, (iii) the connections with the construction of a diasporic space.
Promoter(s): Slembrouck Stef, De Bot Kees
Researcher(s): Elmianvari Azadeh
Department / Research group: English Studies
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Refugee for sale? A multi-methodological research project on international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies towards the Syrian and Central African displacement crises (2011-2018)​.

Description: While the world is currently facing one of modern times’ worst refugee crises, many countries are implementing restrictive refugee policies. Hence, public communication has become essential for refugee organizations' operations. As (international) refugee organizations significantly contribute to the public perception on refugees, this project critically investigates their public communication strategies towards the recent Syrian and Central African crises. We pay particular attention to (1) the production process by means of interviews with refugee organizations, (2) the practices of representing refugees, and (3) the reception of this communication by citizens, refugees and journalists. Apart from its topical nature and relevance for a better understanding of the political, economic and cultural dimensions involved in these organizations' public communication, this project provides a significant empirical contribution to key debates in the field of international communication.
Promoter(s): Stijn Joye
Researcher(s): David Ongenaert
Department / Research group: Department of Communication Sciences
Faculty: Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

Research project Evaluation

Description: This project aims at an evidence-based evaluation of the multilingual (in 14 languages) website of Sensoa, the Flemish expertise centre for sexual health. The website ( has been designed for newcomers, asylum seekers and people without residence permit and also serves as support tool for professionals in counselling and training. The project addresses three major goals: (1) evaluating the multilingual website; (2) evaluating its current implementation strategy and (3) formulating specific recommendations to improve the quality of the website and its implementation. Drawing from a combination of research methods (context analysis, digital survey, interviews, video-taped interaction and subsequent benchmark sessions), this project envisions an evidence-based answer to a number of research questions relating to communication about sexual health with vulnerable migrants.
Promoter(s): Katrijn Maryns, Ellen Van Praet, July De Wilde
Researcher(s): Pauline Van Daele
Department / Research group: Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication - MULTIPLES
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Secure bilingual capital. Language, ethnicity and the making of security officers in Brussels

Description: Since the suicide attacks in Brussels in 2016, the government of the Dutch-French bilingual Brussels Capital Region decided to hire 107 additional security officers for the public transport system. While French is Brussels’ lingua franca, Dutch-French bilingualism is still formally required for security officers employed by public services. However, only 7.5% of Brussels job seekers have a good knowledge of Dutch combined with French. Therefore, a training program was set up offering job seekers the chance to learn the Dutch required. Based on participant observations, semi-structured interviews and informal conversations with teachers, organizers and candidate security officers at a Brussels training center, this project explores whether and how the investment in and the significance of language(s) in Brussels is intertwined with forms of gatekeeping, social stratification, and racialization.
Promoter(s): Sarah Van Hoof, Alfonso del Percio
Researcher(s): Sibo Kanobana
Department / Research group: Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy