Rachel Horst

Rachel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia.

She takes an arts integrated approach to qualitative research and scholarship investigating digital literacies, educational technologies, and futures literacies pedagogy and research practice.

Guided by a posthumanist onto-epistemological perspective her work cultivates speculative educational futures, writing-as-becoming, and narrative futuring for creating and performing possibility.

some interests

                        futures literacies

                        arts-based research methodologies

                        digital arts-based research

                        creative writing

                        speculative narrative


                        makerspace technologies


                        experimental data representation

                        sonic fiction

                        new media arts research

                        futures literacies pedagogy

                        educational technologies 

                        online learning

                        new materialism 


                        decolonial and antiracist pedagogy

                        21st century literacies

                        multimodal literacy practices

                        creative computational thinking

                        electronic fiction 

                        narrative games

Digitalanalogue Fabulations....

Writing and Scholarship

Horst, R. (2022). The Unadorned. In D. Conrad and S. Wiebe (Eds.), Education Fabulations. Palgrave. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-93827-7

Horst, R. & Gladwin, D., (2022). Multiple futures literacies: An interdisciplinary review. Journal of Literacy and Pedagogy. DOI: 10.1080/15505170.2022.2094510

Horst, R., James, K., Takeda, Y., Morales, E., & Yung, E. (forthcoming). Sounding the futures imaginary: A collaborative intra-modal storying methodology. Journal of Artistic Research.

Gladwin, D., Horst, R., James, K., & Sameshima, P. (2022). Imagining Futures Literacies: A Collaborative Practice. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice22(7). https://doi.org/10.33423/jhetp.v22i7.5268

Horst, R. (forthcoming). Writing the unwritable: Sebald and Haraway and hope through disobedience. In T. Strong-Wilson, A. Yoder, W. Crichlow, & R. Castro (Eds.) Unsettling Complacency: Hope and ethical responsibility. Palgrave.

Horst, R. (2021). Narrative futuring: An experimental writing inquiry into the future imaginaries. Art/Research International, 6(1), 32–55. https://doi.org/10.18432/ari29554

Horst, R. (2021). The Treachery of Materiality: On what it’s like to be a thing. Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, 37. https://doi.org/10.20415/rhiz/037.e03.

James, K., Horst, R., Takeda, Y. P., & Morales, E. (2021). The Patch: An Artful Syn(aes)thetic Mapping Of Linguistic Data Through Collaborative Digital / Analogue Literacy Processes. McGill Journal of Education / Revue Des Sciences De l’éducation De McGill, 55(3). Retrieved from https://mje.mcgill.ca/article/view/9807

James, K., Morales, E., Horst, R., and Young, E. (2021). Text sonification and the literacoustics of language-to-MIDI. In A. Klobucar (Ed.), The Community and the Algorithm (pp. 101-126). Vernon Press.

Morales, E., James, K., Horst, R., Takeda, Y., & Yung, E. (2021, June 25-28). The sound of our words: Singling, a textual sonification software [Conference paper]. The 26th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD). Online Conference.

Horst, R., James, K., Takeda, Y., & Rowluck, W. (2020). From play to creative extrapolation: Fostering emergent computational thinking in the makerspace. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, 15(5), 40-54. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/play-creative-extrapolation-fostering-emergent/docview/2472178880/se-2 


Much of Rachel's scholarship has been accompanied by a digital media creative practice, which deepens her engagement with the theoretical underpinnings of her research and thinking. She has experimented with film, creative coding, photography, as well as more analogue media like drawing and painting. She takes up media as both methodological tools and collaborators in her thinking and creative discovery.

Research Collaborations

Rachel is keenly interested in research collaboration. Over the course of her doctoral program she has worked with many collaborator friends.

Hyperbola Stories + -

Presented at EASST/4S conference  August 18th – 21st 2020 — Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds Rachel Horst and Susan Sechrist   VISIT THE TWINE HERE

Abstract: Experimental literature has long been a generative environment for thinking through and experimenting with theoretical ideas about systems, networks, and complex sociomaterial assemblages. Science and technology thinkers such as Latour and Haraway have often turned to the literary imagination as a provocative space for storying the implications of our sciences and maths and designing new and creative ways of thinking the world in order to find solutions to our most pressing problems. It is not just the artifact of the story, but the processual art of storying that can be a radical tool for (re)imagining and (re)inventing reality. Avant-guard groups, like OuLiPo, have focused on the process of writing to illuminate the deeply contingent and post human collaborations of authorship, and the materiality of text. In this presentation, we will share our collaborative storying methodology, which we designed to explore the narrative implications of a mathematical concept: specifically (x^2 + y^2)^2 = a^2 (x^2 – y^2), the nonlinear formula for the pedal curve of a rectangular hyperbola, the Lemniscate of Bernoulli. We each took up this formula and storied the rich sociomaterial implications of these remarkable shapes. We then engaged in collaborative, proliferating, and recursive storying, thus problematizing the binaries of reader and author, experiment and experimented, and revealing the richly contingent collaborations between tool, method, and sociomaterial context. We hope this storying methodology, as well as the emergent data of entangled texts, will be a provocation to breathe narrative possibility into the ways we think and do science and math.

