We are very close to the end of 2017, and I feel it is time to reflect on all the achievements of this very exciting year.
How did it all start? On a cold January day, after an inspiring chat with a colleague from Trinity College, I decided to restart a previous project which I had abandoned in 2010, when I left Ireland to take up a post at the University of Reading. The project was called Bilingual Forum Ireland at the time, but I wanted this new project to have a brand new name and a new mission. I had learned a lot from the experience of setting up Bilingual Forum Ireland and later a branch of Bilingualism Matters at the University of Reading, and I wanted to find a name that would reflect this new idea.
During an evening of brainstorming with my friend Giovanni Giusti, a multi-talented Italian man who happens to live on my street, I decided on the name Mother Tongues. Within days, Claudia, Clarissa, Laura, Aga and Jennifer were in love with the idea and decided to come on board. But what was this idea? It took us many meetings, and many long afternoons of brainstorming to decide on a plan for 2017. Since then, we have run a series of short courses entitled “Raising bilingual children: a practical course for parents”, we have organised monthly meetings to provide families with a space where they can mingle, but also ask questions about bilingualism, and we have recently started to offer talks to schools and preschools.
I think that the best part of 2017 has been meeting a huge number of incredible people. Each person has shaped the work of Mother Tongues in a unique way.
I must thank Aga, Claudia, Jennifer and Clarissa for their continued support, for their availability, for their insightful advice on pretty much everything, and especially for giving up their free time, often at the weekend. Monica deserves a special mention, for putting up with my lack of business planning, and for believing in Mother Tongues. Elena was the last person to join us in August, and she has since managed to catch up, meaning that in 4 months she has put into Mother Tongues more work than the rest of us collectively put into it in 12 months. Elena is the person behind our websites, blog, videos, logos, nice images, our FundIt campaign, our Festival, our flyers… and she keeps smiling! She is truly fantastic, and I don’t know what we would do without her.
Our latest good news concern our festival, which will take place in February 2018. We have just heard that our FundIt Campaign has been successful and we have also received funding from the Arts Council of Ireland (www.artscouncil.ie).
Last but not least, Mother Tongues Festival has been awarded the European Year of Cultural Heritage label, as 2018 has been designated as the European Year of Cultural Heritage by the European Commission.
We have been putting a lot of effort into producing an exciting and diverse programme for the festival, and we are glad that our efforts have been rewarded; thanks to the funding we will be able to make this event a real success.
I hope that our friends, our members, our supporters and all the multilingual families all over Ireland will continue to believe in our work. I look forward to a 2018 full of great surprises! Thank you all, Grazie,
go raibh maith agat
Director of Mother Tongues