Working With Academic Literacies: Case Studies Towards Transformative Practice

  • postsecondary institution, Pedagogy, transformative practice, WAC, international

Edited by Theresa Lillis, Kathy Harrington, Mary R. Lea, and Sally Mitchell
Copy edited by Don Donahue. Designed by Tara Rieser and Mike Palmquist.

CoverThe editors and contributors to this collection explore what it means to adopt an "academic literacies" approach in policy and pedagogy. Transformative practice is illustrated through case studies and critical commentaries from teacher-researchers working in a range of higher education contexts—from undergraduate to postgraduate levels, across disciplines, and spanning geopolitical regions including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cataluña, Finland, France, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Key questions addressed include: How can a wider range of semiotic resources and technologies fruitfully serve academic meaning and knowledge making? What kinds of writing spaces do we need and how can these be facilitated? How can theory and practice from "Academic Literacies" be used to open up debate about writing pedagogy at institutional and policy levels?

Table of Contents

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Front Matter

Introduction, Theresa Lillis, Kathy Harrington, Mary R. Lea and Sally Mitchell
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.1.3

Section 1. Transforming Pedagogies of Academic Writing and Reading

Introduction to Section 1

A Framework for Usable Pedagogy: Case Studies Towards Accessibility, Criticality and Visibility, Julio Gimenez and Peter Thomas
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.01

Working With Power: A Dialogue about Writing Support Using Insights from Psychotherapy, Lisa Clughen and Matt Connell
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.02

An Action Research Intervention Towards Overcoming "Theory Resistance" in Photojournalism Students, Jennifer Good
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.03

Student-Writing Tutors: Making Sense of "Academic Literacies", Joelle Adams
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.04

"Hidden Features" and "Overt Instruction" in Academic Literacy Practices: A Case Study in Engineering, Adriana Fischer
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.05

Making Sense of my Thesis: Master's Level Thesis Writing as Constellation of Joint Activities, Kathrin Kaufhold
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.06

Thinking Creatively About Research Writing, Cecile Badenhorst, Cecilia Moloney, Jennifer Dyer, Janna Rosales and Morgan Murray
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.07

Disciplined Voices, Disciplined Feelings: Exploring Constraints and Choices in a Thesis Writing Circle, Kate Chanock, Sylvia Whitmore and Makiko Nishitani
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.08

Reflections 1. How Can the Text Be Everything? Reflecting on Academic Life and Literacies, Sally Mitchell talking with Mary Scott

Section 2. Transforming the Work of Teaching

Introduction to Section 2

Opening up The Curriculum: Moving from The Normative to The Transformative in Teachers' Understandings of Disciplinary Literacy Practices, Cecilia Jacobs
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.09

Writing Development, Co-Teaching and Academic Literacies: Exploring the Connections, Julian Ingle and Nadya Yakovchuk
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.10

Transformative and Normative? Implications for Academic Literacies Research in Quantitative Disciplines, Moragh Paxton and Vera Frith
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.11

Learning from Lecturers: What Disciplinary Practice Can Teach Us About "Good" Student Writing, Maria Leedham
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.12

Reflections 2. Thinking Critically and Negotiating Practices in the Disciplines, David Russell in conversation with Sally Mitchell

Academic Writing in an ELF Environment: Standardization, Accommodation—or Transformation?, Laura McCambridge
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.13

"Doing Something that's Really Important": Meaningful Engagement as a Resource for Teachers' Transformative Work with Student Writers in the Disciplines, Jackie Tuck
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.14

The Transformative Potential of Laminating Trajectories: Three Teachers' Developing Pedagogical Practices and Identities, Kevin Roozen, Paul Prior, Rebecca Woodard and Sonia Kline
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.15

Marking the Boundaries: Knowledge and Identity in Professional Doctorates, Jane Creaton
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.16

Reflections 3. What's at Stake in Different Traditions? Les Littéracies Universitaires and Academic Literacies, Isabelle Delcambre in conversation with Christiane Donahue

Section 3. Transforming Resources, Genres and Semiotic Practices

Introduction to Section 3

Genre as a Pedagogical Resource at University, Fiona English
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.17

How Drawing Is Used to Conceptualize and Communicate Design Ideas in Graphic Design: Exploring Scamping Through a Literacy Practice Lens, Lynn Coleman
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.18

"There is a Cage Inside My Head and I Cannot Let Things Out", Fay Stevens
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.19

Blogging to Create Multimodal Reading and Writing Experiences in Postmodern Human Geographies, Claire Penketh and Tasleem Shakur
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.20

