Centre for the Study of Literacies

Contact: Dr Fiona Scott, Dr Jessica Bradley

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Our Research

The Literacies Research Cluster comes from a perspective that literacy practices are embedded within everyday life. The Research Cluster is designed to support and enable research that draws on that perspective. Our work engages with interdisciplinary research, including material cultural studies, cultural geography, sociology and the humanities to look at literacy in everyday life and learning contexts. The Literacy Research Cluster addresses issues such as post-colonialism, diaspora identities, migration and new emerging identities within contemporary society in relation to texts, practices and communication.

Our Practice

Literacy Key

Key themes that are explored in our work include:

  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Literacy in everyday life, communities, homes, schools
  • Methodological innovation
  • A vibrant research culture with doctoral and post doctoral researchers
  • Making a difference in educational contexts

What kind of research do we support?

The Literacies Research Cluster aims to support research that centres on cultural aspects of literacy. This might mean, for example, a focus on identities in relation to texts. Our work has plans to focus through its research activities and seminars, on a set of key research questions or problems. The Literacies Research Cluster aims to bring in theory from diverse disciplines to enable research on literacy practices to be situated within a broader inter-disciplinary framework. Our Research Cluster brings in students who are interested in this framework and would like to work in an exciting and stimulating research context.


The Literacies Research Cluster explores qualitative and quantitative methodologies including ethnography, visual methodologies, interviews and questionnaires, participatory research, collaborative research, action research, online methodologies, linguistic ethnography, linguistics, narrative and life history and auto ethnography, and post-modern and post-structuralist epistemologies.


The Literacies Research Cluster involves the following activities:

  • Active support for research ideas and funding bids
  • Active support for research students
  • Regular seminars including outside international speakers
  • Regular reading group discussing key ideas and papers

Current Projects

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Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity (MakEY)

Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity (MakEY) is a research project funded by the EU Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) scheme. The project aims to further research and innovation in the area of young children’s digital literacy and creative design skills in order to contribute to Europe’s future competitiveness and growth.

More information on MakEY


Multilingual Streets: Translating and Curating the Linguistic Landscape

Multilingual Streets: Translating and Curating the Linguistic Landscape is an interdisciplinary research project which focuses on the Linguistic Landscape. It uses participatory and arts-based methods to explore young people’s engagement with the languages around them.

More information on Multilingual Streets

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Communities' languages, identities and belonging in participatory health care interventions

This project seeks to address the vital challenge of resistance to healthcare interventions at local level from the perspective of multilingualism and identity, bringing together an international research team with expertise from Human Biology; Biological Anthropology; Health and Nutrition; Environmental Engineering; Languages; and Education, under the leadership of Dr Sabine Little.

More information on Communities' languages, identities and belonging in participatory health care interventions

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Nurturing Slovak Roma Children at Secondary School: A Longitudinal Study

A five-year longitudinal study provides us with an excellent opportunity to begin to understand more about the impacts of migration and settlement in a new country with a new language and culture, and to do so in the context of a changing Europe.

More information on the Slovak Roma Children Stud

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Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community AHRC-Funded OWRI Programme

This project focuses on establishing a pilot of a multilingual reading scheme for the city of Sheffield, critically researching its use and perceived impact in Sheffield’s language communities. As well as academic outputs, the project will create resources and guidelines which can easily be adapted by other locations, to maximise impact.

More information on Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community AHRC-Funded OWRI Programme

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Heritage Language Families – Identity and Well-being

The Heritage Language Families project focuses on families' emotional and practical needs and attitudes in relation to home language and family well-being, linked to their parenting/investment in their children’s well-being and education. The project takes into account government priorities around well-being, social cohesion.

More information on Heritage Language Families – Identity and Well-being

Recent Research Achievements


The digital literacy and multimodal practices of young children (DigiLitEY)

Young children are growing up in highly technologized societies across Europe. The aim of this COST Action is to develop an interdisciplinary network that enables researchers to synthesise existing research and identify gaps in knowledge in this area.

More information on DigiLitEY


Investigating the design and use of a new form of screen-less digital technology in relation to young children’s literacy practices

More information