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Dr Josie Barnard SFHEA

Job: Associate Professor in Creative Writing

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: 0116 250 6196



Social Media:


Personal profile

Josie Barnard is an author and academic whose specialist area – the impact of ‘digital’ on writing and publishing –  informs her teaching.  Her programme of research centres on the application of creativity to the challenge of bridging the digital divide.  Her work on digital literacy is represented by her Bloomsbury monograph The Multimodal Writer: Creative Writing Across Genres and Media (2019). Her research into digital inclusion is represented by her BBC Radio 4 programme, Digital Future: the New Underclass (2019). She has developed an empirically tested pedagogical model for teaching digital literacy.  The award-winning author of six books, extensive print and broadcast journalism and international academic articles and chapters, Dr. Barnard is invited co-editor of a Multimodal Writing Special Issue of the National Association of Writers in Education international peer reviewed journal Writing in Practice (2022).  She collaborates with government departments and other key stakeholder groups to inform policy and develop citizens’ digital literacy. Dr. Barnard is Creative Writing Subject Leader of Creative Writing.   

Josie welcomes PhD applications, especially in the field of Creative Writing, Digital, Publishing and Multimodal Writing. 

Research group affiliations

  • Leicester Centre for Creative Writing 
  • Institute of English
  • Creative and Heritage Industries

Publications and outputs

Dr. Barnard’s extensive Full List of Public Work is available on request.  Please find below a sample. 

Sample work as editor:

Barnard, Josie and Neale, Derek (eds.) (2022) ‘Multimodal Writing Special Issue’, Writing in Practice. York: National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE). Available at:

Description: Due to the important impact of the ‘digital turn' on writers and writing, the editorial board of this international peer reviewed Creative Writing journal invited Dr Barnard to co-edit the journal’s first ever Special Issue - its subject, Dr. Barnard’s research: multimodal writing.  Writers have perhaps become split between those who feel “techy” and those who feel they are falling behind. This volume shares knowledge, methodologies, and approaches.  Whether directly or indirectly, the digital revolution has affected every aspect of the writing and publishing process. Writing – often thought of as primarily text-based – now routinely involves multiple modes of reproduction and presentation, with photographs, emoji and audio – just to give three examples - featuring as integral parts of online narratives. The explosion of new media may lead a writer to experiment with new technologies (perhaps writing Twine poetry, producing podcasts or moving into self-publishing).  This volume reflect this multiplicity.  Evident throughout this rich and intriguingly wide range of contributions is the inherent multimodality of creative writing practice, research, facilitation and pedagogy.

Sample monograph: 

Barnard, J. (2019) The Multimodal Writer: Creative Writing Across Genres and Media. London: Bloomsbury. 

Description: These are exciting times for creative writing. In a digital age, the ability to move between types of writing and technologies - often at speed - is increasingly essential for writers. Yet, such flexibility can be difficult to achieve, and, how to develop it remains a pressing challenge. The Multimodal Writer combines theory, practitioner case studies and insightful writing exercises to support writers tackling the challenges and embracing the opportunities that come with new media technologies. Including interviews with a selection of internationally acclaimed authors, such as Simon Armitage, Robert Coover and Rhianna Pratchett, this book equips writers with the tools to not just survive but, rather, thrive in an era characterised by fast-paced change. With its focus on writing across genres, modes and media, this book is ideal for students of Creative Writing, Professional Writing, Media Writing and Journalism.

Sample BBC Radio 4 programme: 

Barnard, J. (2019) Presenter. Digital Future: The New Underclass. Radio. BBC Radio 4, 3rd Sept. time 11am & 9th Sept 9pm

Description: Dr Josie Barnard investigates the deep social divides created by the digital world. Whether booking a flight to go on holiday or ordering a takeaway, digital technology is so embedded in everyday life that it's easy to assume everyone is on a level playing field. Or that those who aren't are part of an older generation who didn't grow up with computers. But that's a dangerous assumption. 22% of the British population lack the digital skills they need to get by day-to-day. That's more than one in five people who struggle with signing their child up to school, filling in a tax return, or even using a smartphone to make a call. And as more and more essential services move online, falling behind the pace of change carries severe consequences. For young people., the risks of being left behind are buried under the assumption that they are digital natives - that they have supposedly grown up with an innate ability to use digital technology. But as the number of smartphone-only households grows, millions of children are in danger of their digital world shrinking around a tiny touchscreen. Dr Barnard asks if this is simply a question of affordability and motivation, or whether more complicated factors are at play. She speaks to people struggling to find space at public computer banks to complete their Universal Credit forms, and a group who are jumping hurdles to get online because of their severe dyslexia, and gets behind the screens of smartphone-only teenagers to find out how the kind of device and the way we use it can be just as detrimental as not having it at all.

Sample articles/chapters: 

Barnard, J. (2019).  ‘Twitter and Creative Writing: generating an “authentic” online self’. In Innocent Chiluwa and Gwen Bouvier (eds) Twitter: Global Perspectives, Uses and Research Techniques.  New York: Nova Science Publishers. 

