Dr. Josie Barnard SFHEA’s academic research centres on the application of creativity to the challenge of bridging the digital divide.  Her research is the subject of a REF2021 Impact Case Study, Bridging the Digital Divide: Creativity research resulting in digital upskilling.  Josie’s participatory research projects include the UKRI-funded ‘Digital creativity live at the museum’ (2022), a project for which she is working with partners including Leicester Museum and the charity Reaching People. Josie is the invited co-editor of a Special Issue of the international academic journal Writing in Practice (2022), on the subject of her multimodal writing research, a field that she has pioneered.  She is, alongside writers including Anna Burns and Penelope Lively, the subject of a chapter in Sue Gee’s Just You and the Page: Twelve writers and their art (Seren, 2021).

Josie’s research into the role of creativity in ‘future-proofing’ (or, sustainable and resilient) digital engagement is represented by outputs including The Multimodal Writer (2019).  The programme of research that this book represents is informed by many years’ teaching and practice. Its formal start is marked by her 2012 submission of evidence to the Government’s Culture Select Committee, evidence that was quoted in Parliament by MP Sharon Hodgson: ‘Students who are taught creative writing are taught creative thinking’. A key task for Josie has been delineating how to teach the kind of creative thinking that will enable sure-footed negotiation of a digital writing and publishing landscape that constantly morphs and changes.  She has developed an empirically tested pedagogical model for teaching digital literacy.    

She collaborates with government departments and other key stakeholder groups to inform policy and develop digital inclusion. 

For sample detail of Josie’s research, see and

The Multimodal Writing Special Issue of Writing in Practice that Josie co-edited is available here: