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Seminar by Dr Julia Davies (University of Sheffield) '(Im)Material girls living in (im)material worlds: identity curation through time and space'

This paper describes the role of Facebook in the lives of a group of fashion conscious trainee hairdressers living in a city in the north of England. The research looks at vernacular digital literacy practices in the lives of these Facebook friends. Following Leander and McKim (2003). Julia used a connected approach, tracing narratives as they flowed across the spaces of my friends’ lives. These women were not interested in academic reading or writing but invested time reading and writing using their smartphones. Their literacy practices were integral to their social and working lives; Facebook mediated and constituted social acts, evolving as a material reality, something to be curated (Potter, 2012) as well as a means through which they composed (Latta Kirby, 2013) their lives. The friends crafted textual identity performances which reflected and impacted how they saw themselves, their world and their place within it. The boundedness of different spaces were porous as images of bedrooms, nightclubs and bars, the salon and the college were displayed in online albums. Julia argues that this dynamic gave rise to complex interactions and relationships bringing about new ways of performing and understanding the self.

Event details

Julia Davies 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, 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 literacy teaching could embrace `New Digital Literacies´.


A recording of this seminar is now available for staff and students.


Baring Court 114