Jennifer Rowsell & Kate Pahl; Feb. 19, 2012

“Understanding Literacy and Education: Literacy as Artifactual, Immaterial, and Embodied”

Dr. Kate Pahl                         Dr. Jennifer Rowsell
University of Sheffield         Brock University,
Sheffield, UK                          Ont., Canada

February 19, 2012; 3:00 p.m. EST/USA (Convert to local time)

GSU Student Moderators: Sarah Mantegna and Alisha White


Dr. Jennifer Rowsell, Brock University, St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada. The research of Jennifer Rowsell, Canada Research Chair in Multiliteracies, addresses several key strands. In general, Jennifer’s work addresses the role of multiliteracies in K-12 classroom settings and teacher education. She addresses the challenges of integrating multiliteracies by helping teachers foster the development of new literacy skills among elementary, middle and high school students.  Through the use of creativity, innovation and multimodal communication tools, Jennifer’s work with adolescent children and immigrant families aims to develop a multimodal literacy framework. She integrates digital story-telling in her research and teaching, uses social networking to understand canonical texts, and also creates a social inclusion framework meant to bring students from different racial and cultural backgrounds together in Canadian classrooms.

Dr. Kate Pahl, University of Sheffield, England. Kate´s research has several distinct research strands. Her interest in family and community literacy centres on ways in which families use literacy in everyday contexts, how multilingual families use literacy in everyday life and bring the lens of linguistic ethnography to her work with multilingual families, She is conducting research project called Writing in the Home and in the Street, which involves conducting an ethnographic study of writing within homes in Rotherham. She is currently co-investigator on a project called SPARKS: Urban green-space as a focus for connecting communities and research funded by the AHRC Connected Communities programme which brings together anthropology, geography, linguistics, contemporary science and environment science to look at the role of public parks in language development. Kate is also interested in the relationship between narratives of migration and artefacts. She conducted a research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council´s diasporas, migration and identities programme ( about the relationship between narratives of migration and artefacts in the homes of the Pakistani community of Rotherham. She developed learning resources for family learning tutors to use: She was funded by several resources to create family stories as part of a family learning project relating to home objects and narratives. Kate is also interested in how creative approaches to literacy can develop new ways of understanding how children come to write and compose. She has looked at ways in which partnerships between artists and teachers can support children´s literacy learning. She is particularly interested in areas of multimodality and how children draw on a number of modes to make meaning.
Kate is the director of the Ed D in Literacy and Language and is also co-director, with Dr. Julia Davies of the Centre for the Study of New Literacies. For further information, please see or contact her

Kate and Jennifer have a number of publications including the following:

Pahl, K. & Rowsell, J. (2011). Literacy and Education: Understanding New Literacy
Studies in the Classroom
 (2nd Ed.).
 Sage: London.
Pahl, K. & Rowsell, J. (2010). Artifactual Literacy: Every Object Tells a Story. New York:
Teacher’s College Press.
Pahl, K. and Rowsell, J. (eds) (2006) Travel Notes from the New Literacy Studies:
Instances of Practice
 Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
Further Readings:

Pahl, K and Rowsell, J. (2011) The Material and the Situated: What Multimodality and New Literacy Studies Do for Literacy Research (Third Edition). In: D. Lapp and D. Fisher Eds. Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts. Oxon and New York: Routledge.

Pahl, K. (2009) Interactions, intersections and improvisations: Studying the multimodal texts and classroom talk of six to seven year olds Journal of Early Childhood Literacy,9(2) 188-210.Pahl-2009-InteractionIntersectionImprov

Rowsell, J., & Pahl, K. (2007). Sedimented identities in texts: Instances of practice.Reading Research Quarterly, 42(3), 388-404. Rowsell-Pahl-SedimentedIdentities-RRQ 2007

Rowsell, Jennifer (2011). Carrying my family with me : artifacts as emic perspectives.Qualitative research11(3), 331 -346.

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