Dr. Erin Spring, PhD

Pronouns: she/her
Erin Spring

Associate Professor

Werklund School of Education, Specialization, Language and Literacy

Phone number

Office: 403.210.6896


Office: EDT1016


Educational Background

Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge, 2014

M.Phil University of Cambridge, 2010

Bach of Education Queen's University, 2008

B.A. (Hons) English, Trent University, 2007


Dr. Spring is an Associate 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.

Professional & Community Affiliations


Areas of 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.

  • Case study research
  • Children's literature
  • Conversation and discourse analysis
  • Cultural studies
  • Diversity
  • Environmental education
  • Identity development
  • Indigenous education
  • Land-based education
  • Literacy
  • Education for reconciliation

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
EDUC 311 Lang Litrc'y Lrn'g in Clsr'm 2020
EDUC 420 Issues in Learning & Teaching 2021
EDUC 435 Literacy, Language and Culture 2017, 2018, 2020
EDUC 450 Diversity in Learning 2021
EDER 619.99 Establishing Inclusive Environments Summer 2020
EDER 768.08 New Literacies and Digital Media Summer 2019
EDER 768.07 Multiliteracies Summer 2018
EDER 669.22 Literacy and Globalization Winter 2017
EDER 692.13 Collaboratory of Practice: Literacy Winter 2018
EDUC 460 Specialization 1: K-12 English Language Arts Summer 2021
EDUC 530 Indigenous Education Fall 2017, Fall 2018
EDUC 520 Interdisciplinary Learning Fall 2018


  • Books to Build On: Indigenous Literatures for Learning. Collaboration with Dr. Aubrey Hanson. Funded by Alberta Education, Werklund School of Education, and a University of Calgary ii’ taa’poh’to’p grant.
  • Oo’mahn’istay Iikakimaaks: You’ve Got a Story- Next Steps to a New Beginning. Collaboration with Dr. Aubrey Hanson, Patricia McCallum, Angela Houle, and Wanda First Rider (Calgary Catholic School Division). Funded by the Werklund School of Education.
  • Culturally responsive literacy: Student and teacher engagement with text in Rocky Cree Nation. Funded by a University of Calgary Seed Grant.
  • Understanding Indigenous students’ perceptions of well-being: A case study in equitable urban education. Collaboration with Calgary Catholic School Division. Funded by Alberta Education.
  • Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Ithiniwak: Reclamation, Regeneration, Reconciliation. Funded by SSHRC. PI: Dr. Mavis Reimer, University of Winnipeg.
  • Exploring the aesthetics of non-fiction picturebooks through a study of young people’s engagement with the threshold concept of evolution. Collaboration with Dr. Eve Tandoi
  • The Blackfoot Adolescent Reading Project. Collaboration with Kainai Blood Tribe. 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.


  • Werklund School of Education's Early Career Researcher Award , Werklund School of Education . 2021
  • Academic Book Prize (for contribution to edited collection), International Research Society for Children’s Literature. 2019
  • Diversity Research Grant, Children’s Literature Association. 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
  • Student Research Prize, United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) . 2014


  • Representing evolutionary theory in nonfiction picturebooks.. Eve Tandoi and Erin Spring. International Research in Children’s Literature Journal. (2021)
  • “Everyone has their own places”: Mapping as a storied approach to the study of youth identity. Language and Literacy. 21(1), 79-96. (2021)
  • Staying with the (good) trouble.. Mack, A., Newberry, J., & Spring, E.. Entanglements: Experiments in multimodal ethnography. 41(1), 28-31. (2021)
  • Learning with the river: Honouring place as white women teaching Indigenous education. Jennifer MacDonald and Erin Spring. In J. Macdonald & J. Markides (Eds.), Brave Work in Indigenous Education.. (2021)
  • Gathering stories, gathering pedagogies: Animating Indigenous knowledges through story.. Hanson, A., King, A., Phipps, H. Erin, S. . Studies in American Indian Literatures. 63-87. (2020)
  • Introduction to the special section, “Youngsters 2: On the Cultures of Children and Youth”. Hamer, N. & Spring, E.. Jeunesse: Young People’s Texts and Cultures. 12(1), 7-15. (2020)
  • Feminizing Thomson’s The Seasons: identity, gender, and seasonal aesthetics in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Ladd, H., & Spring. E.. In L. Robinson & H. Pike (Eds.), L.M. Montgomery and Gender: Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 283-304. (2020)
  • Advancing the writing of academics: Stories from the writing group.. Lock, J., Kjorlien, Y., Tweedie, G., Dressler, R., Eaton, S. E., & Spring, E. . Critical collaboration communities: Academic writing partnerships, groups, and retreats. Brill/Sense Publishers.. 55-65. (2019)
  • Ways of being and becoming in the adolescent classroom: an invitation to consider the possibilities of throwntogetherness. Erin Spring; Amanda Huddleston. Affect, Embodiment, and Place in Critical Literacy: Assembling Theory and Practice . 135-147. (2019)
  • 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: an International Quarterly, 49(2). 101-118. (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 . 106-121. (2018)
  • I never read anything like that before”: Mapping the identities of Blackfoot readers. Erin Spring and Andrea True Joy Fox. International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, 10(2). 51-66. (2018)
  • Translating encounters and challenging settler colonialism: How a transmedia project connects Indigenous young people with higher education. . Alexander, K., Eagle Bear, H., Heavy Runner, T., Henrickson, A., Little Mustache, T., Pace Crosschild, T., Mack, A., Newberry, J., Spring, E., & Weaver, K.. The Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education, 10(1). 61-71. (2018)
  • Empirical approaches to place and the construction of adolescent identities. In C. Beauvais & M. Nikolajeva (Eds.), The Edinburgh Companion to Children’s Literature . 112-134. (2017)
  • Adult/child negotiations of environmental encounters: Mediating a future of hope. . Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 9(1). 164-174. (2017)
  • “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 . 147-161. (2017)
  • The experiences of two migrant readers: freedom, restriction, and the navigation of adolescent space. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 8(1). 227-247. (2016)
  • Everyone here knows a Junior”: Blackfoot children and their texts. Bookbird: an International Children’s Literature Journal, 54(1). 55-62. (2016)
  • Place and identity in children’s and young adult fiction. . In N. Worth, C. Dwyer, & T. Skelton (Eds.), Geographies of Identities and Subjectivities, Vol. 4: Geographies of Children and Young People. 429-250. (2015)
  • Where are you from? : locating the young adult self within and beyond the text. . Journal of Children's Geographies, 14(3). 356-371. (2015)
  • 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. (2014)
  • Insider/outsider relationships: considering the textual representation of regional and national identity. . In A. Ommundsen (Ed.), Looking Out and Looking In: National Identity in Picturebooks of the New Millennium. 45-59. (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. (2013)
  • Review of the book A Literature of Questions: Nonfiction for the Critical Child by J. Sutliff Sanders. Eve Tandoi and Erin Spring. Literacy, 53(2). 113-114. (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. (2021)
  • 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. (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. (2018)
  • 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. (2015)
  • Review of the book Children’s Literature on the Move: Nations, Translations, Migrations by N. Maguire & B. Rogers. . Interjuli, 2(14). 34-38. (2014)
  • 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. (2013)

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