My research examines subversive forms of learning and creativity with digital media.

It’s also deeply indebted to people who have spent endless hours letting me observe, hang out, and talk with them about their interests, work, and lives, including @dmetty, @joshmcelweephoto, @thejoshbabu, @gutstains, @evanmccormick (who shot this banner clip), and @bailey_bs.

I am an Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems at The Pennsylvania State University. I work in the Learning, Design and Technology program.

My previous research has been on learning and literacy with mobile devices, in video games, and in action sports, like skateboarding and BMX riding.

I’m currently interested in the relationship between creativity and “creative cities.” In particular, I’m inspired by the “subversive” creative practices of skateboarders/BMX riders and how they challenge normative perspectives of creativity. Oftentimes, those creative practices are deemed illegal, dismissed, and de-valued. In fact, forms of “defensive architecture” exist solely to stop these creative endeavors. Here are some questions I’m currently thinking through. I’d be delighted to work with students who want to pursue similar questions.

  • What does it mean to be creative?

  • Who produces this definition of creativity and how is that definition picked up (or not) by citizens?

  • What kinds of creativity—and learning—are dismissed? How do they either catalyze or stifle learning?

  • To what degree can creativity take on new forms in these Creative Cities?

  • What room is made for forms of “subversive creativity, “tactical urbanism,” or creativity that does not necessarily feed the economic development of the city?

If you’re interested in pursing this, or a related, line of research with me, please contact me. And see my statement on advising to get a sense of the expectations and demands of doing graduate scholarship.



The Pennsylvania State University

Department of Learning and Performance Systems

Learning, Design, and Technology

315 Keller Building
University Park, PA

Recent Projects

M3: Mobility | Media | Movement

My recent research has been anchored in the action sports community. This ethnographic work explores the interest-driven learning surrounding youth skateboarding and biking, especially through their intersections with digital media. I am currently accepting students interested in this area of study. 

Metro: Building Blocks

Previous research designed learning opportunities for youth at the Metro Public Library through a program I established called Metro: Building Blocks. Interest-powered activity surrounding the video game Minecraft lets teens plan, design, and build Metro's neighborhoods. 

The Studio @ MPL: Learning Lab Design

Earlier work brought together local youth and architects to design the new learning lab at the Metro Public Library. Integrating music, gaming, making and writing spaces, The Studio at MPL gives teens a chance to explore a variety of forms of learning and connecting through digital media. 



Refereed Journal Articles

(I’m happy to provide access to any publications)

Hollett, T., Ehret, C. (2019). The idiocultural sensibilities of spothunting in action sports culture: Affect, desire, change. Mind, Culture, and Activity. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/10749039.2019.1612439

Hollett, T. and Hein, RJ*. (2018). Affective atmospheres and skatepark sessions: The spatiotemporal contours of interest. Learning, Culture, and Social Interaction. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.lcsi.2018.12.001

Hostetler, A., Sengupta, P., & Hollett, T. (2018). Unsilencing Critical Conversations in Social-Studies Teacher Education Using Agent-based Modeling. Cognition and Instruction, 36(2), 139-170.

Hollett, T.  (2017). Symbiotic learning partnerships in youth action sports. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.  

Hollett, T. & Kalir, J. (2017). Mapping playgrids for learning across space, time, and scale. TechTrends. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11528-016-0138-0

Leander, KM and Hollett, T. (2017). The embodied rhythms of learning: From learning across settings to learners crossing settings. International Journal of Educational Research. 

Hollett, T. & Ehret, C. (2016). Civic rhythms in an informal, media-rich learning program. Learning, Media & Technology. 

Hollett, T. (2016). Interests-in-motion in an informal, media-rich learning setting. Digital Culture & Education. 

Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2016). Affective dimensions of participatory design research in informal learning environments: Placemaking, belonging, and correspondence. Cognition & Instruction.  

Ehret, C., Hollett, T., & Jocius, R. (2016). Movement, meshworks, and new media making: An intra-action analysis of adolescents making a digital book trailer. Journal of Literacy Research.

Leander, KM. & Hollett, T. (2014). Designing new spaces for literacy learning. Literacy Research Association Yearbook, 62, p. 29-42.

Hollett, T. & Ehret, C (2014). Bean’s World: (Mine)crafting affective atmospheres for gameplay, learning, and care in a children's hospital. New Media and Society. 

Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2014). Embodied Compositionin real virtualities. Adolescents’ literacy practices and felt experiences moving with digital, mobile devices in school. Research in the Teaching of English, 48(4), p. 428-452. 

Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2014) (Re)placing school: Fifth-graders’ counter-mobilities while composing with mobile devices in a digital media enrichment class. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(2), 110-119.

Book Chapters

Hollett, T., Phillips, N.C. & Leander, K.M.  (2017. Digital geographies. In Mills, K.A., Stornaiuolo, A., Smith, A. & Zacher Pandya. Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Literacy in Education.

Hollett and Ehret, C. (2017). Relational methodologies for mobile literacies: Intra-action, atmosphere, and rhythm. In Burnett, C., Merchant, G., Simpson, A. and Walsh, M (eds.). Mobile Literacies: The Case of the iPad.

Hollett, T. (2015). Nashville: Building Blocks: A Case Study. In Gordon, E. and Mihailidis, P.  (Eds). The Civic Media Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hollett, T. & Leander, KM. (2013). Location-based environments and technologies. In Price, S., Jewitt, C., & Brown, B. (Eds.). The Sage Handbook of Digital Technology Research. London: Sage.


You can find my most recent CV here