Talking Shop: Thinking about Living Literacies

8 December 2020, 11.30 AM - 8 December 2020, 12.30 PM

Professor Kate Pahl, Steve Pool, Zanib Rasool, and Jennifer Rowsell


This talk is hosted by the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Curriculum.

In this talk, we will reflect on the research and writing that went into Living Literacies: Literacy for Social Change (MIT Press). As a reflective conversation, each presenter will share their perspectives on the ‘so what’ and implications of this book given the challenges of the contemporary moment.

Zoom link:


Kate Pahl is Professor of Arts and Literacy at Manchester Metropolitan University. Kate is interested in young people’s meaning making practices, and she is particularly interested in the potential of arts methodologies in working to co-create change in communities. Her work has been particularly concerned with co-production in communities, and she has written about co-production with Zanib and Steve. She is the author, with Zanib Rasool, Beth Campbell and Elizabeth Pente of a jointly edited book, ‘Re-imagining contested communities: Connecting Rotherham with Research ‘ (Policy 2018).

Steve Pool is a Sheffield based artist who originally trained as a Sculptor. He now works as a visual artists in multiple medias to help people realise ideas and in the process often making physical objects or changing environments. For the past 30 years he has worked on many programs and initiatives including Creative Partnerships, Public understanding of science and regeneration through area based renewal programs. He has an interest in how stories, objects and research intersect with the everyday. He works in varied settings including art galleries, communities and more Adventure playgrounds. He is in the final year of studying for his doctorate at Manchester Metropolitan Universities exploring the concept of the artist in residence as a method of enquiry. Central to his work is the belief that access to new technologies offers many opportunities for people to produce as well as consume culture.

Zanib Rasool MBE has worked 30 years in the voluntary sector. Zanib is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education at the University of Sheffield. She is a community researcher on the Sheffield University collaborative project, 'The social, historical, cultural and democratic context of civic engagement: Imagining different communities and making them happen,' funded by ESRC/AHRC Connected Communities programme. She is also co-editor of Re-Imagining Contested Communities (Connecting Rotherham through research) book to be published in 2017. She was a researcher on the ‘Threads of time’, a co-produced participatory arts project funded by AHRC’s Connected Communities Festival 2016: She is Community Co-I) AHRC funded project called ‘Taking Yourselves Seriously: artistic approaches to social cohesion’ and exploring ways in which artistic methodologies can support community-led research with a focus on the life trajectories of women from Pakistani heritage backgrounds. Zanib has co-authored Re-imagining Contested Communities: Connecting Rotherham through research book that brings together academic and community voices.

Jennifer Rowsell Professor of Literacies and Social Innovation at University of Bristol’s School of Education in the United Kingdom. Her research interests include multimodal, makerspace and arts-based research with young people; digital literacies research; digital divide work; and, applying posthumanist and affect approaches to literacy research. She has worked and conducted research in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Her most recent co-authored book with Dr. Kate Pahl (Manchester Metropolitan University) with Diane Collier, Steve Pool, Zanib Rasool, and Terry Trzecak is entitled, Living Literacies: Literacy for Social Change (MIT Press) and the co-edited book, Maker Literacies and Maker Identities in the Digital Age with Cheryl McLean (Rutgers University). She is a co-editor of the Routledge Expanding Literacies in Education book series with Cynthia Lewis (University of California – Santa Cruz), she is the Department Editor of Digital Literacies for The Reading Teacher, and she is co-editor of Digital Cultures and Education.

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