University of Calgary

Erin Spring

  • Associate Professor

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Dr. Spring is an Assistant Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She holds a BA (Honours) in English from Trent University and a B.Ed from Queen’s University. Erin was a classroom teacher in London, UK, before returning to graduate studies. She earned an MPhil and PhD from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Between 2014-2017 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Broadly speaking, Erin’s interdisciplinary research focuses on young people’s literacies, texts, and cultures.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Drawing on a range of methodological approaches, including reading discussion groups, photo-elicitation, and map-making, Erin’s research seeks to understand the ways in which young people make sense of their identities through reading, writing, and art. Her research projects are united thematically by a shared investment in stories and storytelling as a way of articulating identity development, with a particular focus on the influence of place. Her ongoing objective as a settler scholar is to collaborate with communities, including schools, to ask and answer questions that matter to them, facilitating social change, building capacity, and promoting student wellbeing.

Current Projects:

  • I am a co-applicant on the SSHRC Partnership Grant funded Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Ithiniwak: Reclamation, Regeneration, and Reconciliation. The overall goal of our project is to move forward the ongoing work of reclaiming Aboriginal langauges, histories, and knowledges among the Asiniskow Ithiniwak (Rocky Cree), work that is taking place now in the context of the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. This project was also supported by a 2019 SSHRC Special Connection Indigenous Research Capacity Grant
  • Culturally responsive literacy: Student and teacher engagement with text in Rocky Cree Nation. Funded by a University of Calgary URGC Seed Grant ($15,000).
  • Being Human: Deconstructing Representations of Evolution in Children’s Literature. I am currently collaborating on a project with Dr. Eve Tandoi from the University of Gloucestershire (UK). Our project seeks to understand the ways in which engaging with picturebooks that represent a scientific understanding of evolution affect young people’s shared sense of what it means to be human.
  • “Understanding Indigenous students’ perceptions of well-being: A case study in equitable urban education”. PI. Collaboration with Calgary Catholic School Division, Dr. Umit Boz, & Dr. Greg Tweedie. Funded by an Alberta Education Partnership Grant ($50,000).

Completed Projects:

  • The Blackfoot Adolescent Reading Project. Funded by Diversity Grant (Children’s Literature Association), Frances E. Russell Grant (IBBY Canada), and the Institute for Child and Youth Studies (U of L).
  • Raising Spirit: The Opokaa'sin Digital Storytelling Project. Collaboration with Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society and Institute for Child and Youth Studies (University of Lethbridge). Principal Investigators: Tanya Pace Crosschild (Opokaa’sin), Jan Newberry (Anthropology, U of L) & Kristine Alexander (History, U of L). Funded by PolicyWise for Children and Families and the Community Foundation of Lethbridge’s Canada 150 fund.
  • “Our Torontos are Different Places”: young adult fiction and young adult readers’ constructions of place within and beyond the text. Funding provided by the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, Homerton College, and Cambridge Faculty of Education. Awarded UKLA student research prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation.


Doctor of Philosophy (Education)
University of Cambridge

Master of Philosophy (Education)
University of Cambridge

Bachelor of Education
Queen’s University

Bachelor of Arts in English
Trent University


Journal Articles & Book Chapters:

Lock, J., Kjorlien, Y., Tweedie, G., Dressler, R., Eaton, S. E., & Spring, E. (2019). Advancing the writing of academics: Stories from the writing group. In N. Simmons & A. Singh (Eds.), Critical collaboration communities: Academic writing partnerships, groups, and retreats (pp. 55-65): Brill/Sense Publishers.

Spring, E., & Huddleston, A. (2019). Ways of being and becoming in the adolescent classroom: An invitation to consider the possibilities of throwntogetherness. In K. Lenters & M. McDermott (Eds.), Affect, Embodiment, and Place in Critical Literacy: Assembling Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge.

Alexander, K., Eagle Bear, H., Heavy Runner, T., Henrickson, A., Little Mustache, T., Pace Crosschild, T., Mack, A., Newberry, J., Spring, E., & Weaver, K. (2018). Translating encounters and challenging settler colonialism: How a transmedia project connects Indigenous young people with higher education. The Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education, 10((1), 61-71.

