Community Cafe

Community Café Project

The project will address a particular problem: the scarcity of up-to-date, online resources for community languages. The aim of the project is to work together to co-create a community collection of online language and cultural materials which will significantly enhance existing materials to support community languages.


May, 2010 - March, 2011

Key contact(s):

Kate Borthwick, project manager, LLAS.

Funded by:

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)

Project partners:

Southampton City Council; the COLT Project, Manchester Metropolitan University

Project aims:

Community Cafe
  1. To use expertise and tools developed at the University of Southampton to collect and co-create digital resources for community languages
  2. To build a self-managed community-based group to support community language speakers engaged in teaching and learning the range of community languages available locally
  3. To improve the pedagogy of existing materials through peer review and discussion
  4. To provide bespoke and incremental training in using and creating digital content
  5. To contribute to the enhancement of the profile and provision of community language learning through adding resources to a repository hosting a wide range of existing language resources
  6. Outcomes:

    The following areas of impact are anticipated:

    • Collection and enhancement of available materials for and in community languages, accessible to all sectors of society through the community repository;
    • Raising the status of community languages both locally and nationally;
    • Up-skilling of community language speakers who engage in ‘out of hours’ teaching both through engagement with e-learning and through greater consideration of their pedagogic practice;
    • Support for local bodies working with community languages and professional development providers through the availability of the 'workshops to go'
    • Transferring knowledge, expertise and practice in HE to other sectors;
    • Increased engagement by the University of Southampton with the local community (the Language Café Project has already raised local interest and been featured on local radio). The University is not necessarily viewed as accessible by all sectors of the local community – this project provides access in a non-threatening, socially inclusive way;
    • Creation of regional collaboration in community languages support with the potential for extension across the UK;
    • Community support which will raise the profile of the University of Southampton locally and nationally, as well as making a real contribution to a very poorly-served sociolinguistic group

The JISC Community Content Programme

This project is part of the JISC’s Developing Community Content programme. The programme has funded ten projects at UK universities to create and use digital content that is useful not only for those involved in Higher Education, but also for various communities within the broader general public.

There are eleven projects in the programme, plus one support project.

  • Community flood archive enhancement through storytelling (Co-FAST) - University of Gloucestershire
    Exploring residents’ opinions and thoughts on the nature of flooding in Gloucestershire.
  • Addressing History – EDINA at the University of Edinburgh
    Putting together street names and historical maps from eighteenth and nineteenth-century Edinburgh
  • GaleriCymru - Coleg Harlech
    Developing an interactive site to allow for the contribution and self-evaluation from extra mural groups studying art courses in North Wales
  • Mass Observation Communities Online – University of Sussex
    Engaging a variety of community and volunteer groups to make contributions to the Mass Observation Archive
  • Digitising data for disparate communities: Naval history and climate science – University of Oxford
    Using crowdsourcing techniques to transcribe meteorological reports from the Royal Navy, 1914-1923
  • Strandlines – King’s College London
    Working with the disparate communities and groups that work and live in one street in central London
  • MyLeicestershire – University of Leicester
    Working with community groups, organisations and individuals to make openly available hidden treasures concerning the county of Leicestershire.
  • OurWikiBooks – University of Manchester
    Co-developing, with teachers and GCSE and A-level students, a new digital collection of key concerns and knowledge in computing education.
  • Welsh Voices of the Great War in Wales – Cardiff University
    Working with families of those in Wales who fought in the Great War, to collect and make available online the range of artefacts that are held in private hands.
  • Media and Memory in Wales, 1950-2000 - Aberystwyth University
    Collecting oral testimony relating to the age of television in Wales, focussing on memories of significant televisual moments in politics and culture.
  • RunCoCo – University of Oxford
    A support project to develop the software and expertise from the Oxford Great War Archive project so that similar community collection projects can be run



JISC programme details

The Language Box online repository

Further resources available on our website:

Community languages in higher education – a report by Itesh Sachdev and Joanna McPake for the Routes into Languages Project

The Community Café project builds on previous projects led by LLAS, including the Language Café ( and the HumBox project ( ).