Monday, 23 March 2020


Inaugural Lecture: Prof Kate Pahl

Lecture Theatre 1, Brooks building

Join the Faculty of Education for the inaugural lecture of Head of ESRI, Professor Kate Pahl. Kate will be discussing the concept of 'literacy' and its place within educational research.

"When we think of ‘literacy’, what comes into our mind? We might think of script, of activities involving reading and writing.

However, today’s young people use complex and visual ways of communicating. Anthropologists have long been concerned that the concept of ‘literacy’ is too narrow, encompassing a very specific view of what literacy is, based on particular ‘schooled’ models.

Here, I speculate about what literacy could be. Through many years of work with children, young people and adults in homes and communities, and drawing on my experience as an adult literacy outreach worker, a poetry editor, a family literacy teacher, and an academic, I reflect on what literacy means.

I think about the visual, multimodal and material aspects of literacy. I describe the arc of meaning-making from a bead map in the home, to a tissue-paper bird, to an inscribed purse, to a noisy Ninja, to a scratched-on film, to consider what meaning is, and how it is represented (Escott and Pahl 2017).

I explore how by working collaboratively in communities, the concept of literacy can look different, and become broader, more expansive and more attuned to how people live their lives (Pahl 2014).

Artistic and co-productive research methods can open up an awareness of literacy as complex, lived and embodied and thereby change how literacies can be conceptualised."

Escott, H. & Pahl, K. (2017). Learning from Ninjas: young people’s films as a lens for an expanded view of literacy and language, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2017.1405911

Pahl, K. (2014). Materializing literacies in communities: The uses of literacy revisited. London: Bloomsbury.

The lecture will begin at 5:00pm, and we encourage you to come for refreshments, served before and after the lecture.

The event is free, but please register below to guarantee yourself a place.

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