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From Participant to Reader Leader

From Participant to Reader Leader

A laboratory for research, shared reading and empowerment


About the project

Shared Reading (SR) is a unique group-based literary activity, which consists of the reading aloud of literary fiction (prose and poetry) and facilitation of shared reflection. This reading practice constitutes a laboratory for mutual understanding, where reading group participants, mediated by a shared third element, the literary text, participate in an exchange of experience, spurred by a collective investigation of the textual universe. Previous research proposes that SR both generates social community and promotes individual processes of change. In this project, SR is also a setting for research and social intervention.

From participant to reader leader explores how participation in reading groups generates individual and collective resources. It combines three research interests: the interest in micro processes of literary engagement in reading research, the interest in social processes and context in anthropology, and the interest in measures of well-being within psychology. An anthropological PhD-project focusing on art and social learning is at the core of the project. Methods are largely collaborative and include a high level of involvement of reading group participants.

The aim is also to develop an empowerment-oriented programme for mentally vulnerable and marginalised youth, thus responding to a societal need for new kinds of interventions addressing this group. An increasing number of Danish youth struggle with severe social and mental problems as well as with gaining foothold in a society with still higher demands of educational readiness and job availability. SR offers an open, democratic meeting in a safe social space. A reader leader facilitates the shared reading. A number of reading groups will be established, and approximately 18 of the involved reading group participants will be trained as reader leaders in the project.


From Participant to Reader Leader is funded by VELUX FONDEN.

It is a collaboration between Læseforeningen (The Danish Reader Organisation) and Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University.

For information in Danish, or if you are interested in participating in the project, click here (link to Danish page).