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3rd All Partner Meeting at the Univeristy of Essex in Colchester

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November’ begins the popular English rhyme celebrating the thwarting of Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot in 1605. And what could be more memorably English than the distant crackle of fireworks and the damp, autumn smog of Bonfire Night that greeted those arriving from across Europe to take part, it has to be said, in nothing more sinister than the EU-sponsored, IntlUni 3rd All Partner Meeting at the University of Essex in Colchester.

2013.11.27 | Peter Stear, Julia Cooper & Mette Kastberg Lillemose

Those fortunate enough to arrive ‘in England’s green and pleasant land’ before nightfall would also have had a chance to glimpse ‘Constable country’, that quintessentially English pastoral idyll made famous by the eponymous romantic painter.

Our place of residence for the three-day conference was Wivenhoe House, built in the early 19th century by Major-General Francis Slater Reboe after returning from the Peninsula War and now a resplendent country house hotel in the grounds of Essex University. Looking out from the Georgian drawing rooms onto the park, one might have thought that little had changed since John Constable himself painted Wivenhoe Park in 1816.

Not yet visible in Constable’s oil painting of course, but much remarked upon by IntlUni participants were the ancient corks trees standing in all their contorted splendour in the grounds. These were apparently grown from seeds smuggled back home in the general’s boots and we were left pondering whether this climatically incongruent legacy of his Iberian adventure was emblematic of English eccentricity or a yearning for the sunnier climes of Europe. Perhaps both.

Inside Wivenhoe House, the serious business had already begun with the meeting of the IntlUni Management Committee on Tuesday afternoon, thereby preparing the ground for the 3rd Partner Meeting, which would involve closing down Work Packages 2-3 and making the transition to Work Package 4. Arriving in good time for dinner that same evening, the work package leaders were able to informally exchange ideas in advance of their Wednesday session together with the Management Committee.

The next day, ten of us plotted the way forward under IntlUni Coordinator Karen Lauridsen’s expert guidance, ironing out definitions and finalizing the grid of challenges to be worked through and tested in the full partner meeting on Thursday. That evening, with the remaining partner representatives having arrived in the afternoon, we were all formally welcomed by Professor Roger Hawkins, Head of the Department of Language and Linguistics at Essex. Special praise went to Gladis García-Soza, University of Essex partner representative on the project and responsible for hosting the event. Another excellent dinner followed and once again provided an ideal opportunity for us to reacquaint ourselves and for the new partner representatives to join the fold.

A series of group discussions and plenary sessions took up all of Thursday and involved validating the draft catalogue with reference to the narratives submitted from the follow-up interviews. An early start on Friday curtailed an open-end to the formal full partner dinner that evening and as is now tradition on the last day, IntlUni Project Manager Mette Kastberg Lillemose and Karen Lauridsen sent us on our way with an overview of the research, administrative and dissemination activities that lie ahead. The onus will now be on gleaning examples of successful practice from within our respective partner universities and with this in mind we left ‘Constable country’ behind in eager anticipation of the next All Partner Meeting at Lausanne University in May 2014.


Meeting, Conference, Workshop
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Peter Stear, Julia Cooper & Mette Kastberg Lillemose

Revised 20.11.2017