The Harold Rosen Lectures

Below you can find all the Harold Rosen lectures, by Michael Rosen, Shirley Brice Heath, Stanley Wells, Jonothan Neelands, Teresa Cremin, Myra Barrs and Sarah Horrocks, Simon Wrigley and Gabrielle Cliff Hodges. The Harold Rosen lectures are given in memory of the influential educator and teacher whose work on English teaching remains an important force in the shaping of theory and practice in this field. They are jointly promoted by the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE), the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), and the Digital Arts Research Education (DARE) research collaborative at the UCL Institute of Education. They aim to disseminate the best contemporary thinking about literacy and arts education, both in the UK and internationally, through three lectures each year.



The first lecture was given, appropriately enough, by Michael Rosen, Harold’s son, at the launch of the DARE centre in June 2012. Michael delivered a passionate and characteristically humorous defence of the place of poetry and the arts more generally in education, interwoven with memories of his father’s life, poetry and educational work.

You can hear an audio recording here.


BRICE HEATH PICThe second Harold Rosen lecture was given at the British Library by Shirley Brice Heath in February 2013. Part of the UKLA international symposium Ways of Reading, it was entitled Deciphering Landscapes of Reading.

She began with a substantial tribute to Harold Rosen, and an account of his influence on her own work and thinking. Her lecture introduced her new book, Words at Work and Play, thirty years after her influential work Ways With Words.

The podcast of this lecture can be downloaded from the UKLA site.


Wells picThe third Harold Rosen Lecture was given by Professor Stanley Wells CBE at the NATE conference, 2013. The conference was held in Stratford-upon-Avon. Stanley Wells’ lecture was entitled: “Is it True What They Say About Shakespeare?”, and contained a series of sharp challenges to popular (mis)conceptions about the work of Shakespeare and its relation to his life.

Follow this link for details of the conference, post-conference discussions, and other information.

You can listen to the audio recording of the lecture on the player below.


Neelands picThe fourth lecture was given by Professor Jonothan Neelands at the DARE Arts day, 21st June, 2013. Jonothan gave an exhilarating defence of the performing arts in education, and a savage critique of the marginalization of the arts in policy domains internationally. He also made recollections of Harold Rosen’s political interventions in education and the arts a powerful theme in his lecture.

You can listen to Jonothan’s lecture in full in the player below.


michael rosenThe fifth lecture in this series jointly promoted by DARE, NATE and UKLA, “Looking for Language”, was given by Michael Rosen at the 2014 NATE conference in Bristol on the 27th June. Tom Rank of NATE commented: “Michael Rosen was in top form on the first day of NATE Conference, moving from the personal (a poem about eating hot potatoes round the family table – we all had to join in) to the educational, grammatical and political”.

You can access the text of Michael’s lecture here. You can also view a short interview conducted by NATE, here.

Below is the audio recording of Michael’s Harold Rosen lecture.


07/teresa-cremin.jpg”> Teresa Cremin

The sixth lecture was given by Teresa Cremin o


The sixth lecture was given by Teresa Cremin of the Open University, as part of UKLA’s 50th International Conference on July 6th 2015. Entitled ‘Revisiting the Power of Narrative’, it begins with an appreciation of Harold Rosen’s contribution to thinking about narrative. It moves on to explore children’s engage with and production of narrative, considered in relation to questions of creativity, performance, play and pedagogy, and anchored in a rich variety of work with teachers, children, and prominent researchers in related fields of study.

You can access Teresa’s lecture and presentation slides at the UKLA site here.


rocks.png”> Myra Barrs & Sarah Horrocks

“All the Children Have a Voice”: Educational blogs and their effects o

[/caption]“All the Children Have a Voice”: Educational blogs and their effects on students’ writing. This talk, by Myra Barrs and Sarah Horrocks, was given on Friday 28th November 2014, 5-6.30 pm in the Drama Studio, Level 1, UCLInstitute of Education, Bedford Way. It was promoted jointly by DARE and LATE (London Association for the Teaching of English).

There is plenty of evidence to show that blogging arouses students’ interest and enthusiasm for writing, but very little attention has been paid to its effects on the quality of writing in general, or to its potential for developing students’ writing in new directions. Myra and Sarah’s research project set out to study practice in blogging, with a particular emphasis on children’s writing, in four primary classes. In most classrooms, for most pupils, blogging resulted in pupils’ increased engagement in writing, greater awareness of audience, greater awareness of their own writing and that of others, and an enhanced sense of belonging to a writing community.

The talk was grounded in an introductory flashback to Harold Rosen’s work, its emphasis on writing for a purpose and an audience contrasted with the artificial, mechanistic approaches promoted by the late QCA. The blog writing was shown to reinstate a sense of purpose and audience, a writing community of peers, and a relaxed, productive use of language.

Listen to the audio version here:


simon-wrigley-pic Simon Wrigley

The 8th lecture, “The Occupation of Writing”, was given by Simon Wrigley at the annual NATE conference, 27th June 2015, in Newcastle.

Simon is a former English teacher and Adviser, and currently a director of The National Writing Project UK.

Simon began his talk with a poem of Harold Rosen’s, and acknowledged his work several times during the talk, referring to his insistence on the significance of writing, the power of anecdote, and the politics of writing. His talk considered how teachers can nurture children’s writing, and escape the shackles of writing frames and scaffolding; and also, importantly, how teachers can also be writers, finishing the talk with a reference to his own work on this theme.

The text of the lecture can be found here.


gabrielle-cliff-hodges Gabrielle Cliff Hodges

The 9th Harold Rosen lecture, “Who’ll Tell the Story?”, was given by Gabrielle Cliff Hodges at the UKLA 2016 conference.

Gabrielle is a former English teacher and Head of English, and is currently a University Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Cambridge, where she leads the English PGCE programme.

This lecture re-visited some of Harold Rosen’s powerful arguments in The Dramatic Mode (1980) and Stories and Meanings (1985) about why it matters that young people both create their own narratives in the classroom and engage with other people’s narratives as well.

It suggested arguments for teachers researching their own practice, especially through critically reflecting on and analysing rich data generated by what students draw, say or write about the role of narratives in their lives.

Finally, it anticipated reasons why narratives – whether crafted in new or conventional media – might prove to be of ongoing value as the twenty-first century continues, considering in particular their potential contribution to sustainable futures for both young people and the teachers who  educate them.

Listen to the lecture below.


Or – visit the UKLA site and listen there.

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