Working with Grammar as a Tool for Making Meaning, Gillian Lazar and Beverley Barnaby
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.21

Digital Posters—Talking Cycles for Academic Literacy, Diane Rushton, Cathy Malone and Andrew Middleton
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.22

Telling Stories: Investigating the Challenges to International Students' Writing Through Personal Narrative, Helen Bowstead
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.23

Digital Writing as Transformative: Instantiating Academic Literacies in Theory and Practice, Colleen McKenna
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.24

Reflections 4. Looking at Academic Literacies from a Composition Frame: From Spatial to Spatio-temporal Framing of Difference, Bruce Horner in conversation with Theresa Lillis

Section 4. Transforming Institutional Framings of Academic Writing

Introduction to Section 4

Transforming Dialogic Spaces in an "Elite" Institution: Academic Literacies, the Tutorial and High-Achieving Students, Corinne Boz
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.25

The Political Act of Developing Provision for Writing in the Irish Higher Education Context, Lawrence Cleary and Íde O'Sullivan
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.26

Building Research Capacity through an AcLits-Inspired Pedagogical Framework, Lia Blaj-Ward
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.27

Academic Literacies at the Institutional Interface: A Prickly Conversation Around Thorny Issues, Joan Turner
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.28

Reflections 5. Revisiting the Question of Transformation in Academic Literacies: The Ethnographic Imperative, Brian Street in conversation with Mary R. Lea and Theresa Lillis

Resisting the Normative? Negotiating Multilingual Identities in a Course for First Year Humanities Students in Catalonia, Spain, Angels Oliva-Girbau and Marta Milian Gubern
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.29

Academic Literacies and the Employability Curriculum: Resisting Neoliberal Education?, Catalina Neculai
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.30

A Cautionary Tale about a Writing Course for Schools, Kelly Peake and Sally Mitchell
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674.2.31

Reflections 6. "With writing, you are not expected to come from your home": Dilemmas of Belonging, Lucia Thesen

AC Lits Say

List of contributors

About the Editors

Theresa Lillis is Professor of English Language and Applied Linguistics at The Open University, UK. Her main research area is writing- student writing in higher education, scholarly writing for publication, professional social work writing and writing in grassroots political activity. She has authored and co-authored a number of books, including The Sociolinguistics of Writing (2013), Academic Writing in a Global Context (with Mary Jane Curry, 2010) and Student Writing: Access Regulation, Desire (2001).

Kathy Harrington is Principal Lecturer in Educational Development at London Metropolitan University and Visiting Lecturer at the Tavistock Centre, London. Previously she was Academic Lead - Students as Partners, Higher Education Academy, and from 2005-2010 Director of Write Now, a cross-institutional initiative developing writing and assessment practice within disciplines ( She is co-author (with Mick Healey and Abbi Flint) of Engagement through Partnership: Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (2014).

Mary Lea is an Honorary Associate Reader in Academic and Digital Literacies at the Open University, UK. She has researched and published widely in the field of academic literacies. Her more recent work is concerned with the relationship of the digital to knowledge making practices in the university across academic and professional domains. A recent co-edited volume, with Robin Goodfellow, Literacy in the Digital University: Critical Perspectives on Learning, Scholarship and Technology (2013) considers this emerging area of study.

Sally Mitchell is Head of Learning Development at Queen Mary University of London, where in the early 2000s she established "Thinking Writing," a strand of development activity to support academic staff in exploring the uses of writing in their disciplines and their teaching ( She is particularly interested in the ways in which writing development is thought about and positioned institutionally and in questions of who is responsible for students' learning through language.

Publication Information: Lillis, Theresa, Kathy Harrington, Mary R. Lea, & Sally Mitchell (Eds.). (2015). Working With Academic Literacies: Case Studies Towards Transformative Practice. The WAC Clearinghouse; Parlor Press.

Web Publication Date: June 15, 2015.
Print Publication Date: November 6, 2015.

ISBN: 978-1-64215-067-4 (pdf) | 978-1-64215-068-1 (epub) | 978-1-60235-761-7 (pbk.)
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2015.0674

Contact Information:
Theresa Lillis:
Kathy Harrington:
Mary R. Lea:
Sally Mitchell:


Review by Mastin Prinsloo in African Journals Online January 11, 2017.

Perspectives on Writing

Series Editors: Susan H. McLeod, University of California, Santa Barbara; Rich Rice, Texas Tech University

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Copyright © 2015 Theresa Lillis, Kathy Harrington, Mary R. Lea, and Sally Mitchell. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 440 pages, with notes, illustrations, and bibliographies. Available in print from Parlor Press or at any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Available in digital format for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.