October 1, 2019

Englishes Mooc

Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam

Video stills from course by Nicoline van Harskamp, 2019.

Do you use more than two languages in a typical conversation? Have you ever tried to invent a new language? Do you ever make up English-like words when you don’t know the "proper" ones? Have you ever been told that you have an accent in English?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you will probably enjoy Englishes Mooc. This online course is developed for art students and other young makers who use English in their working lives. It wants them to stop measuring their English along a ‘native’ standard in the international realm. When adapted according to the needs of its users, new varieties of English can emerge. Englishes Mooc helps to develop practical skills towards this. It also features a platform for live discussion between its participants.

Englishes Mooc is open to everyone, regardless of English proficiency or academic qualification. Depending on engagement with the community of participants and the assignments, Englishes Mooc takes about two hours per week to complete. It is free of charge.

It is now possible to sign up for the first or the second cycle of Englishes Mooc, using the form on the website.

First cycle: October 22–December 2, 2019
Second cycle: February 25–April 6, 2020

Englishes Mooc is written and produced by Nicoline van Harskamp, who has worked extensively on the topic in her video and performance work. She introduced the term "Englishes" to describe the global use of English between people who do not speak it as their first language. It refers to the multitude of emerging varieties of English that may eventually replace its dominant strains.

Van Harskamp discussed the issue of English so often with art students that she decided to develop a curriculum for it. She chose an online format that maintains the qualities of a multilingual classroom environment: the Massive online open course (Mooc). Actresses from different language backgrounds perform Van Harskamp’s classes in different types of English. Students and alumni from the affiliated institutions perform the process of learning.

Each six-week cycle of Englishes Mooc starts on a fixed date, with a fixed group of people, signed up in advance. In the participants-only environment, students can access a new module, presented by a new person, every week. It’s always possible to go back to a previous module, but not to jump ahead.

Each week is dedicated to a new aspect of "Englishes" such as phonetics, professional language, intonation or language construction. The course material is presented in various videos, and video transcripts in PDF format. Additional research material is available as text, audio and weblinks.

There are weekly assignments, the results of which can be uploaded to the panel in order to be discussed. On the last day of each week, there is an optional live classroom with Nicoline van Harskamp. Questions and ideas can be exchanged through the platform inside the website.

Englishes Mooc is a project by Nicoline van Harskamp, realised co-operation with the Sandberg Institute and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. It is made possible by the Creative Industries Funds of the Netherlands.

Educational or art institutions wishing to open a subsequent six-week cycle of Englishes Mooc (from April 2020 onwards), please contact the artist: mail [​at​] For all other enquiries, please contact englishes-mooc [​at​]

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