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LRDG: Bronwyn Williams: Finding a Way In: Literacy, Popular Culture, and Points of Participation

Date: 7 May 2013 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Bronwyn Williams, Professor of English, Director, University Writing Center University of Louisville/Kentucky:

Whether on computers or mobile devices, young people are often engaged in participatory literacy practices that involve reading and writing with print, sound, images, and video. What's more, many of these digital literacy practices involve using popular culture texts and content as semiotic and rhetorical resources for composing, not just as texts to consume. Yet participatory popular culture is not only important for understanding "how" students engage with digital media, it is significant in understanding "why." The desire to participate in popular culture contexts motivates students to spend substantial time and effort on digital projects, some of which can be quite complex and interactive. Understanding these motivations offers insights into how students perceive their identities as readers and writers, including their desire and agency to participate in literacy practices. I draw on observations and interviews with secondary and university students discuss how engagement with participatory popular culture shapes student motivation and practices in the composing and interpretation of texts. At the same time, it is important to understand how questions of power and ideology also factor in to questions of agency and participation. I will discuss how my current research on issues of literacy, identity, and participation connects to my previous work on popular culture and digital media literacy practices

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: David Barton

Organising departments and research centres: Educational Research, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Digital literacies, Participation, Popular culture


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