This website brings together scholars from various disciplines, to present their work-in-progress on young peoples’ literacy practices. More specifically, it focuses on the process of the ‘shaping of literacies’ (visual literacy, digital literacy, textual literacy etc.) among young people. What does it mean for young people to be literate in a given culture at a given time, how are these literacies trained and acquired, and what are the functions of these literacies?
Instead of defining literacy in a normative sense – as reading or writing well or to use (new) media technologies properly – we define literacies as competencies: as the abilities to understand and use textual, visual and digital media, and to reflect upon the skills needed to use these media. The abilities, in short, to deal with media as user and producer. We are interested in young people’s interactions with, and use of, the repertoire of available media (from texts and prints to television and social networking sites), selected in relation to different age groups.
We study these aspects of literacies in a comparative and historical perspective in order to better understand general issues related to young people’s literacy practices and to investigate the specifics of our case studies in more depth. The invention of the printing press, for instance, placed young people in the early modern age in quite a similar overload of media developments and interaction with the media as seen in today’s world: how do young generations cope with such circumstances? The digital revolution implied that young people have been developing the skills required to use new media technologies and new cultural formats in informal learning situations outside the framework of the classroom: what similarities are found with the pre-modern period in which a majority of young people was also trained outside a regular school system?
dr. Feike Dietz
3512 JK Utrecht
Phone number (direct): +31 30 253 8310