Singling + -

This is an exciting and ongoing collaborative research innovation taking part in the Digital Literacy Center, We have designed a text-to-midi sonification platform as a research tool and educational technology. Check it out here: https://dlsn.lled.educ.ubc.ca/wordpress/singling/

Phoneme + -

Another ongoing project in the Digital Literacy Center. Rachel has been a contributing researcher in the evolution of this research project and pedagogical innovation. Check it out here: https://medium.com/phoneme  

The Patch + -

The Patch is a digital writing workshop that utilizes a number of stages and states of textual transformation, alternating like currents between analogue and digital techniques, utilizing different modalities of cognition, fluctuating between data analysis and creative remix. And the output is typically a video. If you’d like to see how a data assemblage of the patch process look and sounds, check this out here: https://dlsn.lled.educ.ubc.ca/wordpress/the_patch/

Entwining the Data + -


Arts-based research methodologies are gaining momentum in qualitative inquiry across the disciplines. These diverse methodologies incorporate artistic practice and media as a way of engaging in both inquiry and the interpretation of data generated from inquiry. Among the enumerable reasons to utilize arts-based methodologies are they can: promote and enhance public engagement with academic research, trouble the idea of representation and interpretation of data, expand the research/inquirer’s encounter with and response to data, and shed light on artistic and creative practice itself as an important contributor to knowledge creation and being in the world. While these methodologies are increasing in traction across the academy, the range of practices taken up still tend to focus on more traditional media such as textiles, painting, photography, and the written word. Arts-based literature reveals that the vast and eclectic world of digital art has been less explored in this context. This work is part of an evolving digital arts-based inquiry that began as a multimodal digital reading and writing workshop entitled the Patch. The Patch was designed as a series of processes connected in a circuit/flow from the initial input of a text (in this case a story by Jorges Louis Borges) to its diffracted modalities of poetry, midi sonifications, and poetic performances. The Patch workshop maps the generative flow of idea forms through digital and analogues processes, enabling rich collaborations among the humans and other-than-humans in the generative space of event. We participated in and facilitated this arts-based workshop with 80 teacher candidate students, gathering a rich corpus of data in the form of: creative word lists, cut-up poetry, human and algorithmically generated textual networks, audio and video-recorded poetic performances, and sonic midi transformations of the poetic string data. Presentation of this data in the form of an academic paper was a useful exercise but seemed ultimately constrained by: its narrative and explanatory linearity, the confines of the digital page, and the rhetorical form of the social sciences research paper. In this presentation, we share the process of representing our data in the form of an interactive narrative artifact. Re-mapping the data in this digital space enabled new encounters and elaborations with the theoretical ideas underpinning the research, as well as the data itself. The affordances and constraints of interactivity in the Twine platform are under consideration here, as well as the aesthetics of re/presentation in this digital space. We suggest that this digital medium, with its affordances of layering, non-linearity, interactivity, and the topographies of html, provide a rich resource not only for engaging interactive narratives and game design/play, but also for scholars looking for innovative platforms for analysis and representation of research. Further, we question the culminating artifact itself and whether it has inherent pragmatic or artistic merit and/or use beyond the confines of this inquiry. In the presentation, we will invite interactive exploration of the artifact and share it in the collaborative annotation space of the hypothesis platform, inviting creative and critical engagement with the theory and data embedded therein.


Futures Literacies

Writing the futures imaginary: A digital arts-based inquiry into the futures literacies of teacher candidates


This digital arts-based research project takes up futures literacies among teacher candidates in two complementary senses: futures as literacies, and the ways in which future possibility can become a focal point of our literacy practices, and the futures of literacies, and the likely increase of digitally saturated communicative practices and platforms. In this study, I will investigate how a group of teacher candidates express their futures literacies through digital writing in a web-based environment. Through a series of interactive writing prompts, this study will provoke creative engagement with the futures imaginary and inspire teacher candidates to (re)story their futures perspectives while simultaneously engaging in generative digital literacies practices.


Education has always been future-oriented— young people today acquire the skills and knowledge they will put into practice tomorrow. However, students have begun to feel a disconnect between what they are learning in classrooms and the possible futures that fill their news feeds and popular media platforms. Several existential catastrophes darken our futures imaginary: environmental degradation, global warming, the unintended and possibly catastrophic consequences of technological proliferation to name but a few. Educators have the difficult task of ushering young people into an inherited reality that is characterized by these undeniable problems, while simultaneously providing young people with opportunities to cultivate their creative agency to have a positive impact, as well as the 21st century literacies they will need to imagine, enact, and communicate their stories of change. Yet educators themselves are surrounded by an onslaught of troubling future images. Educators’ implicit futures consciousness, comprised of their hopes, fears, concerns, and anxieties about the future, will necessarily infuse their own literacy practices and pedagogies. Futures literacies is a proposed curricular intervention that is aimed at explicitly foregrounding the future imaginary in literacies practices and pedagogy with the intention of increasing both educators’ and students’ agency, resiliency, and creative capacity for meaning making in the face of change and uncertainty.


I take up this work within a posthumanist theoretical perspective that is an invitation to decenter the human from our inquiry practices and instead cultivate interest, curiosity, and relational empathy for the multitude of other-than-human collaborators and inheritors of our mutually entangled future present. A posthuman ontology has infused the design of the digital writing prompts and will guide the arts-based analysis of the data. I hope this research will contribute innovative curricular interventions that may be taken up and expanded upon in both futures and multiliteracies research and discourse. Additionally, I offer the digital writing prompts, website, and a futures literacies curriculum package to teacher candidates for use in their own practices, in gratitude for their future work as agents of positive and proliferating change.