Creative Work from ‘The Space in Between’ workshop led by Outranspo

The Space in Between: Thinking Translation in Creation Workshop


On Friday the 30th of June the Outranspo collective organised a creative writing with translation workshop as part of “The Space in Between: Thinking Translation in Creation” conference. As a result, we produced a sound translation of ‘Sonnet 24’ by Joachim Du Bellay. We managed to translate the sonnet up until the last five verses, as we only had one hour!

OUTRANSPO representatives: Irène Gayraud, Santiago Artozqui, Lily Robert-Foley

‘Sonnet’, Joachim Du Bellay (1549):

Piteuse voix, qui ecoutes mes pleurs,

Et qui errant entre rochiers et bois

Avecques moy, m’as semblé maintesfoys

Avoir pitié de mes tristes douleurs.

Voix qui tes plainz mesles à mes clameurs,

Mon dueil au tien, si appeller tu m’oys

Olive Olive: et Olive est ta voix,

Et m’est avis qu’avecques moy tu meurs.

Seule je t’ay pitoyable trouvée.

O noble Nymphe! en qui (peult estre) encores

L’antique feu de nouveau s’evertue.

Pareille amour nous avons eprouvée,

Pareille peine aussi nous souffrons ores.

Mais plus grande est la beaulté qui me tue.


Our final sound translation, minus the last five verses:

Pity us vice, quay echo may purr

Achy air and enter rushing, here is a boa!

Havoc, um, wham assembly man t’ fora

A war pit, yeah! Do make tryst duller

Wacky tape, plan male’s amen clamour

Mundane notion: sea apple ate tuna

O leave a leaf: alleviate a void,

Aim at a vicar vacuum a tumour,

Soul, jet a pee toy able to travail.




The Space in Between: Thinking Translation in Creation (29th-30th of June 2017)

Symposium and Workshop 
29th-30th of June 2017, Lancaster University, FASS Building, Main Room

What happens when artists and writers experiment with translation in their works? What happens when we use translation creatively as a tool for language and intercultural learning? Many multilingual writers use translation, either consciously and unconsciously, in their artistic manipulation of language. Other artists use translation as a way to critique the cultural hegemonies of their contexts of production, or to portray their relationship to languages. As well as being a powerful tool of creative expression, thinking about translation more creatively can also open more avenues for language learning and intercultural dialogue. This colloquium invites researchers in linguistics and literature, creative writers and artists to reflect on the creative role of translation in theirs and others’ practices, but also to explore the affective and philosophically challenging aspects of translation as an intercultural practice in their respective fields. The event will consist of a study day followed by a workshop led by OUTRANSPO.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Dr. Simon Coffey (King’s College London), Prof. Alison Phipps (UNESCO chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the ArtsUniversity of Glasgow)

Creative writing with translation workshop with: OUTRANSPO (


29th of June

10-10.30 Coffee

10.30-12.00 Translation, Embodiment and Spatial Practices

Lily Robert-Foley (Lecturer at Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 and member of OUTRANSPO) – ‘The Mass Transit Hypothesis: Translation Procedures for an Untranslatable Extra-terrestrial Language’

Dr. Delphine Grass (Lecturer at Lancaster University) –‘Translation, Embodiment and Artistic Expression in the Works of Hans/Jean Arp’

Katy Stewart (PhD researcher at Sheffield University) – ‘Migration and Languaging in ‘Francophone’ African Cinema: Affect, Identity and Family Ties in Spaces of Translation’

12.00-1.30 lunch

1.30-3.00 Translation as a Creative Practice (with an exhibition by Elise Aru)

Dr. Elise Aru (Visual artist and Translator) – ‘Translating Dreams, Creating a Reading Experience’

Dr. Santiago Artozqui (Member of OUTRANSPO and Director of ATLAS) – ‘What is Outranspo?’

