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Barbara Chamberlin

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am an experienced teacher trainer and educator and contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate course on language teacher development (I was the Course Leader for the postgraduate Diploma in TESOL for 9 years). Witin TESOL, I am particularly interested in developing intercultural awareness, the application of theory to classroom practice and the impact of reflection on professional and personal development.

I also teach on a number of English language, media and creative writing modules where I teach to my more recent and current research interest, specifically the diverse and interdisciplinary area of comics studies. Here my research interest include, but are not limited to: the image/text relationship; the engagement and location of the reader within graphic narratives; gender, ideology and representation in comics; transtextuality; horror and the construction of the monster; comics, folklore and myth; the increasing application of comics in teaching and learning.

I am currently doing a part-time PhD on the construction of female monstrosity, specifically the witch, in post-millennial comics and speak at a number of conferneces each year on related themes.

I am co-curator of Graphic Brighton, a comics symposium that brings together creators, academics, publishers and readers within a different theme. To date, these have included: comics and the local Brighton community; the representation of marginalised voices in comics; conflict and resolution; and music. These events have attracted international academic contributors and creators involved have included: Brian and Mary Talbot, Dave McKean, Chris Riddell, David Lloyd, Nicola Streeten and Hunt Emerson.


Scholarly biography

Recent academic and research activity

Co-curated four Graphic Brighton symposia (2014, 2015, 2106, 2018)

Visiting lectures at Bournemouth University and Central St Martins, University of the Arts, London

Member of BCCS (British Consortium of Comics Scholars)

  • Chamberlin, B. What lies beneath: the spectral reader in comics Conference paper at Transitions Birkbeck November 2018
  • Chamberlin, B. Revive, reuse, recycle: revisiting Sabrina Conference papers delivered at International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference, University of Bournemouth June 2018 and Don't Look: Representations of Horror in the Twenty-First Century, University of Edinburgh April 2018
  • Chamberlin, B. Framing the witch: the triptych witch in comics Conference paper delivered at Reimagining the Gothic, University of Sheffield May 2016
  • Chamberlin, B. Here be monsters: Representing childhood and adolescent fears in comics Conference paper at Transitions, Birkbeck 31 October 2015
  • Chamberlin, B., Pickering, A. and Slater, P. See you on the other side: blogs and teacher reflection Conference paper at IATEFL Manchester April 2015
  • Chamberlin, B. The Talking Dead: zombies and language in comics  Conference paper at Zombies, Zombies, Zombies, University of Brighton 28 February 2015
  • Chamberlin, B and Slater, P. Surrender Dorothy: Representations of Dorothy in Graphic Narratives Conference paper at the international Wizard of Oz and the Cultural Imagination  University of Brighton November 2014
  • Chamberlin, B. The woods are lovely, dark and deep: the woods in horror comics Conference paper at the international Cine-Excess: Are You Ready for the Country November 2014
  • Slater, P. and Chamberlin, B Shifting focus: video and teacher reflection Conference paper at IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) Brighton April 2011


Approach to teaching

I teach and lead courses that are primarily about continued professional development in teaching and this is something I feel is absolutely essential for all teachers, regardless of professional context. We need to keep learning and challenging ourselves for so many reasons: to stay up-to-date and relevant in subject knowledge, to be truly informed and eclectic in how we teach (Bax, 2003), to understand the technologies available to us to support teaching and learning, to better understand and respond to our students and their needs, to build connections and communities, to keep being excited about what we do and, on a personal note, to avoid getting stuck in a rut (Hattie, 2012). I am fortunate in that I genuinely enjoy teaching; I come from a teaching background and am becoming a researcher, rather than the other way round and I am enjoying the process of finding ways the two can inform each other.

I believe in student-centred classrooms and tasks where students can see the relevance and applicability of what it is they are doing. I believe in the inherent creativity of teaching, both in terms of what takes place in preparation of classes as well as the modes of interaction and activity that takes place within class. As someone with a lot of natural energy, my own presence in the class tends to be one that (I have been told anyway) is quite animated and engaging, though I also recognise the need for quieter, more reflective times. I believe that catering as much as possible to learner needs is imperative.

I have always felt it is important to develop rapport with students regardless of their age, backgrounds, abilities and level of experience, what Bryk and Schneider term ‘relational trust’ (2002) and I am aware that this plays a significant role in how I engage with students in the classroom as a teacher (and the multiple and often simultaneous roles this involves – Tudor, 1993) and how I work with students to develop their assessed work. Students tend to find me approachable, responsive, supportive and helpfully critical and this is something I feel is important – to work with and not for students.  As someone who has very recently become a student again, I understand the need for timely, critical and constructive feedback and this rapport and trust is incredibly important to foster and build.



Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, Anglia Ruskin University

Master, University of Brighton

Master, University of Brighton

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