Over the last four years we have been video-interviewing people in order to create an archive that documents the polylingual and transcultural nature of Devon. It also allows University of Exeter students, part of that community, a hands-on experience of interviewing, subtitling and being interviewed. Most recently this opportunity has become an optional part of the curriculum for final-year students of Modern Languages and Cultures at Exeter, thanks to the support of the Department and the Education Incubator.

The aim of these interviews is to find out more about experiences of migration from people who have moved to Devon from other countries, but also about the experiences of people in Devon learning and speaking languages.

Our videos offer the opportunity to observe how a personal story is told, and how it is shaped or influenced by the way we translate ourselves from one culture to another. In the first stage we conducted the interviews in each person's mother tongue to facilitate the expression of personal feelings and recognize polylingual Devon.

When we have the opportunity we have occasionally reversed the interviews, and members of the public have interviewed our own students. We encouraged the students to speak in the interviewer's mother tongue to foster a sense of welcome and openness in the Devon community.

The project takes inspiration from a previous project called 'Italians in Exeter', which will also feature in this archive. It is supported by Danielle Hipkins, whose research focuses on memories of culture, Valentina Todino, community liaison officer and honorary research fellow, Alice Farris, who has led its integration into the curriculum, Eliana Maestri, an expert on translation and migration, and Susana Afonso, whose research includes an interest in language and migration.This is our first video, made up after interviewing members of the Italian community living in Devon, 2017.

It has been supported by the University of Exeter Annual Student Fund, Being Human Festival, 2018; Devon Development Education; the Translation! Festivals 2017 & 2019; the University of Exeter Community Engagement Fund, the Vice Chancellor's Discretionary Fund, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the Education Incubator. Alongside many undergraduate and postgraduate students at Exeter, visiting Erasmus plus students from the University of Turin have also played a fundamental role in preparing material for this archive, and we would like to thank: Laura Bonanno, Katia Giordano and Cettina Monteleone. We also have invaluable technical support, in film-making from David Salas of Lone Wolf Club Films, and in IT, from Rich Holding of Exeter Digital Humanities.

This is our first video, made in 2017. The interviews featured here were recorded with some members of the Italian community living in Devon.

This video, made in 2018 with director David Salas, is a result of the interviews done by our students during Being Human Festival and it features interviews with speakers of different languages and living in Devon. 

This is the video that has been inspired by the set of interviews done online during the lockdown in 2020 by our students with members of the Devon community speaking other languages. Director David Salas. You can also find the full interviews in our archive.