What are Periodical Pedagogies?

Reading a magazine is very different to reading a book.

A stack of open magazines viewed end on

Readers of magazines tend to skim, skip and to use the table of contents to go straight to an interesting article. Rather than reading from the beginning to the end, magazine readers are required to develop skills that allow them to make links between items within one issue of a magazine and also across issues. In this sense, magazine readers have more in common with readers and users of the internet than with readers of books. Internet users have to search and to sift for information, making connections and meanings as they read. In other words, by engaging critically with magazines, we believe that students will develop the media literacy skills that will help them to navigate the digital world. 

The term periodical refers to a publication that appears daily, weekly, monthly or annually. Newspapers come under this category. Women’s movement magazines are periodicals but in many ways, they are not typical of the genre. They do not always appear regularly and because the same magazine might be produced by different collectives, there are stylistic variations from one issue to the next. 

We’re using the term pedagogy to refer to teaching practices in schools and universities. The phrase ‘periodical pedagogies’ is the work we’re doing with teachers and students to think about how women’s movement magazines might be used as resources in the classroom. We are providing EPQ students with a periodical pedagogy toolkit to enable them to use magazines for their independent research and we are developing workshops that use magazines for teaching English ‘A’ Level literature. We are currently focusing on creating resources for the study of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a text widely taught across the curriculum and one that responded directly to the debates circulating in women’s movement magazines. 

Want to tell us your story?…

Part of this project is collating stories of the women, like you, who read magazines like Spare Rib, Red Rag, Outwrite, Mukti, Scarlet Women etc. and the impact they had on their lives and attitudes.

If you would like us to include your story in our archive, check out this page to find out how to get involved…