In this series of interviews, we will present the keynote speakers at the IGEL Conference 2018.
Dr. Jane Davis is Director of The Reader.
What brought you to empirical research on literary reading in the first place, and to studying the associations between literary reading and mental health?
I’m not a researcher, rather I’m involved in developing the practice of Shared Reading, which is a kind of literary reading where people read aloud, in real time, and share their real-time thoughts and responses. It’s live reading!
I began to be interested in the relation between Shared Reading and mental health when members of the very earliest groups began to tell me that (although I saw it as an educational programme) the reading group was having an effect on their physical and mental health.
More than a decade later, The Reader is commissioned to develop Shared Reading in many mental health settings both in hospitals and in community settings.
Which topics will you address at the IGEL Conference 2018?
I’ll be talking about the development of Shared Reading practice in the UK and beyond, and asking questions about what people think is happening when we read in this way.