Dr. Heather Connelly (Visual Artist and Research Fellow at Birmingham City University) – ‘Translation Zone(s): Linguistic Hospitality’

3.00 – 3.15 Coffee

3.15 – 4.00 – KEYNOTE: Simon Coffey (Senior Lecturer in Language Education at King’s College London) – ‘Minding the gap: Translation and creativity for a new vision of language learning’

30th of June

9.30-10 – Coffee

10.00-10.45 – KEYNOTE: Prof. Alison Phipps (UNESCO Chair: Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts/Glasgow University) and Naa Densua Tordzro – ‘Dancing in Translation: Researching Multilingually at the Borders of the Body, Language, Law and the State’.

11.00 -12.30 OUTRANSPO Creative Writing and Translation Workshop (with Irène Gayraud, poet, translator and lecturer at Paris Sorbonne and Santiago Artozqui, member of OUTRANSPO and Director of ATLAS)

The Outranspo creative workshop, led by Irène Gayraud and Santiago Artozqui, will invite participants to produce collectively a “soundtranslation” or homophonique translation. In the workshop, a French text will be translated into English taking into account the sound rather than the meaning of the text. The various suggestions and ideas of the participant will be discussed and collected to produce a whole new poem. A “retrotranslation” of the meaning of the new poem in English towards the French will also be envisaged.

No knowledge of French is required to participate.

12.30 Lunch

Registration for conference: Contact Dr. Delphine Grass –

Registration for workshop:

This event is organised in partnership with Authors and the World:

This event is made possible thanks to the financial support of the Yves Hervouet Research Fund and Lancaster University.

Art, Literature and the Multilingual Spaces of post-Brexit Democracy

Cultural Studies . French Studies . Post 19th Century Literary Studies

Art, Literature and the Multilingual Spaces of post-Brexit Democracy

Published in: Edinburgh University Press Blog on August 7 2017

Delphine Grass portrait
Delphine Grass

The notion of “sovereignty” has been made central to the debate heading toward Brexit, but what does it mean? Does ‘getting one’s country back’ mean recovering it from immigration, neoliberal capitalism, or both? Does it mean closing one’s borders and one’s mind from other cultures, and other voices? In the debates leading towards Brexit, the number of articles peddling the myth that immigration and non-native speakers lowered the standard of social cohesion of Great Britain to a dangerous level was quite noticeable. This was compounded by the rise of xenophobic attacks in the UK since the referendum, notably against people who were heard speaking a foreign language in public.

This is of particular interest to me because, while the notion of voice is symbolically central to democracy, much about democracy is about how we create participatory space through language and dialogue. Jacques Derrida goes as far as to say that democracies is a bare space where the self-same, and therefore the idea of the proper, of territoriality, is lacking, which to me suggests that this dialogue should take place between more than one language. In the special issue of The Multilingual Spaces of Francophone Writing which I co-edited with Dr. Charlotte Baker, several articles deal with the question of multilingualism from the perspective of politics and ideological power. In ‘Creole Language and Space: Entertaining Patrick Chamoiseau’s Texaco’ for example, Stanka Radovic shows how, in Chamoiseau’ novel, the use of more than one language is used to make political and territorial claims in the context of Martinique’s colonial past. Set in a Fort-de-France slum, Texaco makes visible the relationship between colonialism, power and language while contrasting the subjugating power held by French over its former colonies with Creole’s capacity to host or ‘entertain’ other languages. As other articles show in the Nottingham French Studies issue I recently editied, art and philosophy can fashion language as a tool for resisting powerful territorial and political hegemonies; much like, for better or for worse, Romanticism once played an immense role in supporting a particular ideology of language to prop up nationalism in Germany.

