Olivia Da Costa Fialho
I specialize in the Empirical and Interdisciplinary Study of the Literary Experience and seek insights from interdisciplinary domains to study the personal and social impact of reading and promote its benefits to people’s lives. My interests are in Comparative Literature, Cognitive Poetics, Modernism, Phenomenology, Narratology, Literary Awareness, Literature Education, Pedagogical Stylistics, Psychology, and Business.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Letters (Portuguese-English), a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics, both from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (2005, with distinction ), and a doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta in Canada (2012), where I also worked as a lecturer until 2011. In my doctoral dissertation, I studied self-modifying reading and developed a phenomenological and linguistic model, based on lexical repetition and theme modification, called Lexical Basis for Numerically Aided Phenomenology (or Lex-Nap). This model enables inductive examination of reading experiences and involves a hybrid of qualitative and quantitative methods. It traces how readers embody repositioning as reading unfolds.
My doctoral dissertation inspired the project “Uses of Literary Narrative Fiction in Social Contexts: Changes in Self and Social Perceptions,” awarded a grant by the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO), which enabled the continuation of my research at Utrecht University. There, I collaborated with a team of literary scholars, educationalists, and organization psychologists, applying my model of transformative reading (2018) in upper secondary school level and the workplace.
At the University of Oslo, I further develop the phenomenology of 'transformative reading'. The project argues that the essence of literature (and the arts) lies in its power to impart knowledge about ourselves and other human beings by allowing us to connect more deeply and conscientiously with our emotions, and, thus improve our social functioning. It combines research and implementations of scientific findings as it holds that successful implementation depends on better understanding how the process of experiencing literary narratives unfolds; in particular, how a combination of text, reader, and context factors (e.g., instructional method, the type of post-processing or reflection on the reading) might result in deeper understandings of who we are in relation to other fellow human beings.
- Transformative Reading
- Transformative Books
For more on my research and publications, see the list below and my profile at Research Gate , Academia, and Google scholar.
In recent years, I have developed approaches to reading to promote meaningfulness, empathy, and authentic leadership, making scientific findings applicable to social contexts. I have been working towards building bridges between academic and non-academic contexts.
Innovative Educational Programs
My research has provided a sound theoretical-empirical model of transformative reading for two Ph.D. dissertations I have co-supervised (Schrijvers, 2019; Anjos, in prep.) As a result, we have contributed with the following innovative programs of literature teaching:
- Transformative Dialogical Literature Teaching (TDLT), at secondary education (HAVO / VWO level) in the Netherlands (Schrijvers et al, 2016, 2019 a, b, c; Schrijvers, 2019)
- Transformative Literature Teaching (TLT), at primary education level in Portugal (Fialho & Anjos, in prep.)
- Evidence-based workshops on the uses of literature at the workplace (Hakemulder, Fialho & Bal, 2016; Fialho, 2017, 2019).
Open lectures for teachers
- 2020 Faglig-pedagogisk dag
- 2019 Faglig-pedagogisk dag
- Lecture on the transformative power of literature at the Aachen Center for Cognitive and Empirical Literary Studies (ACCELS).
- ' Read one book and become another ', Klassekampen , April 24, 2021.
- ' Reading fiction can change your life ', Humanities Faculty , University of Oslo, April 7, 2021.
- ' When art tears your skin' , NRK , April 21, 2019.
Awards and Grants
- 2014, Co-writer Uses of Narrative Fiction in Social Contexts: Changes in Self and Social Perceptions, NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), The Netherlands ( € 850,000)
- 2010, Andrew Stewart Memorial Graduate Prize, during doctoral studies, FGSR (Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research), University of Alberta, Canada.
- 2008, Mary Shore Graduate Scholarship, during doctoral studies, FGSR (Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research), University of Alberta, Canada.
- 2008, J. Gordin Kaplan Graduate Student Award, during doctoral studies, FGSR (Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research), University of Alberta, Canada.
- 2006-2007, FS Chia Scholarship, to fund doctoral studies, FGSR (Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research), University of Alberta, Canada.
- 2005-2006, FS Chia Scholarship, to fund doctoral studies, FGSR (Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research), University of Alberta, Canada.
- 2004-2005, Co-writer From Paper to Screen, Instituto Telemar de Educação Award (Instituto Telemar Education Award), Instituto Telemar de Educação, Brazil (approx. CAN 26,000)
- 2004-2005. CAPES Scholarship, to fund Masters studies, CAPES, Brazilian Government
- 2003-2004. CAPES Scholarship, to fund Masters studies, CAPES, Brazilian Government
- 2002-2003, PIBIC Scholarship, to fund Scientific Initiation studies, CNPq, Brazilian Government
- 2001, SBPC Award, during Scientific Initiation studies, SBPC, Brazilian Government
- 2001-2002, PIBIC Scholarship, to fund Scientific Initiation studies, CNPq, Brazilian Government
- 2000, Best paper PIBIC/CNPq. XXII Jornada de Iniciação Científica XII Jornada de Iniciação Artística e Cultural, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- 2018-2019, Assistant Professor & External Coordinator Leadership, Honours College, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
- 2014-2017, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
- 2013-2014, Assistant Professor, Academic Core Department, University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
- 2008-2011, Instructor, Comparative Literature Program, Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Alberta, Canada
- LIT4300A/LIT4300B Litteraturteoretisk studium I: Literature and Emotions
- PSY2102 Social cognition and emotion: Transformative Reading module
- LIT4340A/LIT4340B Litterært tekststudium I: Transformative Books
- LIT4310A/LIT4310B Litteraturteoretisk studium I: Cognitive Literary Study
- LIT2300 Litteraturteoretisk emne: Literary Studies - Theory and Science