Research associate jobs at the Literacy Research Centre: Academics writing project

We are currently advertising two Research Associate positions in the forthcoming ESRC-funded project “The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation: Academics Writing in the Contemporary University Workplace”.  The 23-month appointments start from February 2015.  For details, go to .  Closing date Sunday 30th November 2014.

The research associates will be working with Karin Tusting, David Barton and Mary  Hamilton on an in-depth ethnographic study of the nature of academics’ writing practices.  Some more information about the project is available from here: .  This is an exciting project and will be a great opportunity for people with research interests in areas like transformations in academia, workplace literacies and academic literacies.  The research will be based in the Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, well known for innovative research into the role of literacy in social life, working with stimulating and supportive colleagues.  One researcher will be employed through the Department of Linguistics, and one through the Department of Educational Research.

Please circulate widely!!

For informal enquiries contact Karin Tusting: .


One of our LRC PhD students, Michelle Lawson, has been writing about her PhD research in the blog post linked here: 

Her work studies discourses of lifestyle migration around the British in France, combining analysis of media representations with analysis of online forum interaction and interviews with other British migrants.  This post focuses on her analysis of data from print media, showing a clear representation of the British as ‘an invasion, with no sense of adventure’.

Congratulations Dr Adams

Congratulations to Dr Jonathon Adams, who was recently awarded his PhD for a thesis entitled “Analysing the construction of meaning with mediating digital texts in face-to-face interactions”, examined by Professor David Barton and Dr Sigrid Norris.

Jonathon’s research examined how people communicate using a variety of different modes when they are interacting around a mediating digital text, combining literacy studies with multimodal interaction analysis and mediated discourse theory.  He video-recorded Japanese learners of English talking about digital texts they had chosen themselves, ranging from Youtube videos to news pages to still photographs, and analysed in great detail the different modes and combinations of modes that were employed to make meaning around these texts.  

His work shows the characteristics of such digitally-mediated communicative events, exploring how the digital text people interact around can be seen to impact upon mode use, language use, and proxemic relations between participants.

Since most of my interactions with my family members now involve putting our heads closely together around screens showing Minecraft, Twitter, or Angry Birds Star Wars, I think of his work often!

LRDG 8th July: Nancy Guo, An ontogenetic and multimodal analysis of Hong Kong textbooks

The final Literacy Research Discussion Group session for this academic year was on 8th July, when Nancy Guo from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University spoke about her research analysing textbooks used in Hong Kong schools at different levels. 

It was great to have a meeting outside term-time during the Linguistic Department’s July residential for the PhD in Applied Linguistics by Thesis and Coursework students, as the room was packed with people who we don’t often get the chance to see together in one place!  This is a tradition which we could usefully continue in forthcoming years.

Coming from a systemic-functional linguistics perspective, Nancy spoke mainly about applying Matthiesson’s socio-semiotic model for the analysis of contextual variables, showing how elements of this model were oriented to, to different extents, by textbooks designed for different age groups.  She related this to analysis at the lexico-grammatical level, and to changes in the multimodality of the textbooks, and discussed implications for teaching and particularly for textbook design.

This was a stimulating talk, which provoked interesting discussions about the relationships between what is in the textbooks and what actually happens in classroom practice – as you might expect, given the audience and the setting!

Thanks to Nancy for coming, and we are looking forward to the new LRDG programme starting up in October.