Past Event details

Researching, Supervising and Working in and with Other Cultures and Languages

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Prof Pam Denicolo (University of Reading), Dr Julie Reeves (University of Southampton) and Dr Dawn Duke (University of Surrey)

Universities, being multi-cultural workplaces, present doctoral researchers and their supervisors and other supporters, no matter what their origins, with challenges related to negotiating mainly tacit or seldom articulated assumptions and customs. Further, academic researchers are likely to find their careers taking them to other universities or organisations, each with their own implicit ‘ways of doing things’ whether they be in the UK or further afield.

This workshop and discussion session will consider ways in which we can help colleagues to navigate transitions between institutions/organisations with different traditions and mores and to work more effectively, whatever the location, with people whose philosophies, beliefs, etiquettes and unspoken expectations may differ.  Examples and materials used in our own work will be shared and we would welcome colleagues with a range of international experience who are willing to disclose their own experience to help us all increase our understanding of the issue.





Dr Karen Ottewell (University of Cambridge)

Writing across cultures: supporting PG students whose first language is not English to develop their discipline-specific academic literacy

Kaplan noted in 1966 that just because you can write an essay in your L1 does not necessarily mean you can write one in an L2 and with it he founded the theory of contrastive rhetoric, which 50 years on, despite significant research in this area, still lacks a pedagogical framework. My experience of working with international postgraduate students at Cambridge has shown Kaplan’s conclusion to still hold true since the main difficulties they seem to face are not simply ‘language issues’, but far more the thornier issue of rhetorical transfer, since different cultures, both national and disciplinary, construct argument and express this in different ways. In my teaching I get students to reflect on what’s going on behind the writing so that they can consider the assumptions they are making about the construction and structure of argumentation in English – and this approach has proven to be instructive.

In this session I will present an overview of the theoretical principles which underpin this approach, followed by a discussion of practical strategies to support students to develop their written academic literacy.

Biographical Details

Karen is the Director of Academic Development & Training for International Students section at the University of Cambridge, which provides training to assist international students in further developing and honing the skills required to succeed in an English-speaking academic context.

Network: Postgraduate Issues
Date(s): Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Times: 11.00-16.00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier St, London N1 9BE
This event has expired

Event Files
File Details Download
Writing across cultures
Dr Karen Ottewell (University of Cambridge)
Writing across cultures ppt:
Dr Karen Ottewell (University of Cambridge) Presentation
Worldwise news
25/6/18: UCL Institute of
Inaugural Lecture: Professor Frans Berkhout
26th June 2018
Studentships available, MA in Heritage Management
Friday 6th July 18
HECU9 Contemporary Higher Education: Close Up Research in times of change
15-16 Nov 2018
SRHE membership benefits:
Engagement with
the global higher education research community…