Creativity in Everyday Literacy Practices: The contribution of an ethnographic approach

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Karin Tusting
Uta Papen


In this article we explore creativity in everyday literacies. We argue
that much creativity can be found in the seemingly mundane and repetitive
acts of text production and text use that are part of everyday life and work.
Such creativity can only be identified, however, if we look beyond the texts
themselves and examine the practices of making and engaging with texts.
Once we leave aside conventional text-based notions of creativity, which
focus on aesthetic features of language, we can understand creativity as a
‘popular’ and ‘ubiquitous’ event. To support our argument, we give
examples from two different contexts: research on literacy in a parish
community in the North-West of England and a study of literacy in relation
to community-based tourism in Namibia.

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Author Biographies

Karin Tusting, Literacy Research Centre

Karin Tusting is RCUK Research Fellow in 'Changing Literacies in Work, Education and Everyday Life' at the Literacy Research Centre. Her research interests are in the detailed study of social practices using qualitative methods, including ethnography and discourse analysis, with a focus on the role of language in learning in communities.

Uta Papen, Lancaster University

Uta Papen is a lecture in Literacy Studies at Lancaster University, UK. Her research focuses on the role of literacy in relation to the cultures and institutions of everyday life.