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Lancaster Literacy Research Centre – Winter 2014-15

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. 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 every Tuesday lunchtime in term time.

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, begins in April 2015. 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 will be mainly located in India. The National Association of the Deaf and a number of Deaf-led institutes across India are the implementing partners in India.

This pilot 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. The project is currently hiring 2 Research Associate positions starting February 2015.


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

Mary Hamilton is co-organizer for this seminar series which is led by Bryan Maddox at the University of East Anglia along with Sotiria Grek, César Augusto Guadalupe Mendizábal, Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Radhika Gorur, Camilla Addey.

The grant funds a series of six seminars in London, New York, Lima, Edinburgh, Lancaster and Brussels. The first seminar in the series takes place at the University of Edinburgh on 11th and 12th December 2014. The topic is Education Governance and International Assessments. Mary will coordinate the seminar in Lancaster in 2016 which will be on the Politics of Reception – Media, Policy and Public Knowledge and Opinion


Some current books from the Literacy Research Discussion Group







During Spring/Summer 2014 we were involved in organising:

Midland Hotel Morcambe

Special Event: Worlds of Literacy 2.0
26 September 2014, Midland Hotel, Morecambe
Literacy Studies – looking into the future and celebrating the past – with David Barton and Mary Hamilton.
Special guests:  Brian Street, Roz Ivanic


Explorations in Ethnography, Language and Communication 5
11-12 September 2014, Manchester
Linguistic Ethnography: Benefits and Challenges.


UK Literacy Association 50th International Conference
4-6 July 2014, University of Sussex
We presented a symposium: Many voices of literacy: polyphony in Literacy Studies research


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


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