Language policy plays an important role in the administration and delivery of public services, especially in jurisdictions with linguistically diverse and multi-ethnic communities. Access to bilingual public services is considered a basic right where linguistic minorities are present. To create equality and inclusiveness, policymakers must take language reforms in the administration of public services seriously. The Centre for Public Administration is an international leader in research on language policy. Within the Centre, Dr Michele Gazzola is working or has worked on three research projects that have both global and local impact.
The European Union’s approach to multilingualism in its own communications policy
This study by the European Parliament assesses the EU’s approach to multilingualism in its communications policy and proposes avenues for improvement. An innovative mixed methods approach is used to investigate compliance with multilingualism obligations and the language regimes and practices of EU institutions, bodies and agencies, especially on EU websites and social media. The fit with the linguistic skills of EU27 residents is also investigated. Policy recommendations are provided to protect and promote linguistic diversity and inclusion in the EU. The project is conducted between 2021 and 2022 by a consortium of universities led by the European Policies Research Centre Delft, with a total budget of about £80,000.
Institutional bilingualism in the ethnically mixed areas in Slovenia
The project “Institutional bilingualism in the ethnically mixed areas in Slovenia: evaluation of bilingualism bonus programme” is funded by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS - Javna agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije), and it is led by the Institute for Ethnic Studies in Ljubljana. The project is carried out between 2018 and 2023, with a total budget of about £212,000. It deals with the reform of the public administration in two regions in Slovenia where linguistic minorities are entitled to get bilingual public services.
Language policy for the Friulan language
This contract research project is funded by ARLEF - Agjenzie regjonâl pe lenghe furlane (Regional Agency for Friulian Language) in Udine, Italy. ARELF is a public body of the Autonomous Region of Friuli – Venezia Giulia that coordinates activities involving the safeguarding and promotion of the Friulian language in accordance with the guidelines provided by the regional authorities. The project is carried out between 2019 and 2022, with a budget of about £17,000. It deals with the design, implementation and evaluation of the new general language policy plan for the Friulian language (2021-2025).
Monitoring the main aspects of social and economic life using composite indicators
The project aimed at mapping and organising the most relevant socio-economic indices/indexes used at the international level to study and monitor central aspects of social and economic life, in particular equity and inclusion. It includes a review of indices of multilingualism and multiculturalism. The project was carried out in 2021 with a budget of $3,800, and it was funded by Esperantic Studies Foundation.
Inclusive multilingual public communication
The project’s goal was to review evidence about the effectiveness and fairness of language policies and practices related to communication between the public administration and linguistic minorities/ethnic groups residing in a country in a situation of emergency/crisis. This project took place in 2021 with a budget of £2,500, and was funded by the Research Recovery Fund of the Department for the Economy (NI).
Linguistic diversity and equality within the public administration
The project’s goal was to review academic literature dealing with the question of linguistic inequalities in the public administration, and with resulting policies. This project took place in 2021 with a budget of £2,500, and was funded by the Research Recovery Fund of the Department for the Economy (NI).
Linguistic minorities in the Autonomous Province of Trento
Dr Michele Gazzola is currently leading a research project with the Authority for Linguistic Minorities of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy. The project deals with the design of indicators that assist the Authority in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of language policies in favour of the linguistic minorities of the Province of Trento. The project is conducted in 2020, with a budget of about £ 7,200.
Managing multilingualism in the public administration
Dr Michele Gazzola has carried out research on multilingualism in the public sector as part of a project entitled: “Managing multilingualism in the public administration” that was funded by the German Academic Exchanges Service (Deutscher akademischer austauschdienst - DAAD) with about £8,500. It was a pilot project of three months carried out at the University of Ottawa in Canada. It studied in a comparative perspective selected aspects of the language policy in the federal public administration in Canada and Switzerland.