Language, writing, and democracy are issues close to the heart of the university's Professor of Language Teaching and Learning

On 20 April at 09:45–10:20, Carina Hermansson will give her inaugural lecture Language, writing and democracy, open to the public, at the university.

Carina Hermansson will be installed as professor at the Academic Ceremony on 22 April.
Read more about the Academic Ceremony

“To be part of a context that contributes to the development of education and research in the subject of Swedish and language didactics, is incredibly inspiring,” said Carina Hermansson.

At the turn of the year 2021-2022, Carina Hermansson started her work at the University of Borås. In April, she will be one of three professors in Educational Work to be installed as part of the university's Academic Ceremony. In recent years, Carina Hermansson has been particularly interested in younger children's writing and reading in the digital classroom.

Participatory writing

In another exciting project, Carina, together with researchers from Umeå University, investigates what kinds of writing Swedish citizens need in order to participate in society today. In the project, researchers and teachers work together to develop teaching methods that help children and adolescents to enact or realise democracy through writing . Such teaching, which they call Participatory Writing Instruction, is about supporting students in using writing as a tool to express their voices and to participate in society. Different forms of participation often require some kind of writing, for example in posts and comments to friends on social media, in online gaming, in blogs, and sometimes in more formal texts, as contributors to the local newspaper in order to influence something. In other words, Participatory Writing Instruction supports students in developing their ability to express themselves in different types of texts and to different types of readers in different media, both new and old, in school as well as in private life (and by extension, in professional life).

“In general, I am interested in questions related to the importance of language for learning and development. I am also concerned with the ways in which different forms of creative expression, such as drawing, can help students understand scientific connections and processes, i.e. multimodal meaning-making,” said Carina Hermansson.

Curiosity is her driving force

Carina Hermansson grew up on a farm in Skåne. She trained as a primary school teacher in the 1980s and worked as a teacher in primary and lower-secondary school before she pursued a career in academia as a lecturer with a focus on general didactics at Kristianstad University.

“My main driving force is curiosity. For me, it's always fun to go to work. I enjoy working in teams, in interdisciplinary teams, as it often generates new thoughts and new perspectives on knowledge and research,” said Carina Hermansson.

Her interest deepened as she was studying and eventually led her to doctoral studies and to a doctoral degree in 2013. Since then, she has continued to teach, research, and work with school development in various contexts. For the past seven years, she has been active as a Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor at the Department of Language Studies at Umeå University. There, she has further specialised within the field of writing research and she has broadened her research interest in the subject of Swedish and language didactics.

“I have been involved in the development of classroom research, writing research, and critical perspectives that address and answer questions associated with language, culture, and identity as well as writing and democracy,” she said.

Her curiosity is far from sated, and in her new role as Professor of Language Teaching and Learning she sees significant opportunities to continue to be curious and be part of work driven by new challenges and new issues. Her ambition is also to participate in the development of the university's educational programmes in her role as professor and to be able to contribute towards nuancing the educational policy debate.

“Maybe I can summarise my research interest, and my work as a researcher at the Department of Educational Work, by saying that I endeavour to develop a close relation between research and practice, where the aim is collaboration between teachers and researchers on issues related to language, writing, and democracy, but also in relation to all parts of the research, from the design of research to the dissemination of research results.”

Carina Hermansson

Title: Professor of Language Teaching and Learning

Doctoral thesis title and year: Nomadic Writing: Exploring Processes of Writing in Early Childhood Education, 2013

A person I am inspired by: My friend who is a fantastically good listener and inspirer

My best tip for junior researchers: To attend to the joy of asking questions and seeking answers.

Last book read: I May Be Wrong by Björn Natthiko Lindeblad and others.

What did you know about Borås as a city before you came here?
After spending the last few years at Umeå University, I noted that the sculptor Sean Henry created “The Lying Man” (also known as “The Lazy Student” here in Borås), placed outside the University Library at the University of Borås. In Umeå, there is “The Standing Man,” which was created by the same sculptor.

Carina Hermansson's research profile page