I have researched and published in the areas of language, literacy and cultural practices, with a particular focus on the way in which these relate to the agency and identities of individuals and communities.
I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (September 2021-August 2022) to explore links between amateur fibre crafts, such as knitting and crochet, and everyday meaning-making. My current research includes 'Knit and Matter', a British Academy funded project looking at the role of material in meaning-making through amateur fibre craft.
My previous research includes a British Academy funded ethnographic study of the everyday lives and literacy practices of families living on a Midlands council estate. This research was the focus of an article which won the Wiley-Blackwell Research in Literacy Education Award 2015 and a monograph: Portraits of Everyday Literacy for Social Justice: Reframing the Debate for Families and Communities (Palgrave).
I also work with Dr Kevin Harvey (School of English) and Dr David Peplow (Sheffield Hallam University) in convening a local shared reading group, based in Lenton. Further details about the group can be found here.
I teach on the BA Education and support postgraduate research students working for Masters, EdD and PhD. Having previously worked as a teacher of English in secondary schools in Derby and as a tutor in Children's Literature for the Open University, I have taught on postgraduate initial teacher education courses in secondary English, including PGCE and Schools Direct, as well as on the Postgraduate Certificate in Education Studies.
- everyday arts and creative practice
- everyday literacy
- literacy education
- English education (11-18)
BA Education: Literacy Learning and Education; Research Methodology and Design in Education, Dissertation
MA Education: Dissertation supervision
EdD and PhD supervision: literacy education, everyday creative and arts practice
Knit and Matter: material meaning making with amateur fibre craft (British Academy Small Research Grant, October 2022-December 2023)
Knitting is a popular everyday activity with a long history as a creative meaning making process through which makers explore and express what matters to them. The dominance of reductive models of literacy in formal education and public services, along with a devaluing of craft, has meant that the significance of knitting for meaning making in contemporary lives is not fully recognised. Neither is its potential as a way of understanding our material engagement with the world around us. This research will develop understanding of how knitting works as a meaning making practice through a series of collaborative workshops focused on the material process of making with yarn. It will contribute to the development of innovative theoretical tools for thinking about and researching knitting as an everyday literacy practice, offering a timely perspective on the role of the material in the meanings that matter and how they are made.
Crafting Literacy: amateur fibre craft and everyday meaning-making (Leverhulme Research Fellowship)
Amateur fibre crafts, such as knitting and crochet, have long established, yet often tacit, meanings in everyday life. As these crafts surge in popularity, these meanings are changing. This research aims to develop a conceptual underpinning for understanding amateur fibre craft as a communicative practice through which individuals across diverse communities experience everyday life. It does this by developing a conceptualisation of craft as an everyday literacy practice, making the case that this will support a broader understanding of literacy, craft and creativity in policy and practice. Publications so far include an article on knitting as everyday meaning making.
Shared reading group, Lenton (with Dr Kevin Harvey, School of English).
This work explores the collaborative practice of shared reading and the role it can play in supporting inclusive, asset-based models of participatory arts practice within communities.
JONES, S., 2022. Knitting and everyday meaning-making TEXTILE: Cloth and Culture.
JONES, S., AND HARVEY, K., 2020. Participation, Perplexity and Plurality: exploring the shared reading of a ‘difficult’ poem Changing English. 27(1), 34-49.