Inaugural Lecture "Translational Stories: it's somewhere here"

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar


This lecture is a meditation on place, attention and the imagination. It begins with a children’s school game in suburban Sydney and makes its way through online Russian media reports of the Beslan hostage-taking, a daily photo blog from south Manchester, and the deserts and deserted villages of the Qatar Peninsula, to a woman’s handwritten memoir from Old Lutheran German emigrant communities and an audio archive of conversations with accidental environmental activists here in Northern Ireland. In all of these, the transformative – translational – force of small, local, often fragile, stories can be felt.

Sue-Ann Harding joined the Centre for Translation and Interpreting at Queen’s University Belfast in 2017 and was appointed Professor in Translation and Intercultural Studies in 2021. Her research interests are diverse and eclectic, connected by a common thread of drawing on social narrative theory to investigate translation in a range of contexts, especially at sites of conflict and narrative contestation.

She has published, for example, on institutional literary translation efforts in Qatar to cultivate a literary and culturally-engaged population; Arabic and Russian translations of Frantz Fanon’s Les damnés de la terre; resonances between narrative and complexity theory; how collective memory of the Beslan hostage-taking has been mediatised by Russian state television; and on the relevance to translation and translation studies scholars of anthropologist Tim Ingold’s ideas on teaching and learning.

She is also the author of Beslan: Six Stories of the Siege (Manchester University Press, 2012) and An Archival Journey through the Qatar Peninsula: Elusive and Precarious (Palgrave Macmillan 2022), a subversive reading of archival sources that writes a more complicated story of one small place.
Period07 Dec 2023
Held atSchool of Arts, English and Languages
Degree of RecognitionLocal