NFS summer 2017 cover
The Multilingual Spaces of French and Francophone Writing, Nottingham French Studies, Volume 56.2, 2017

Equally, Laura Lonsdale’s essay ‘Jorge Semprun and the languages of democracy’ show how literature can fashion languages into powerful tools for remembering the past and resisting totalitarian oppression. In her essay, she shows that translation was central to Semprun’s understanding of democracy as a fluid, ever-changing and re-negotiated space of co-existence between a plurality of voices and memories. It is the same attitude to translation which, as Muris-Prime and O’Connor’s argue, opened the way for a new understanding of language within French poetry in the late-nineteenth and twentieth century. For many multilingual writers indeed, translation is seen to be at the centre of all human communication rather than a peripheral or unfortunate side-effect of language diversity. The importance given to translation by these writers has consequence on their understanding of the relationship between subjectivity and voice – as Eric Robertson’s overview of the impact of multilingualism on Modernism and avant-garde writing demonstrates. As I put forward in my own work, in order to have a healthy public sphere, democracies need to challenge the monolingual paradigm maintained by nationalisms. The two modernist poets my article focus on, Yvan Goll and Eugene Jolas, were both made refugees by an aggressive monolingual politics of nationalism which made life in their borderland, multilingual region of Lorraine impossible. For them, the question of language and naming became central to the construction of citizenship in the context of mass-displacement provoked by the Second World War, a concern which is echoed across many of modernism’s deconstruction of the relationship between voice and language in traditional narration.

As the 2017 summer special issue of Nottingham French Studies as a whole shows, if languages are not spoken in a political vacuum, they are never just the product of their political contexts: for better or for worse, they can be shaped by literature and the arts to resist jingoistic nationalisms and cultural oppression. It is about time literary research acknowledged that a writer’s tool is not a neutral medium of expression, but an object in itself fashioned by discourse and ideology, a territory already occupied by communal imagination in its own right. Failing to do this runs the risk of over-romanticising literature as a linguistic expression of subjectivity while omitting to examine the power-relations at play in the discourse surrounding those very languages.

Delphine Grass is a lecturer in French and Comparative Literature at Lancaster University. Her current research project focuses on the politics and poetics of multilingual creativity in the arts and literature. She is particularly interested in the multilingual works of twentieth-century art and poetry from the Alsace-Lorraine borderland, on which she has published several articles. A multilingual poet and translator, she is also the author of a number of papers on aspects of modernity in the works on Michel Houellebecq. She is co-translator, with Timothy Mathews, of his poetry collection Le Sens du Combat into English.

Our special issue: ‘The Multilingual Spaces of French and Francophone Studies’ is out!

‘The Multilingual Spaces of French and Francophone Studies’, in Nottingham French Studies, ed. by Delphine Grass and Charlotte Baker, 56.2 (2017)

Free first page



Introduction                                                                                                                                                   DELPHINE GRASS & CHARLOTTE BAKER

Writing in Tongues: Multilingual Poetry and Self-Translation in France from Dada to the Present                                                                                                                                              ERIC ROBERTSON

Creole Language and Space: Entertaining Patrick Chamoiseau’s Texaco                                STANKA RADOVIC

Jorge Semprun and the Languages of Democracy                                                                      LAURA LONSDALE

Lire le Relief : Distance Optique et Histoire de la Langue Vulgaire entre Raymond Queneau et Pascale Casanova

« D’un Monde Lointain, Etrange, Etranger… » : Arp Traducteur et la Langue Maternelle du Poète                                                                                                                                               AGATHE MAREUGE

Poetry as a foreign language in Heather Dohollau and André du Bouchet            CLEMENCE O’CONNOR

‘Trouver une Langue’ : Rimbaud et L’éthique de la Traduction                                           CAMILLE MURIS-PRIME

L’écriture en Langue Etrangère comme Pratique et comme Poétique : Le Cas de deux Ecrivains « Francographes », Nancy Huston et Andreï Makine                                                 ALICE DUHAN

The Democratic Languages of Exile: Reading Eugene Jolas and Yvan Goll’s American Poetry with Jacques Derrida and Hannah Arendt