Julia Davies, B.A., M.A., PGCE, Ph.D

Photograph of Dr Davies

Senior Lecturer
Senate Award for Sustained Excellence

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 8144
Fax: (+44) (0)114 279 6236
Email: j.a.davies@Sheffield.ac.uk
Room: 8.11


Research interests

Digital Literacies

Julia researches language and literacy in relation to digital text making practices. She investigates how people use technology to produce texts as part of their everyday-life, such as in social networking sites like facebook.com, flickr.com or Youtube, for example. She looks at how individuals produce texts using a range of modes, such as pictures, emoticons, moving images, different fonts, specialised spelling and vocabulary. Julia considers how this affects the way we live our lives, see ourselves and communicate with each other. She explores how this might affect how we conceptualise literacy and how academic literacy teaching could embrace ` Digital Literacies´.

Learning and Digital Technologies

Julia is investigating ways in which people learn in online spaces and when using new technologies. As well as exploring learning within informal web 2.0 spaces, or in using mobile technologies, she also has an interest in the ways in which the processes in these things can be harnessed to influence learning and teaching in more formal spaces such as schools and universities. She is interested in the cultural and social implications of new literacy practices and the ways in which these impact on individual lives and identities.

Textual Analysis

Julia is developing ways of analysing online interaction, particularly exploring how people are learning through their interactions. Her analytical approach takes account of linguistic and non-linguistic textual features such as emoticons, textual layout, sound and moving image.


Julia teaches the ‘children and Digital Cultures’ module on the BA in Education, Culture and Childhood. She also teaches on the Literacy and Language route of the Education Doctorate programme, on the fulltime MA in Educational Research, and contributes to the Initial Teacher Education (subject English) programmes.

In her teaching, Julia shares findings of her research and encourages students to think about ways in which they have learned about and through new technologies. She uses learning technologies both as an object of study, and also as a medium through which one can teach and learn. She thus encourages students to use new technologies in ways which are relevant and appropriate to their own research, and helps them to think about the ways in which those technologies shape and enhance learning and teaching. Julia has a strong commitment to supporting students in following their own research paths and interests.


  • Academic Director of Technology Enhanced Learning in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The University of Sheffield.
  • Co-Director of the Research Committee for UKLA (2014 – present)
  • Editor of Literacy
  • Reviewer for Discourse, Cultural Studies in Education; English in Education and The British Education Research Journal.

Selected Publications


Burnett, C., Davies, J., Merchant, G., and Rowsell, J. (Eds.) (2014). New Literacies around the Globe: Policy and Pedagogy. London: Routledge.

Gillen, J. Merchant, G., Marsh, J. and Davies, J. (Eds.) (2012) Virtual Literacies: Interactive Spaces for Children and Young People. London: Routledge.

Davies, J. and Merchant, G. (2009) Web 2.0 for Schools: Learning and Social Participation. New York: Peter Lang.


Davies, J. (2015) ‘Facebook Narratives’. In Rowsell, J. & Pahl, K. Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies. London: Routledge.

Davies, J. (2014 ) ‘(Im)Material girls living in (im)material worlds: identity curation through time and space’. In New Literacies around the Globe: Policy and Pedagogy. (Burnett, C., Davies, J., Merchant, G., and Rowsell, J. (Eds.)). London: Routledge.

Davies, J. and Merchant, G. (2013) Digital Literacy and Teacher Education’. In Popular Culture, Pedagogy and Teacher Education: International Perspectives. Benson, D. Chik, A. (Eds). London: Routledge.

Davies, J. (2011) ‘Computer Mediated Communication’. In Companion to Discourse Analysis. Paltridge, B. (University of Sydney, Australia) and Hyland, K. (Institute of Education, London) (Eds.). Palgrave: London.

Davies, J. (2011) ‘Expressions of Gender: An Analysis of Pupils' Gendered Discourse Styles’. In Coates, J. and Pichler, P. (Eds.) Language and Gender: A Reader. London: Routledge. Reprinted article from Discourse and Society. Vol.14 (2) pp115-132. Pp112 – 125.

