PhD student and ECR network

Join our Literacy research network for PhD students!

We invite all PhD students and early career researchers working in literacy as a social practice to join the Literacy Research network for PhD students. This will be a space for collaborating and sharing works in progress with other PhD students in a more casual way, set up by PhD students, for PhD students and ECRs. This invitation is NOT restricted to PhD students from Lancaster University.

What is this group about? 

The main goals of this PhD Literacy Research network are to:

  • Engage in conversations with other PhD students in a more informal-casual way;
  • Share our own research designs, methods, and procedures of data collection, among others, to receive feedback and learn from others’ work.
  • Collaborate with each other by sharing references and readings, among others.

How to participate? 

If you are interested in joining this group, just let the organizers know by registering in this form.

If you are interested in presenting your work in progress in one of our upcoming sessions, please email us at

Soledad Montes Sánchez and Denise de Pauw

Please see below for details of upcoming work in progress discussions and presentations.

Sole and Denise



Theme: Diverse approaches to investigate literacy as social practice


In this upcoming series of discussions, we aim to share our perspectives, experiences, and current challenges regarding research on literacy as a social practice. What areas, techniques, or research models are applicable to this approach? What do our members’ research, using a social practice approach to literacy, look like? What are their methodological choices and the subjects they explore? We aim to delve into different research projects that adopt a literacy as a social practice perspective.

We have scheduled a series of talks, reading discussions, and one interview to be announced soon.


Register: please register as member here.  Your registration will allow us to send you the Zoom link, readings PDFs  and any last minute updates.

Time: 4pm or 3pm UK time (see the exact time for each session). Check your local time here:


Are you interested in sharing your work in progress, or leading a text-based discussion for us later in the academic year? Drop us an email at or

Date Session format Title/Topic Reading/Presentation abstract Facilitator/Speaker/ Interviewee


November 13th 4pm UK time Talk Analyzing Interaction between Academic and Workplace Writing Practices of Law Undergraduates


My project will analyze and contrast the writing practices a group of undergraduate law students engage in at university and their workplace from a sociocultural perspective of literacy. To do so, I will use qualitative methods (interviews, literacy diary, and text analysis). Unlike other similar studies seeking to design pedagogic interventions, I intend to broaden the object of analysis from text to writing practice, to be able to understand all that comes into play when having to produce a text, which text samples alone do not show. Results will show whether or not this institution is training professionals who are prepared to meet the literacy demands of their profession. Also, I am confident that the resulting descriptions will allow me and practitioners to design writing interventions that move the focus away from genre’s superficial features. Hairenik Aramayo Eliazarian, (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM)
December Monday 11th Talk Using instant messages to explore workplace second language socialisation This presentation will explore the use of instant messaging to research second language socialisation among a dispersed community of postdoctoral academics.

Drawing on the recent emergence of digital data collection in qualitative social investigation of potentially sensitive topics (e.g. Pearce, Thorgersen-Ntoumani & Duda, 2014; Dawson, Einion-Waller & Jones, 2021), my research uses instant messaging to explore the work experiences of a group of postdoctoral academics working in research and/or teaching roles in UK higher education, for whom English is an additional language.

The research is framed by second language socialisation, which typically explores how newcomers to a language community become competent participants in the practices of that community (Duff & Doherty, 2014) including its literacy practices.  Much important research has focused on students and PhD candidates (e.g. Zappa-Hollman & Duff (2015), Anderson, 2017). Less is known about how learners employed in the language community of UK higher education, dispersed across multiple workplaces, become members of the academic professional community.

Nine postdoctoral academics have downloaded the Signal app to their mobile phones and send a message the researcher when something happens in their work that is significant to them.  Alongside the instant messages, participants are taking part in 3 semi-structured interviews over the 12-month data collection period.

In the presentation, I will discussion my methodology and my choice of instant messaging as a data collection method.  I will also discuss some implications of using this method: the relationship between researcher and participant, the data and how it compares with data from interview, and some practical considerations of instant messaging to collect qualitative data.