Spring, E., & Fox, A.T. (2018). “I never read anything like that before”: Mapping the identities of Blackfoot readers. International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, 10(2), 51-66.

Spring, E. (2018). ‘“I think I was born with a suitcase”: Blackfoot adolescent readers’ responses to Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. In E. Arizpe & G. Cliff Hodges (Eds.), Young People Reading: Empirical Research Across International Contexts (pp. 106-121). Routledge.

Spring, E. (2018). “My story starts right here:” the embodied identities of Blackfoot readers. In R. Harde & L. Kokkola (Eds.), The Embodied Child: Readings in Children’s Literature and Culture (pp. 147-161). Routledge.

Spring, E. (2017). Adult/child negotiations of environmental encounters: Mediating a future of hope. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 9(1), 164-174.

Spring, E. (2017). Without Manifest, none of the book would have happened: place, identity, and the positioning of Canadian adolescent readers as literary critics.Children’s Literature in Education, 1-18.

Spring, E. (2017). Empirical approaches to place and the construction of adolescent identities. In C. Beauvais & M. Nikolajeva (Eds.), The Edinburgh Companion to Children’s Literature (pp.112-134). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Spring, E. (2016). Everyone here knows a Junior: Blackfoot children and their texts. Bookbird: an International Children’s Literature Journal, 51(1), 55-60.

Spring, E. (2016). The experiences of two migrant readers: freedom, restriction, and the navigation of adolescent space. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 8(1), 227-247.

Spring, E. (2016). Where are you from?: locating the young adult self within and beyond the text. Children’s Geographies, 14(3), 356-371.

Spring, E. (2015). Place and identity in children’s and young adult fiction. In Nancy Worth, Claire Dwyer, & Tracy Skelton (Eds.), Geographies of Identities and Subjectivities, Volume 4 (429-450). Singapore: Springer.

Charlton, E., Cliff Hodges, G., Pointon. P., Nikolajeva, M., Spring. E., Taylor, L., & Wyse, D. (2014). My Place: exploring children’s place-related identities through reading and writing. Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 42(2), 154-170.
*reprinted in Catling, S. (Ed.). (2015). Research and Debate in Primary Geography. London: Routledge.

Spring, E. (2013). Have people in Toronto seen what I’ve seen?: a comparative analysis of place, identity, and migration in the context of two Canadian picturebooks. Interjuli, 2(11), 27-38.

Spring, E. (2013). Insider/outsider relationships: considering the textual representation of regional and national identity”. In Ase Marie Ommundsen (Ed.), Looking Out and Looking In: National Identity in Picturebooks of the New Millennium (27-38). Oslo: Novus Forlag Press.


Book Reviews:

Spring, E. & Tandoi, E. (2018). Review of the book A Literature of Questions: Nonfiction for the Critical Child by J. Sutliff Sanders. Literacy, 53(2), 113-114.

Spring, E. (2018). Review of the book Literacy Lives in Transcultural Times by R. Zaidi & J. Rowsell. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 14(2), 2-7.

Spring, E. (2018). Review of the book The Regina Indian Industrial School (1891-1910): Historical Overview and Chronological Narrative by D. Stewart. Journal of Educational Thought, 51(2), 222-224.

MacDonald, J. & Spring, E. (2018). Review of the book Walking Methodologies in a More-than-Human World: WalkingLab by S. Springgay & S. Truman. Canadian Journal of Education, 41(4), iv-vi.

Spring, E. (2015). Review of the book Space and Place in Children’s Literature, 1789 to the Present by M. Cecire., H. Field., K. Mudan Finn., & M. Roy (Eds.). The Lion and the Unicorn, 39(3), 355-357.

Spring, E. (2015). Review of the book Politics and Ideology in Children’s Literature by A. McGillicudy & M. Keyes. Interjuli, 1(15), 156-162.

Spring, E. (2013). Review of the book The Nation in Children’s Literature: Nations of Childhood by C. Kelen & B. Sundmark. Bookbird: a Journal of International Children’s Literature, 51(4), 93-96.


  • Children’s Literature Association’s Diversity Research Grant (2017)
  • Frances E. Russell Grant, International Board of Books for Young People (2015)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Institute for Child and Youth Studies, University of Lethbridge (2014-2017)
  • United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) Student Research Prize (2014)

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