Barnard, J. (2017) ‘Testing Possibilities: on negotiating writing practices in a “postdigital” age (tools and methods)’, in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 14: 2, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/14790726.2016.127802; pp. 275-289. 

Barnard, J. (2016) ‘Tweets as microfiction: on Twitter’s live nature and 140 character limit as tools for developing storytelling skills’, in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, Routledge, DOI:10.1080/14790726.2015.1127975, pp. 3-16. (Selected by Taylor and Francis for additional promotion: period of Open Access; press release and blog.)


Books include: 

Barnard, J. (2011) The Book of Friendship. London: Virago. 

Barnard, J. (2000) The Pleasure Dome. London: Virago. 

Barnard, J. (1996) Poker Face. London: Virago. 

Barnard, J. (1994) The Virago Women’s Guide to London. London: Virago. 

Barnard, J. (1993) The Virago Women’s Guide to New York. London: Virago. 

Research interests/expertise

Dr. Barnard’s expertise is in Creative Writing, with particular focus on ‘The Multimodal Writer’ and the role of creativity in 'digital'. Her academic research portfolio includes: multimodal writing; digital communications; the pedagogy of creative writing; digital literacy; employability. Her practice-based research includes: Betty Trask Award-winning fiction published by Virago/LittleBrown; BBC Radio 4 radio prime-time programmes and documentaries (presenting/producing); extensive journalism, features and reviews for newspapers, journals and magazines including the Guardian, the Independent, and Times Literary Supplement. (Also see ‘Personal Profile’.). 

Areas of teaching

Creative Writing





  • PhD by Public Works, 'The Multimodal Writer', Middlesex University.
  • Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), Middlesex University.
  • Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS), Mary Ward.
  • BA in Russian Soviet Literature, Liverpool University.

Courses taught

Dr. Barnard teaches on the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, on modules such as Writing Place and Writing Ecosystems. 

Honours and awards

Betty Trask Award (first novel, Poker Face), 1997 

Membership of external committees

  • Member of Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) ‘Digital Skills and Inclusion Working Group’ (2018-present). 
  • Member of Advisory Panel for UK Nuffield Foundation Project on Developing Citizen’s Data Literacy (Jan 2020 to present).
  • Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Digital Skills Partnership Inclusive Workforce (June 2021 to present).

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Society of Authors (1996 to present). 
  • Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, ALCS (1996 to present). 

Professional licences and certificates

  • Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), Middlesex University.
  • Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS), Mary Ward.

Consultancy work

Dr. Barnard collaborates with government departments and other key stakeholder groups to inform policy and strategy decisions relating to digital literacy and digital inclusion. Digital inclusion consultancy includes for Open College Network (OCN) on the suite of Ofqual designated Essential Digital Skills Qualifications.

Current research students

Gardner, Joe, 1st supervisor FT  

Georgiou, Rosie, 1st supervisor PT 

Lee, Charlene, 1st supervisor, FT 

Wilde, Emma, 1st supervisor, FT


Butterwick, Caroline, 2nd supervisor, FT

Dobson, Philip, 2nd supervisor, FT  

Pinnick, Julian, 2nd supervisor, FT

Lewis, Peter, 3rd supervisor, FT  

Externally funded research grants information

UKRI, 2022:

PI on UKRI-funded digital inclusion project, 'Digital Creativity Live at the Museum', working with partners including Leicester Museum and the Leicester-based charity Reaching People, with support from Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Numerous industry funded practice research commissions include:

prime time BBC Radio 4 programmes;

award-winning Virago publisher commercial fiction and creative non-fiction;

Film 4 script;

Arts Council/British Film Institute/Granada TV funded arts events.


Professional esteem indicators

Dr. Barnard's research into the role of creativity in 'digital' is the subject of an international peer reviewed journal special Issue, a chapter in a book on creative practice (alongside Anna Burns, Penelope Lively and Sir Roy Strong), a podcast and a prime time BBC Radio 4 programme:

  • Barnard, Josie and Neale, Derek (eds.) (2022) ‘Multimodal Writing Special Issue’, Writing in Practice. York: National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE). Available at:
  • Sue Gee (2021), ‘Josie Barnard’, in Just You and the Page: Encounters with twelve writers Bridgend: Seren pp. 341-369.
  • Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA). (2020) Subject Dr. Josie Barnard SFHEA, interviewed by Ana Baeza for ‘Home Writer’, That Feels Like Home (Series 1, Episode 5). Podcast. 15th April. 35.38 mins.
  • Barnard, Josie (2019) Digital Future: The New Underclass. Radio. BBC Radio 4, 3rd Sept. time 11am & 9th Sept 9pm

Case studies

REF2021 Impact Case Study:

Dr. Barnard's research is the subject of a REF2021 Impact Case Study titled 'Briding the Digital Divide: creativity research resulting in digital upskilling'. The case study details utilisation of Barnard's research to benefit individuals and organisations addressing digital exclusion including education providers, charities/NGOs, the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) as well as professional writers and the publishing industry. 

ORCID number