Shamim Lindsay (Lancaster University, UK)
January Monday 29th 4pm UK Talk Academic literacies approach and quantitative methods are they anathema? The Lancaster Literacy Research group define their approach as focussing ‘on the uses and meanings of reading and writing in different contexts and cultures’ (Lancaster Literacy Research Centre. n.d). We suggest that our research is aligned to this perspective. It originates from our work with (student) writers and is informed by an academic literacies approach that also assumes that ‘literacy practices […] are shaped by the context they are part of and by wider social, cultural, political and economic factors that impact on people’s lives’ (ibid).

Somewhat surprising in this context, the work we present uses a quantitative approach, a choice that is usually associated with the assessment of writing performance (Weigle. 2002) through large-scale tests, such as IELTS or SATS,. Since these tests produce reliable judgements of texts written in an almost context-free vacuum, they are not compatible with our understanding of literacies, but does this exclude quantitative methods per se?

In our presentation, we will explain why we began to work on this unusual methodology, how it works and what it can potentially inform the teaching of writing. We also outline what it can contribute to literacies research by challenging the traditional divide between quantitative methods and those that seek a more nuanced understanding of how people use discourses in specific contexts.

Ursula Canton & Daniela Zahn (Glasgow Caledonian University)

Monday 26th

4pm UK

Reading discussion Literacy in prisons Reading: This will be a discussion based on the following article:

Ioannidou, E., Kiourti, E., & Christofidou, C. (2019). Literacy education in prison: Developing a social literacy programme in the prison school of Cyprus. Research Papers in Education, 34(5), 597–620.

We will circulate a pdf nearer the time. The discussion will be led by Denise de Pauw who will also share her experiences of literacy practices observed during her time, teaching behind bars.

Denise de Pauw, University of Leeds
March Interview To be confirmed To be confirmed

Previous sessions


Theme: Methodologies for literacies as social practice research  

Throughout this new set of talks/discussions, we would like to share our views, experiences, and current challenges around methodologies and methods, considering the broad diversity of methodological approaches and tools we might rely on (linguistic ethnography, case studies, longitudinal methods, and more). We hope to dive into the relationships between epistemology, methodologies, and methods and to explore how early career researchers and PHDs approach methodological choices and challenges.

We have scheduled a series of interconnected talks, reading discussions and one interview with Karin Tusting, Professor at the Department of Linguistics and English Language, editor of the Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Ethnography and convenor of BAAL Linguistic Ethnography forum.

Register: Please register as member here.  Your registration will allow us to send you the meeting links, recordings, PDFs and any last minute updates.

Time: 4pm or 3pm UK time (see the exact time for each session in the table below).

Are you interested in sharing your work in progress, or leading a text-based discussion for us later in the academic year? Drop us an email at or

Date Session format Title Reading/ Presentation abstract Facilitator/Speaker/ Interviewee
Monday 17th April

3pm (UK time)

Talk Let’s talk: a practitioner researcher’s account of developing adult literacy curricula There is a disconnect between the current standards for Functional Skills English in the UK, and adult learners’ motivations for joining programmes.  Considering literacy as a social practice instead, my study focuses on a cohort of adult literacy learners in England, and their motivations for returning to learning. I consider how their everyday experience can help influence adult literacy curriculum development, in my teaching setting of further and adult education.

My approach is in the action-research ethnographic tradition. Using narrative enquiry, I had therefore identified methods such as interviews and collecting stories of experience as useful data on the everyday lives of my cohort of learners.  As the study has developed, the narrative enquiry approach focused my study further, highlighting the important role adult education can offer for adults to ‘restory’ themselves and their experiences of education.

Key topics: Literacy as social practice, research in practice, narrative enquiry

Kerry Scattergood, Solihull College & University Centre (UK)
Monday 22nd May

4pm (UK time)

Talk The discursive construction of academic identity through writing as an intercultural process in early career researchers


In this presentation, I will introduce my proposed PhD research project, which examines how the discursive construction of identities through writing relates to patterns of privilege within the academic community. To better understand this complex issue, the project will focus on a specific group of researchers in training who are part of a larger transnational and interinstitutional research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Through this case study, I aim to shed light on how early career researchers construct their identities in academic writing, and how this process is influenced by their individual and collective cultural backgrounds. The methodological design is qualitative, diachronic, ethnographic, collaborative, and reflexive. By using a range of tools, such as literacy histories, conversations around text, and inter-learning workshops, I hope to generate inter-learning processes that promote participatory data analysis and problematize traditional researcher-object relationships. Ultimately, this research aims to contribute valuable insights to the critical aspects of researcher training, focusing on providing new avenues for thinking about how to promote greater equity and inclusivity within the academic community. Jesica Franco, Universidad Veracruzana (México)
Monday 19th June 4pm (UK time) Talk Editing as methodology for literacy research: an intercultural approach In this presentation, I describe a fragment of the methodological design of a research project on the authorial formation of educational researchers. The methodology is an exploratory proposal that uses editing as an analytical strategy to investigate the role of authors within their communities of study. In this process, I propose a series of debates and possible contributions to study authorial formation from the role of the editor Carlos Rojas-Ramírez, Academia de Lectura y Escritura, Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz, México
Monday 3rd July, 4pm (UK time) Reading discussion Reading: Lillis, T. (2008). Ethnography as Method, Methodology, and “Deep Theorizing”: Closing the Gap Between Text and Context in Academic Writing Research, Written Communication, 25(3), 53-388. Denise De Pauw & Soledad Montes (Lancaster University)
Monday July 17th

4pm (UK time)

Interview Interviewee biography:

Karin Tusting is a full professor at the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, and co-director of the Lancaster Literacy Research Centre. Her research has been predominantly in the areas of literacy studies and linguistic ethnography, with particular interests in workplace writing practices, literacies in organizations, and literacy and identity. She has recently published Academics writing: The dynamics of knowledge creation (Routledge 2019), co-written with Sharon McCulloch, Ibrar Bhatt, Mary Hamilton and David Barton, and edited the Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Ethnography (2020).

Karin Tusting (Lancaster University)


Theme: Decolonizing literacy education: multilingualism, translanguaging, and multiculturalism

Following on from a very wide-ranging series of talks in 2021-22, this autumn, we plan to follow a dedicated theme, which is loosely based on social practices and linguistic repertoires, in relation to power, ideologies, and decolonization. In the upcoming months, we have scheduled a series of interconnected talks on work in progress, combined with discussions on texts chosen by members who will also be facilitating those discussions. We hope that you’ll find time to read the highlights of any chosen text, to benefit from active participation in discussions, but if not, don’t worry – you’re still welcome to attend and contribute!

 Register: please register as a member here.  Your registration will allow us to share readings PDFs and any last minute changes to our schedule with you.

Are you interested in sharing your work in progress, or leading a text-based discussion for us later in the academic year? Drop us an email at or

Date Session format Title Reading/

Presentation abstract




Monday 3rd October Discussion Multiculturality in higher education Reading: Gunther Dietz (2009) Intercultural universities in Mexico: empowering indigenous peoples or mainstreaming multiculturalism?, 20(1), 1-4. Jesica Franco & Carlos Rojas, Universidad Veracruzana, México
Monday 17th October Presentation Translanguaging through immigrant languages: Disrupting the monolingual practices in primary school premises Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate the use of translanguaging in transforming learning spaces for immigrants from African countries who are in South Africa. The South-South immigration situation in which complex linguistic environments are created has become a norm in South African classrooms. It is because of these super diverse linguistic spaces that research has called for the redress of teaching pedagogy that suits the current linguistic status quo in educational institutions. In this research, I, therefore, incorporate the translanguaging theory, Decolonisation theory, and Bakhtin’s heteroglossia to address the immigrant languaging practices.I use a qualitative research design and conduct 15 multilingual tutorials (Lessons) with 30 immigrant learners and 4 teachers. The results showed that translanguaging was a more effective pedagogy in creating a dialogue between the learners and their teachers and everyone was able to bring knowledge from elsewhere, including the home. The learners felt comfortable and rightfully placed in the multilingual tutorial as they were able to exhibit their linguistic identities and practice their beingness. Translanguaging can be a useful tool for learner integration, and it is also important to enhance teacher expertise in order to meet the 21st multilingual complexity which includes immigrant languages. The traditional methodologies seem not to match the current linguistic needs of the classrooms. Clarah Dhokotera, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Monday 14th November Discussion Applied linguistics from the global south Reading: Pennycook, A. & Makoni, S. (2020). Introduction: Gazing from the South. In K. Hyland (Ed.) Innovations and challenges in applied linguistics from the global south. Routledge.

*We will send this PDF to those registered in our mail list here.

Lisa Treffry-Goatley, University of Cape Town, South Africa.


Monday 5th December Discussion Rethinking English as Lingua Franca Reading: Navarro, F., Lillis, T., Donahue, T., Curry, M. J., Ávila Reyes, N., Gustafsson, M., Zavala, V., Lauría, D., Lukin, A., McKinney, C., Feng, H., & Motta-Roth, D. (2022). Rethinking English as a lingua franca in scientific-academic contexts. A position statement. Journal of English for Research Publication Purposes, 3(1), 143-153. Link to the text in 5 languages:

Complementary reading: Hyland, K. (2016). Academic publishing and the myth of linguistic injustice. Journal of Second Language Writing, 31, 58-69.

Soledad Montes &

Denise de Pauw, Lancaster University.


Friday 24th February at 4 pm UK (1 pm Rio) Presentation Researching literacy as protest in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro Abstract: How does literacy inform protest and vice versa during acute periods of social change? In this talk for the ECR Network, I discuss this question drawing on work from, and work-in-progress developing on my recent monograph – Researching Protest Literacies: Literacy as Protest in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro (Routledge, 2021).

To begin, I briefly review this long-term ethnographic study’s settings, methods, and theoretical framework for researching literacy and protest based on the New Literacy Studies, Social Movement Studies, and related areas. After, I propose an addition to this RPL framework by introducing a set of concepts drawn from South American social movement studies on the anthropology of time. Work on communication and protesting has tended to focus on spatial practices more than temporal – I suggest ways to add to the later through this anthropological perspective.

Based on the above, I then present a work-in-progress analysis of two incidents overviewed in my book which call for further consideration: i) a text trajectory through which favela social movements assert a differentiated socio-political positioning during a historic period of mass protests in Brazil; ii) a repertoire of social movement communicational practices mobilized in response to a controversial Brazilian Army occupation of a set of favelas. Lastly, I discuss examples and raise questions regarding informal and non-formal learning in and around protest events and social movements.

Jamie Duncan, Lancaster University (based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).


Previous talks:


Date  Speaker   Presentation details 
Monday 23th May Carlos Rojas, Universidad Veracruzana, México Title: Becoming an educational researcher: an autoethnographic and intercultural approach  

Abstract: In this presentation, I will describe and analyse the literacy development of a group of educational researchers in Mexico that aim to frame a community. First, I will share some personal reflections based on my own locus of enunciation and positionality as a researcher. Particularly, I will focus on the selection of this community, the alienation needed to distance myself from their epistemological culture, the place of randomness in this process, and some meanings of the writing process itself. I will describe the methodological design that combines an autoethnographic perspective and contemporary art. This approach allowed me to identify contrasting appropriations of the educative discourse through its text diversity, genres, and writing styles. Finally, I will share some findings and preliminary conclusions about the different phases of literacy development based on its political, historical, and economic conditions. 

Monday 27th June Lisa Treffry-Goatley

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Title: Multilingual children at their local library: some preliminary data from two public libraries in South Africa and Kenya 

My research into children’s literacy practices is motivated by my work in educational publishing for multilingual African contexts and a keen interest in qualitative engagement with children representing a diversity of bi/multilingual experiences. In addition to deepening scholars’ understanding of learners with multiple linguistic proficiencies, such engagements also create space to review and possibly invigorate normative/dominant theories about literacy and language.The results of standardised literacy assessments are often conveyed in terms of a discourse of deficit concerning representations of bi/multilingual young people from socio-economically marginalised contexts, especially in the global South. I would like to offer a richer and more nuanced picture of multilingual African children’s language and literacy repertoires, while also addressing the issue of how such children continue to be systemically marginalised through language hegemony and social injustice. In this presentation I will share some of my emerging findings from ethnographic fieldwork with children at two public libraries, in socio-economically marginalised areas of urban Kenya and South Africa. My focus during the library fieldwork was the activities of children as regards their language(ing) and literacy practices in general, but particularly engaging with primary school-aged children about language, reading/viewing practices, and reading materials.

Monday 25th July Pingping Xie, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland Title: Translanguaging practices in online chat as language learning opportunities: A Study of Chinese University Learners’ WeChat Use 

Abstract: In this presentation, I will discuss insights based on preliminary analysis of my PhD project, which examines online translanguaging practices of Chinese university students who are sojourning in the UK. By adopting literacy as social practice as the theoretical framework, I will review how Chinese international students take advantage of networking opportunities when they are studying in the UK and how they treat social events as language learning opportunities, especially regarding their translanguaging practices on social media.This study adopts a mixed-methods approach. A baseline survey is conducted first, then followed by a collection of posts & chat logs of WeChat, and techno-biographic interviews, to investigate how technology and social media have affected Chinese students’ literacy practices online and study experience. How transitions over time vary and how language is learned and conducted in the informal digital context can affect students’ language learning and study practices. For this discussion, I intend to share a preliminary analysis with the audience and engage in a conversation on how my results could inform us about how the translanguaging practices of Chinese international students’ innovative forms of “networked language learning” cross the boundaries of social and educational life.

Spring 2022 schedule

We are pleased to open new work in progress discussions!

See our list of presentations + discussions below

Monday 14th February 2022

4pm (U.K. time)


Marília Camponogara Torres

Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil)



Negotiating voice: An ethnographic academic writing study in a postgraduate multilingual context


In this talk, I will explore some of my perceptions on how students negotiate their voice in the context of a postgraduate multilingual program in Brazil. First, I will briefly discuss what I have been reading about voice through a sociocultural lens (Canagarajah & Matsumoto, 2016; Ivanic & Camps, 2001; Hyland, 2008). Second, I will present my context of investigation and the methodology that I am employing to conduct my data collection and analysis. Finally, I will discuss some of my initial findings on students’ voice while writing their master’s thesis.

Monday 14th March 2022

4.30 pm (U.K. time)

Samia Zayed

Western University


A Comparative Case Study of the Teacher’s Role in Curriculum-Making: Teacher Agency, Relationships and Curriculum


Research (Min 2019; Poullton 2020; Priestley et al., 2015; Priestley et al., 2021) indicates curricula’ positive effects and outcomes that explicitly support teacher agency in curriculum making. Recent curriculum policies in many different countries, including Scotland, Australia, and Brazil, have acknowledged teachers as agents of change (Goodson, 2003; Nieveen, 2011; Lennert da Silva and Molstad, 2020; Poulton 2020; Priestley, 2012; Priestley et al., 2015) suggesting the importance of teachers having a role in curriculum development. This teacher view comes after decades of policy de-professionalizing teachers through prescriptive curricula and standardized testing (Priestley et al., 2013). These recent moves to encourage teachers to contribute to curriculum development effectively and reform imply instituting a bottom-up curriculum approach that centers teachers in the curriculum-making process. The literature related to the ecological model of teacher agency (Priestley et al. 2015) indicates that programmatic curricula are important to supporting teacher agency and can be considered as part of a complex cluster of other individuals, social, cultural, and material dimensions that enable/disable teacher agency. Unfortunately, not all curricular policies support teacher agency.

My teaching experience in Libya, the findings of my master’s research, and my new learning experience in Canada (Ph.D. courses and seminars) have all given rise to the specific focus of my Ph.D. dissertation (teacher agency, relationships, and curriculum). These factors are also motivating me to want to initiate cross-academic cultural information exchange and appreciation. Specifically, my study seeks to understand the role of professional relationships in teachers’ agency and how these relations may or may not be impacted by the programmatic and institutional curriculum in two different contexts (Canada and Libya) using mutable data sources (interview and document analysis).

Monday 18th April 2022

4.30 pm (U.K. time)

Jesica Franco

Universidad Veracruzana



Reading and Writing Conceptions in a Graduate Program in Architecture in Mexico


In this talk, I will present the results of a research study carried out in a graduate program in Architecture, in a public university in Mexico. The objective of the study was to describe the conceptions that teachers and students hold in relation to academic reading and writing. In order to achieve this, I adopted a plurimethodical perspective and divided the study into two phases. In phase one, I applied a self-administered questionnaire with open-ended questions to explore the conceptions and determine key actors. In phase two, I conducted interviews with teachers and students. The results, consistent with other research, verify that conceptions are not presented as opposites in the same person, but there is a greater proportion of one or the other. Thus, those who have a greater proportion of transmissive conceptions understand that reading and writing are processes of encoding and decoding written messages, which are used to obtain or transmit information. That is, reading and writing are conceived as general tools that can be used in any context. On the contrary, those whose conceptions are mostly transactional conceive reading and writing as dialogic, creative and meaning-building processes that are used to think (analyse, question, problematize), transform one’s own thinking and form one’s own criteria.


Autumn 2021 schedule

Monday 15th


4pm (U.K. time)

Ana Cortés

Syracuse University (USA)


A life in boxes: tracing the informed consent genre inside CVD’s archive

Teams LINK

In this presentation I will share some of my findings and challenges in trying to bring archival material to life to understand the literate practices of a vaccine research center located in Santiago de Chile. This work is part of my dissertation project and looks specifically into the informed consent and how it is located and contextualized within the larger genre ecology of the research project. Through intertextual analysis, I locate the informed consent at three moments in the research project: the protocol design; the application of consent with participants; and the re-visions following the emergence of serious adverse events. What this analysis suggests is that the informed consent is not a form, but an ongoing process, distributed across multiple moments, actors, and actions, that runs throughout the whole research. This invites reflections on the nature of written genres and reinforces the importance of studying literacies ecologically.

Monday 13th  December

4pm (U.K. time)

Research Group coordinators Social meeting

Teams LINK

This meeting is a social encounter with members. We will bring a topic of discussion related to the practice of research in literacy studies. This will be a fantastic opportunity to get to know other members and make relevant contacts with those with similar research interests.

Monday 17th January 

4pm (U.K. time)

Soledad Montes

Lancaster University


Students’ writing from an emic perspective: talking around text interviews as a methodological and theoretical option

Teams LINK

In this presentation, I will share the process of analysis of 10 “talking around text interviews” (Lillis, 2008, 2001; Ivanic, 1998) with Chilean students from schools with a high index of economic vulnerability (according to the Ministry of Education of Chile, 2021). In this analysis, I pay attention to students’ perspectives on their own writing practices and their choices of meaning-making through texts. I also look at how texts are mediated by artifacts and technologies that play a role in students’ transitions to further education. Finally, I will discuss the “talking around text” method –and the theory behind it– to reflect on the role of students’ perspectives in the study of writing.