Davies, J. (2009) `A space for play: crossing boundaries and learning online´ In Carrington and Robinson (eds.) Contentious Technologies: Digital Literacies, Social Learning and Classroom Practices. London: Sage.

Davies, J. (2009) `Online Connections, collaborations, chronicles and crossings´. In Marsh, J. Robinson, M. and Willett, R. (Eds.) Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures. London: Routledge. (Pp 108 - 124).

Davies, J. (2009) `Keeping connected: textual selves, textual cohesion and online support networks´. In Thomas, N. (Ed). Children, Politics and Communication. London: Palgrave. (Pp 167 - 184).

Davies, J. (2008) `Pay and Display: The Digital Literacies of Online Shoppers´. In Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (Eds.) Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices. New York: Peter Lang.

Davies, J. and Pahl, K. (2007) `Blending Voices, Blending learning: Lessons in pedagogy from a post-16 classroom´. In Literacy and Social Inclusion: Closing The Gap. In Bearne, E. and Marsh, J. (Eds.) London: Trentham.

Davies, J. and Merchant, G. (2007) `Looking from the inside out: academic blogging as new literacy´. In Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (Eds.) A New Literacies Sampler. New York: Peter Lang.

Davies, J. (2006b) `"Hello newbie! **big welcome hugs** hope u like it here as much as i do! " An exploration of teenagers´ informal on-line learning´. In Buckingham, D. and Willett, R. (Eds.) Digital Generations. New York: Lawrence Ehrlbaum. (Pp 211 – 228). (Reproduced in Mackey, M. (2007) Media Literacies: Major Themes in Education. London: Routledge.)

Davies, J. (2005) Nomads and Tribes: On line meaning-making and the Development of New Literacies. In J. Marsh and E. Millard (eds.) Popular Literacies, Childhood and Schooling. London: Routledge/Falmer. (Pp 160 – 175).

Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals

Davies, J. (2013) ‘Das “Neue” in den New Literacies fur den Unterricht’. In IDE (Informationen zur deutschdidaktik Zeitschrift fur den Deutschunterricht in Wissenschaft und Schule) : Literale Praxis von Jugendlichen. 1:37 Pp 45 – 51.

Davies, J. (2013) ‘Trainee hairdressers’ uses of Facebook as a community of gendered literacy practice’. Pedagogy, Culture and Society. Vol 21:1. Pp 147 – 169.

Davies, J. (2012) ‘Facework on Facebook as a new literacy practice’. Computers and Education. Vol 59 pp19 – 29.
Davies, J. (2008) ‘Talking ‘bout a (digital) Revolution: New Literacies, New Practices for New Times’. Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean. Vol. 10 No 1.

Davies, J (2007) `Display; Identity and the Everyday: self-presentation through digital image sharing.´ In: Discourse, Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. 28:4

Davies, J. (2006) `Affinities and beyond!! Developing ways of seeing in online spaces´. In e-learning- Special Issue: Digital Interfaces. Vol.3 issue 2. Pages 217-234. Accessed online here.

Davies, J. (2004) Negotiating Femininities On-Line. In Gender and Education. Vol.16 Issue 1. Pages 35 – 49.

View a full list of Julia Davies’ publications

Recent Funded Projects

Evaluation of the Sheffield College English GCSE Online and Blended learning Courses; funded by the DfES. September 2005 – June 2007.

Evaluation of the Sheffield College/ Sheffield LEA `Literacy through Technology´ Project ; funded by
Sheffield LEA. February 2005 – July 2005.

Pathways to Success/ re-engagement through Work-related learning; (with Anne-Marie Bathmaker and Pam Cole); funded by European Objective One through Doncaster Local Authority. September 2004 – December 2006.

New ways of engaging new learners: lessons from round one of the practitioner-led research initiative; (with Kate Pahl); funded by the NRDC. March 2004 – October 2004.

Investigating gendered attitudes to school and learning; (with Training School Practitioners); funded by DfES/TDA. September 2003 – July 2007.