The Centre for Social Sciences Research (CSSR) and the  Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa  (IDCPPA) at the University of Cape Town invites you to join us for a lunchtime seminar on 19 September 2023 presented by Dr. Kath Morse and Katie Huston at 12:45pm. 

About the Seminar:

Using Cute Personas Derived from Cluster Analysis to Bust Reading Culture Myths

The conventional approach to discussing South Africa’s ‘reading culture’ explicitly or implicitly defines a ‘reader’ as someone who regularly reads books in print and has printed books in their home. Whilst these practices are important, they are not the only forms of reading practiced in South Africa. The National Reading Survey (NRS, 2023) defines reading more broadly in ways that are adapted to our 21st-century African context. This means taking into account multilingual reading, digital reading, reading for communication, and reading of a wide variety of materials, including materials that are free or shared/borrowed or otherwise accessible with few economic resources. The NRS defines multiple reading cultures rather than a single ‘idealised’ book-reading culture that people either do or don’t belong to. Using cluster analysis and graphic design, five cute cartoon reading personas were developed. Each Persona combines different reading practices, values and identities around reading. Because of their different existing reading practices, each Persona has different reading needs and motivations. Within this inclusive understanding, more people are able to identify as a reader and within that identity, begin to explore new reading behaviours. Personas can be used to challenge reading culture myths, inform policy and practice by government and civil society literacy organisations and engage the general public in conversations about reading.

Read the National Reading Survey Finding Report here:


Dr. Kath Morse is a research officer for the Adolescent Accelerators Research Hub at the Centre for Social Science Research. She is part of the HEY BABY (Helping Empower Youth Brought up in Adversity with their Babies and Young children) research team. She is passionate about community development and value education as a key to unlocking personal and community potential. She enjoy's designing and facilitating research projects and applying learning to social upliftment programs. She has over 20 years experience in NGO project management, working with children, teens and families, in Australia and South Africa. She enjoy's writing and delivering group work programs as well as running staff training and team development. 

Katie Huston is a co-founder of the National Reading Barometer, and an independent consultant specialising in strategy, research, monitoring and evaluation, facilitation and communications for non-profits and funders. A Marshall Scholar, Katie has an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics, an MA in Global Political Economy from the University of Sussex, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


 19 September 2023
 12:45 - 14:00 SAST
  CSSR Seminar Room, 4.29 Robert Leslie Social Science Building, UCT

Hosted by the Centre for Social Science Research and the Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa