Young Translators Project


Biddenham students collaborate with university as part of a resourch project.

From October 2021 to November 2023, Biddenham school, The Open University and Oxford Brookes University were very pleased to collaborate with researchers working on the NEW ABC Project. New ABC stands for Networking the Educational World: Across Boundaries for Community building. The project is funded by the European Commission and involves 9 countries across Europe who are all doing different activities in learning settings like schools. All of the activities were focused on improving the educational lives of children and young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Here at Biddenham, our students got to take part in a range of exciting activities. The main activity was the creation of The Young Translators Club. A group of 15 students (Years 7 and 8) participated in an after-school club for young people who speak multiple languages and/or translate for others in school, family and community settings. The club was formed as part of the Empowering Young Translators (EYT) activity aimed at exploring young translating as a caring practice and understand how it impacts on young people’s wellbeing.
For a whole year, the club members worked closely with the research team to learn about research, produce original artwork and record interviews with each other about their experiences of speaking different languages and translating for others. They learnt many new skills such as interviewing and mapping methods, drawing and digital artmaking, podcast recording and website co-production, among others.

A central focus of the club was the co-production of the Young Translators Club website. Students were involved in designing the website and producing content (text and images) to showcase all their work and share with others their important stories. In the picture to the right, you can see what the front page of the children’s website looks like. We were incredibly impressed with their skills at developing the website and the way they spoke about the different activities.
They were also involved in the co-production of an advice leaflet titled ‘A guide to being a young translator in School’, offering advice and recommendations by the students, to better support other young translators in educational spaces.
A smaller group of students were also given the opportunity to co-present to the school’s senior leadership team about the NEW ABC project. During the presentation they talked about their experience of being part of the Young Translators Club and the types of activities they were involved in. They were also invited to offer feedback and suggestions on how to better support multilingual and newly arrived students in School. Club members also participated in end-of-project feedback activities sharing their thoughts about the Young Translators Club as a ‘safe space to talk about your experiences’, ‘learn about different cultures’ and ‘make new friends’.

Students at Biddenham were also invited to take part in other activities as part of the Empowering Young Translators project. A group of students in Year 7 participated in a storyboard competition aimed at sharing their experiences of translating through drawing. You can see an example of their beautiful artwork to the right. The competition was organised by Young Translators Club members and supported by Ms Abigail Speight (Head of Year 7) and a student volunteer.

Another group of students in Years 11 and 12 signed up to take part in a field trip and photography art workshop session led by artist Pia Jaime at the Cartoon Museum in London. During the session students learned how to use the cyanotype technique and created personal artwork, like the one you can see to the left. Students in Years 12 and 13 were invited to a workshop, delivered by one of the research team, about going to university. Another group of students in Years 7 -11 participated in interviews with the research team. The project was also supported by a student advisory board (Years 9-11) and would not have been possible without the support and care of Ms Katherine Mason, English as an Additional Language Co-ordinator.

The team leave you with this creative celebration of spoken languages by the Club Members.

Meet the NEW ABC UK Team

You can find out more about the NEW ABC Project here.