Before moving into academia Jen was a primary school teacher and a librarian. She spent several years as a Key Stage 2 teacher in Hampshire and Cambridgeshire, and has worked in both school and academic libraries. Jen joined the OU in July 2019, contributing specialisms in literacy, literature and culture to the Primary Education team. Prior to this she was a visiting lecturer at City, University of London, where she taught a module on 'Child and Adolescent Literature, Literacies, and Library Services'.
Jen's research interests centre around children's culture, and include children's cultural engagements and reader response, children's library collections, and visual texts. Her PhD research explored children's experiences of reading illustrated novels. She has also published research on digital comics, and on children's involvement in the development of library collections. Jen conducts both theoretical and empirical research and is particularly interested in participatory forms of research which position children as co-researchers.
Jen is the Module Chair of E209 Developing Subject Knowledge for the Primary Years. She is also a member of the authoring team for the Primary PGCE. She was lead author for Strand B Understanding Learners and Strand C Planning, and provided contributions around English Language, Literature, Literacy, Arts, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across the PGCE. Jen is also a member of the authoring team for the rewrite of EA300 Children's Literature.
I worked with the British Library to develop a new web archive collection of British webcomics. The archive can be found at the link below. Please nominate any British webcomics you know of that aren't currently represented and help us to grow the archive!
I am currently working on an AHRC funded Digital Children's Library Network, working with colleagues from the University of Cambridge, University of Florida, Anglia Ruskin University, and the University of Antwerp. For updates on the project please see our social media accounts:
Pictures and picturing: mental imagery whilst reading illustrated novels (2022-06-15)
Cambridge Journal of Education ((Early Access))
Defining digital comics: a British Library perspective (2019)
Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 10(4) (pp. 393-409)
Where are the children in children’s collections? An exploration of ethical principles and practical concerns surrounding children’s participation in collection development (2018)
New Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship, 24(1) (pp. 1-17)
“What is the Use of a Book Without Pictures?” An Exploration of the Impact of Illustrations on Reading Experience in A Monster Calls (2017-09)
Children's Literature in Education, 48(3) (pp. 230-244)
Collecting and Preserving Digital Comics (2017-09-07)
The British Library, London.