Dr Clare Dowdall

Dr Clare Dowdall

Lecturer in Language and Literacy Education

Plymouth Institute of Education (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)


I have worked at Plymouth University since 2001 as a Lecturer in Language and Literacy Education. I completed my PhD in children's text production in online social networking sites in 2012. I currently lead and teach English on the PGCE programmes in the Plymouth Institute of Education. I also act as supervisor for Ph.D and Ed.D candidates. I have acted as professional tutor for PGCE students and have taught on the PGCE Professional Studies module. Currently I work in school with trainees following a School Direct training route, as well as with campus-based students. I am a dissertation supervisor for final year B.Ed English Specialist students.

I have an active research profile. My current interest is in 21st century children's writing and text production - in and beyond the school context. Currently I am researching into conceptualisations of children's writing in the 21st century.

I am Associate Editor for the Wiley Blackwell journal 'Literacy'.

I am an active member of the United Kingdom Literacy Association. I sit on their Executive Council and convene their Publications Sub-Committee.

I am passionate about the development of literacy in children's lives, within and beyond formal educational settings. 


Plymouth University, PhD (2012)
Text production in Bebo: A study of three children's text production in online social networking sites

University of Plymouth, MA(Ed) Language and Literacy (2004) 
Dissertation: Four children's 'out-of-school' text production: a multiple case study
University of Exeter, BA(Ed) Primary Education with English and Drama (QTS) (1997)
Primary school teacher and English Coordinator 1997 - 2001

Professional membership

United Kingdom Literacy Association member (2002 -  present)

Roles on external bodies

Associate Editor - Literacy (Wiley Blackwell) (November 2014 - present)
Executive Council member -  United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA)  (2013 - present)
Convener of Publications Sub-Committee -  United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) (2013 - present)
Regional representative for United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) (2008-2013)
Regional representative for MULTIVERSE (TDA) (2007-2009)
Co-opted Governor (Curriculum) Ladysmith Junior School (2002-2006)
Teacher Governor (Curriculum) Haywards Primary School (1999-2001)

Teaching interests

Ph.D/ Ed.D supervisor (2013 - present)

Paul Gosling: An exploration of children’slived experience of school success and its implications Second supervisor Ed.D (Part time)

Andrew Whelan:  The use of digital text to mediatechildren’s literacy development in an Irish educational domain Second supervisor (Hibernia) Ph.D (Full time)

Carrie Ansell: Literacy and First Place Second supervisor PhD (Part time) to RDC1

Cicely Alsbury: Ed D

PGCE English module leader for Primary, Early Years and School Direct pathways (2008 - present)

PGCE Core module coordinator (2013-present)

B.Ed module leader and tutor, core and specialist English (2001-present)

PGCE professional studies tutor (2001-2006)

Key interest areas:

Children's literacy and language development in the primary and early years (reading, writing, spoken language)

Literacy pedagogy in the primary and early years

Literacy curriculum and policy

The New Literacy Studies/ literacy as social and cultural practice

Multiliteracies and new literacies in school and beyond school

Children's literature

Children's online, digital and informal text production

Research skills

Grounded theory/ Constructivist grounded theory

Learning theory

Writing for academic purposes

Research interests

Children's writing and text production in the 21st Century - in and beyond educational contexts

Co-convenor for Digital Literacies in Education UKLA SIG, July 2016-June 2019 

Digital literacies and identity(ies); digital text production; social networking; literacy and childhood; new textual landscapes

Co-researcher for funded research project (UKLA) with Professor Victoria warrington (UEA) Urban textual landscapes: diversity and change 



Dowdall, C. (2016) paper accepted for Symposium presentation ‘New’Literacies for the 21st Century: Children’s ‘writing’ in the 21stcentury: curriculum, crafting and design UKLAInternational Conference, Bristol, July 2016.

Dowdall,C. (2016) Children’s text production in the 21st century: mastery,crafting and control Invited webinar for Hibernia CollegeResearch Seminar series, Dublin, February 2016

Dowdall,C. (2015) Children’s text production in the 21st century: mastery,crafting and control Invited seminar for UEA Research Seminarseries. Norwich, November 2015

Dowdall, C. (2015) Crafting and control: children as text producers in Bebo. Research paper. UKLA International Conference, Nottingham, July 2015

Dowdall, C. (2014) Creation and Curation: Social networking as mastery of the textual and the social, contributing to the Symposium ‘Digital Literacies: Past, present and future’ at the UKLA International Conference: 50 Years of Literacy: Continuity and Change. University of Sussex, July 2014

Dowdall, C. (2013) Social control and textual control: the mastery of text production in the everyday, Everyday language, Everyday Literacies Conference, University of Sheffield, 28-29th June 2013

Dowdall, C. (2009) Symposium participant: report of DAIWA funded international seminars and research project Personal and Professional: exploring the digital lives of intending teachers and their emerging classroom practice - reported at UKLA 45th International conference, Greenwich, London, July 2009 

Dowdall, C. (2008) Performing and negotiating social identities through online text production  The International Seminar for the development of Digital Literacies in Schools, Homes, and Communities, The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Nara, Japan, December 2008

Dowdall, C. (2008) Performing and negotiating social identities through online text production United Kingdom Literacy Association 44th International Conference, Liverpool, UK

Dowdall, C. (2006) Invited speaker at ESRC Seminar Series seminar 3 July 2006: Digital cultures, informal learning and school practice Producing digital texts at home and school

Dowdall, C. (2006) United Kingdom Literacy Association 42nd International Conference
Digital Literacies:SIG Symposium, July 2006, Nottingham

Dowdall, C. and Carrington, V. (2006) Mobile Technologies, Curriculum and pre-service teacher educators United Kingdom Literacy Association 42nd International Conference, July 2006, Nottingham 

Dowdall, C. (2005) Symposium - Dissonance and Diversity: Children, literacies and identities Dissonance between the cultural words of school and home United Kingdom Literacy Association 41st International Conference, Bath, 2005 

Dowdall, C. (2004) Three year 6 writers and their 'out-of-school' text production United Kingdom Literacy Association 40th International Conference, Manchester, 2004 


Media Literacies SIG (UKLA) November 2104 - present

Core group member of ESRC research seminar series: 'Children and young people's digital literacies in virtual online spaces' 2009 - 2011

Core group member of ESRC research seminar series: 'Rethinking Youth Culture in the age of Global Media 2008-2010

Core group member of ESRC research seminar group: 'Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures' March 2005 - July 2007 

Core group member of UKLA Digital literacies SIG January 2006 - July 2007

Research groups

  • e-Learning
  • Early Childhood Studies
  • Professional Theory and Practice

Other academic activities

Invited to act as discussant at Language,Literacy and Identity International Conference, University of Sheffield,July 2016

Invited to become core member for Children’sDigital Books and Literacy Apps SIG (UKLA), September 2015

Appointed Associate Editor Literacy:Journal of the UKLA November 2014

Published by Wiley, Impact Factor: 0.378, ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014:111/172 (Linguistics); 179/224 (Education & Educational Research)

ESRC rapporteur Summer 2015 for the ESRC project Literacy attainment, data and discourse from themid-19th century to the present day: a sociological account using mixed methodsresearch Professor Gemma Moss

Invited guest editor for special issue of Literacy, entitled Popular Culture and Curriculum, to be published in April 2014

Invited panel member for the UKLA/ Wiley Blackwell Research in Literacy Education Award, 2013

Regular reviewer for Literacy, Discourse

Convener of UKLA Publications sub committee


ESRC Seminar Series - Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures 2005 - 2007