I am a lecturer in children’s literature, young adult literature and English Education at Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland. My research interests address a wide range of issues regarding intersections of childhood, young adulthood and power across youth literature and culture in the nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, including gender and LGBTQIA issues in youth culture and literature, fan studies, horror narratives, picturebooks and comics, and philosophy and children’s literature. I am the President of The Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature, a former President of the Irish national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and a former Editor in Chief and Features Editor of Inis: The Children’s Books Ireland Magazine. I won a National Academy Award for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning for my innovation and excellence in linking lecturing, research and pedagogy.
Project Supported by J. J. Kidd Fellowship
My project is entitled “Enhancing Pedagogy and Scholarship with New Research Methods Through the Lens of Children’s Literature Studies” and I will be undertaking professional development at the Children’s Literature Summer School, Antwerp, Belgium in July 2018. The Summer School emphasises experiential and active learning and is attended and facilitated by educators, scholars and practitioners across the liberal arts and social sciences. The seven-day programme explores five thematic strands in children’s literature research: new research methods; age studies; cognitive studies; cultural heritage and children’s media; and urban studies. My project focuses on the first strand of the Summer School: new research methods. The Fellowship has given me a valuable opportunity to discover and implement new, participatory research methods that engage young readers as co-researchers involved in the design, conduct and dissemination of research exploring literature for young people. Developing my knowledge and capacity with digital humanities, participatory research with young readers in their own communities, and new research methods such as computational text analysis of digital texts will enhance my own expertise, praxis, pedagogy and scholarship.
Liberal Arts & Sciences And Me
As a teacher scholar, I hope to create spaces and opportunities for critically reflecting on issues of identity, ideology and power through the exploration of stories for young people. My teaching and research philosophies resonate strongly with the liberal arts and sciences’ emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, reflexivity and the processes of personal and intellectual discovery. All the learning experiences I design and deliver are driven by my commitment to intercultural dialogue, enquiry, interdisciplinary connections, global citizenship and personal development through the arts and education. The principles of liberal arts and sciences -a diversity of teaching methodologies, enquiry, interactive teaching and learning, crossing disciplinary boundaries, and creating learning communities – are central to my pedagogical and research aims. My project aspires to enact these principles and to cultivate innovative and participatory research, scholarly curiosity, interdisciplinary connections, and the potential for myself and my students to act as agents of transformation personally, professionally and in society.