The project LITERATURE ACROSS FRONTIERS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN aims to develop strategies to advance intercultural dialogue in the wider Euro-Mediterranean region, and to raise awareness of its cultural and linguistic diversity by means of fostering literary exchange across the Mediterranean, and in particular between European countries whose literatures are written in less widely used languages on the one hand, and Arab countries and Turkey on the other. The project consists of two distinct but interconnected strands of activities:
a) Strategy workshop and conference
Two workshops will be held as part of a two-year strategy development exercise to follow up recommendations formulated at two conferences organized by the LAF Platform in Istanbul in 2011: “Literary Exchange and Translation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region: Challenges of the Next Decade” and “Writing, Translating and Publishing in Minority Languages in the Euro-Mediterranean Region”, and at a further workshop held in Beirut in July 2012. The LAF series of consultation meetings bringing together cultural operators working in the sector of books, literature, translation and literary events on both sides of the Mediterranean, will culminate in the closed conference “Towards a Strategy for Literary Exchange and Translation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region” that will address broader issues of cultural policy, the role of culture in external policy at national and EU level, mobility of cultural works and actors, and the relationship between local and global cultural initiatives, in order to position the needs and demands of our sector in a broader context and draw up a strategy for cooperation across the Mediterranean. The events are planned by a LAF Euro-Med working group.
b) Developing models for training of young literary translators in the South and East Mediterranean
Two week-long training workshops for young literary translators applying models developed in a previous pilot project and addressing the lack of trained translators working from less widely used European languages will be implemented in Egypt and in Turkey. Apart from developing short-term intensive training models, the workshops will aim to establish a sustainable long-term programme attached to tertiary educational institutions in the two countries. The training will adopt a practical approach, focusing on translation skills and introduction to literary translation as a profession, and encouraging participants to take up a specific translation project.
The project aims to broaden and strengthen the informal Euro-Med network brought together by the LAF platform and use the outcomes of the LAF 2011-2013 conferences and workshops as a basis for the development of strategies to increase literary exchange and cooperation in the region, develop informal training models for young translators and networking opportunities for cultural operators.
The broad objectives are:
Training of young literary translators into Arabic and Turkish; improving the quality of literary translation and publishing in Arabic and Turkish; increasing the amount of literary translation into Arabic and Turkish from European languages – especially less widely spoken languages – and improving the quality of these publications, as a result of exchanging and implementing industry best-practice with all actors in the translation chain; facilitating high quality literary events and training schemes around the region based on the expanded and strengthened network that is at the heart of this proposal.