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Lancaster Literacy Research Centre –Summer 2016

The Literacy Research Centre at Lancaster University works to understand the role of literacy in all areas of social life and to improve communication and collaboration between researchers and educational practice. We are actively engaged in research and teaching. Our members are mostly affiliated to the Department of Linguistics and English Language or the Department of Educational Research.

Our regular activities include the Literacy Research Discussion Group which meets on most Tuesday lunchtimes. We also talk with many other audiences, for example recently through Public Lectures and Campus in the City.

Visit the Literacies Log and read about a range of the topics we are interested in. We welcome your comments.

To find out more about our individual areas of research follow the Members link.






Literacy development with deaf communities using sign language, peer tuition, and learner-generated online content: sustainable educational innovation

This project, known as "P2P Deaf Literacy", funded by the ESRC and DFID, runs from 1 June 2015 - 31 July 2016. It involves Literacy Research Centre academics Julia Gillen, Uta Papen and Karin Tusting, and Phil Tubman, a learning technologist in ISS. The project is headed by Prof. Ulrike Zeshan of the International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies (iSLanDS) at UCLAN and its main location is in India. The National Institute of Speech and Hearing in Thiruvananthapuram is our partner in India.

Our project aims to provide English-language teaching for members of the deaf community in India including deaf young people in high poverty contexts, and draft a model of effective language-teaching interventions for them, to guide policy and further innovation. A significant element of the project is the development of a virtual/mobile learning platform. Combined with the use of sign language and support from deaf peer tutors this will constitute a learner-driven, innovative methodology based on a functional approach to learning. Adaptation of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for the expression of learning outcomes will allow achievements to be expressed in terms of an internationally understood tool.

The project also involves small-scale investigative fieldwork in Ghana, with our partner Lancaster University Ghana, and in Uganda, to examine transferability across cultures and pave the way for future collaborations.


The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation: Academics' Writing Practices in the Contemporary University Workplace

This project, led by Karin Tusting, began in January 2015. Academics’ writing practices are central to the enterprise of higher education (HE). It is largely through scholarly, pedagogic, administrative and impact writing practices that universities achieve the knowledge production and distribution that is one of their central purposes and against which their success is measured. This study aims to understand contemporary writing practices by investigating how knowledge is produced, shaped and distributed through the writing practices of academics in a range of disciplines and at different career stages within the English HE system.


AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund - The Edwardian Postcard

The Edwardian Postcard Project

This fund brought Dr Amanda Pullan to work with the Edwardian Postcard Project as a Research Associate from February - June 2016. The Edwardian Postcard Project is the first project to collect, transcribe and analyse early twentieth century postcards in any significant number. The first decade of the twentieth century, during the reign of Edward VII, was the heyday of the postcard. With several postal deliveries per day and cheap postage, the picture postcard was the social networking tool of its day. Six billion cards were sent in the UK. We can study the informal writing practices of people from all sections of society from tin-mining hamlets to aristocratic mansions. In February 2016, the project launched a freely accessible database of 1,000 cards, their transcriptions and historical information about the cards, drawn from the censuses. Our project has encouraged public participation and use of the new resource to develop the research. We held several public events and also promoted the project through YouTube videos, a new Facebook page and other social media. Lively public interest in the project resulted in many discussions online and offline as well as donations of Edwardian postcards or their scans. Seeking to further explore ways of involving people, we are trialling the use of Zooniverse, a crowdsourcing hub for Citizen Science projects. The project is directed by Julia Gillen.


CX Creative Exchange

AHRC CX Creative Exchange - Mini- Project Physical Social Network

The Edwardian Postcard Project

Amanda Pullan and Julia Gillen are collaborating with Adrian Gradinar and Paul Coulton, LICA, and Kevin Bacon, Digital Development Officer of Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums, in this new mini project, funded by the AHRC between May and September 2016. The project objective is to create a physical prototype, which will explore past writing practices through a physical, interactive experience with a digital collection of Edwardian postcards. One of the guiding research objectives of the project is to study how physical interactions can be merged with digital ones. A physical prototype will be exhibited at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.



ESRC Seminar Series on The Potentials, Politics and Practices of International Educational Assessment

Seminar 5: The Politics of Reception: Media, Policy, Public Knowledge and Opinion, convened by Professor Mary Hamilton, Lancaster University, UK. The fifth seminar in the series was held at Lancaster University on 21st and 22nd April, 2016. The seminar is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council UK with additional support from the Higher Education Research Centre in the Department of Educational Research. The seminar focussed on the ways that findings from international assessments enter into media and public discourse in participating countries, how these are articulated within existing national preoccupations and the implications of these interventions for policy. For further information on this seminar please contact Mary Hamilton or visit the link above.


Some recent books from the Literacy Research Centre









For information on these and other past activities, please see individual members' pages and the archive.


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