Video can be visually engaging and intellectually rigorous.


quote_markThis video is a terrific resource for practitioners.

We are using extracts from it within our Open University MA Module because it distills the findings from the research so effectively, and provides clear insights for practice.
Dr. Janet Maybin, Course Chair, Open University

Leaflet on the Literacies for Learning DVD and booklet (pdf)

Literacies for Learning in Further Education

Documentary video + resources for teacher education and professional development.  (Find the DVD and booklet on £22.50)
Funding:  UK ESRC-TLRP

This video documentary received over 300 pre-orders on DVD, and was submitted as one of the two ‘nominated outputs’ to the ESRC from the major research project – an acknowledgement of its combined intellectual and communicative value.  The project was subsequently graded ‘Outstanding’ in its ESRC End of Award evaluation.

The UK Open University has recently purchased 8 minutes of the video to use as part of an MA course module for professional development in education.

opening of literacies documentary

Video contents (47 mins)
1 Actions for understanding (3 approaches)
2 Reflections and review
3 Actions for change (framework + 5 case studies)

Literacies for Learning in Further Education (LfLFE) was a three-year ESRC-TLRP-funded collaboration between researchers at Lancaster University and The University of Stirling School of Education, with subject and vocational lecturers in four FE colleges and a hundred of their students.

The focus of the project was to move beyond thinking of reading and writing in terms of ‘basic skills’ (and of literacy in terms of ‘skills deficit’) to understand the varied social and professional practices of reading and writing that students already know in their lives, and those they now need to learn for their study and careers.

Booklet page

The booklet provides a summary of the video content, research themes and case studies, quotable clarifications of the key issues, suggestions for discussion and an annotated bibliography.

It also includes an A4 copyable version of the framework for use in the development and review of course materials.

literacies dvdThe challenge for the dissemination was that this shift in thinking is subtle as well as profound.  The argument therefore needed to come from many angles, and be practical as well as clear.  The presentation also needed to give the teacher/lecturer audience something positive to take and use in their work.

It was clear that the research could best be communicated if this audience could hear the participating FE lecturers talk in practical terms about how their thinking and teaching had changed as a result of being involved in the research.

The video is based on 15 interviews in five locations, and is also narrated.  Drafts were reviewed by the team, and trialled directly in dissemination presentations by the Project Director, Professor Roz Ivaníc.

The DVD and booklet
are an authored publication with an ISBN.  After fulfilling the 300+ pre-orders, it was made available online through  It has a price (£22.50) to cover ongoing distribution.  See leaflet. (pdf) Leaflet on Literacies for Learning in FE - DVD and Booklet

The DVD and booklet are intended for use in continuing professional development and pre-service teacher education, as well as for direct use by FE lecturers on vocational and subject courses when reviewing and developing their course materials.


“dynamic, engaging and innovative”
Professor Andrew Pollard, Director, ESRC Teaching & Learning Research Programme (TLRP)

“This is a valuable piece of work that should be used in every FE college.  I was impressed with the DVD because it constructs such a clear case for the approach.  The booklet is very helpful – I really connected with the 9 box framework.”
Andy Fraser, Curriculum Leader Communication and Adult Literacies,
Orkney College, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

“I was surprised at how I couldn’t stop watching it and how engaging it is … how good it is as an explanation of reading and writing as social practices”
David Barton, Professor of Language and Literacy, Lancaster University

“It was so interesting I watched it right through twice.  It’s a different way of thinking, and I got it.”
Michael Burke, training to teach adult literacy, at Kendal College

“The design, layout and text is super….the end result will be so useful for teacher training.”
Ian Gibb, Lecturer, Perth College of Further Education

“It is a joy to see FE lecturers doing the research … research that may well change the way in which vocational subjects are taught in the future”
Christine Tyler, Association of School and College Leaders, formerly Principal of Eccles College


ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme
Lancaster University
The University of Stirling School of Education


The video has been recognised as a rigorous and imaginative development of the research themes and framework.  It offers a visually engaging presentation of the research ideas and the FE lecturers’ work.  As affirmations by the ESRC, the OU and reviewers show, it was an achievement.  It demonstrates what the PublicSpace approach can achieve.

In terms of technical quality, the video includes some interviews and images filmed by the team during the project, and it was produced with limited camera and audio technology.  Nevertheless, it produces a good image, including in our tests on 40″ flat-screen TVs.  It shows well on large monitors in lectures and seminars as well as on computers and home TV.

(PublicSpace now uses professional video and audio technology throughout the process of filming and editing.  See our explanation page ‘About research on video’, and recent examples of our work on the ‘Video’ services page.)

Contributors include:

Project directors: Professor Roz Ivaníc, Lancaster University Literacy Research Centre (project director); Professor Richard Edwards and Dr Greg Mannion, The University of Stirling School of Education (co-directors).

Researchers: Dr Zoe Fowler, Dr Kate Miller, Candice Satchwell, June Smith.

Further Education subject and vocational lecturers as co-researchers:  Dave Brown, Joanne Knowles and Sandra Mulligan at Preston College;  Jim Carmichael at Anniesland College, Glasgow;  Joyce Gaechter, Ian Gibb and Ronnie Goodman and students at Perth College;  Sarah Wilcock and students at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Produced by PublicSpace Ltd.  Developed and written by Dr Simon Pardoe in collaboration with Professor Roz Ivaníc and the team.

The development of these materials was funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), Grant no RES-139-25-0117.