Erin Spring

Assistant Professor

PhD - Education

University of Cambridge

Master of Philosophy - Education

University of Cambridge


Queen's University

BA - English

Trent University

Contact information


Main Campus : EDT1016

Research and Scholarly Activity

Research areas

  • Case study research
  • Children's literature
  • Conversation and discourse analysis
  • Cultural studies
  • Diversity
  • Environmental education
  • Identity development
  • Indigenous studies
  • Land-based education
  • Literacy
  • Socio-material literacies
  • Qualitative research
  • Reading and writing
  • Social justice and equity in education
  • Youth studies
  • Place and space
  • The geographies of young people


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:

  • The Blackfoot Adolescent Reading Project. Collaboration with Kainai Blood Tribe, Tatsikiisaapo'p Middle School, and Andrea True Joy Fox. 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.

Professional & Community Affiliations


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.


  • 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. (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.


  • 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)