Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Literacy and Contemporary Society: Identities, Texts, Institutions

It’s not often we see conferences dedicated to literacies studies. The third in the biennial Cypriot Literacy and Contemporary Society has secured keynotes with Baynham, Cope and Kalantzis, and Georgakopoulou in autumn 2019. The call for abstracts is out to 21st June.

“The 3rd International Conference on Literacy and Contemporary Society focuses on the complex interrelation between identities, texts and institutions. In the era of multimodality and multilingualism, literacy practices have at their epicenter polymorphic texts that derive from different communities of practice and are the results of representational and enacting processes of either individuals or groups. At the same time, in institutions like education, texts and literacy are approached from a more top-down perspective, which focuses on promoting and assessing particular bits of knowledge, skills, and competencies. The conference aims to shed light on these issues and interactions and to provide a dynamic platform where different aspects of identities, texts and institutions will be discussed.”

More at the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute here.

Reading Aloud in Britain Today

“‘my first reaction – I don’t do it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised I do actually… more than I thought I did’” (p57).

In this article, which features on pages 54-63 of RaPAL journal Vol No 97 (Spring 2019), Sam Duncan highlights participants’ surprise about the topic of her research: contemporary reading aloud practices.

She provides numerous examples from her research data of situations in which adults read aloud in different ways and for different purposes. Yet key documents that guide our teaching of adult literacy seem to assume that reading is always a solitary, silent process.

Perhaps, Duncan suggests, “we need to be a bit more open in our explorations of the forms of reading engaged in by our learners and think a bit more carefully about how best to support our learners in developing the reading and writing skills that matter the most to them” (p62).

Find out more about the Reading Aloud in Britain Today project at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/research/projects/reading-aloud-britain-today

Find this article and more from other contributors on the theme “Rethinking Participation” in the Spring 2019 edition of the RaPAL journal: https://rapal.org.uk/members-area/recent-journal-editions/

lsrn (Learning and Skills Research Network) meets

Learning and Skills Research Network, London and the South East

A winter LSRN London and South East Network meeting was convened recently with Continuum, UEL’s Research Centre for Widening Participation. Sai Loo, UCL IoE and Rania Hafez, University of Greenwich, co-ordinated five presentations which explored transitions into different forms of work. The afternoon comprised two projects supporting teaching assistants, one widening HE participation, an outline of German teacher education routes into TVET (technical and vocational education and training), and a conceptual framework for analysing TVET teacher education.

These themes are pertinent to developing increasingly ‘higher order’ literacies, integrated into vocational and professional learning, including teacher training.

‘Critical pedagogy, competence and transformative learning pathways of mature black women learners into work’ by Ms Jacqueline McFarlane-Fraser, African Caribbean Women Development Centre, London

Developing teaching assistants’ critical analysis capacity was the most dificult aspect of this training. It was aided by an initial focus on description in their learning logs. Modelling processes, such as those based on ‘competence’ and ‘tranformative learning’, aided learners in revisiting their reflective writing to critique. The pressure to produce was a continuous barrier to reflective practice. Other barriers identified were those of racism within the feminist movement and institutionalised exclusion. McFarlane-Fraser located the study at an intersectionality of marginalised learner characteristics and risk-taking (critical pedagogy) theoretical frameworks.

‘MKO – beyond Vygotsky – adult peer mentoring in HE/FE’ by Dr. Paul Demetriou-Crane and Lyndsey Lapwood, HCFHE (Havering College)

Non-traditional learners, teaching assistants from level 2 to 4, experience an increase in unresolved academic challenges as class sizes increase. To respond to this, Demetriou-Crane and Lapwood set up a peer mentoring model. Learning how to learn, increasing confidence and transferable employability skills were objectives for mentors and mentees. A distinctive characteristic of the scheme is the use of a private moodle blog between mentor and the teacher training team, which encourages description and reflective practice. ‘Formalising’ informal interaction through this scheme contributes to it occuring where it otherwise dissipates in conflicting priorities. The format enables wider learning potential without ‘pushing’, expanding a sometimes myopic dedication to assignment work. Another key feature of the scheme was using knowledge of mentors and mentees, their qualities and needs, to match them, while offering confidential support. The importance of feedback loops is emphasised.

A more detailed post on this work, and accompanying presentation slides, can be found by the team here https://wideningparticipation.wordpress.com/.

‘The Omnibus Learning Gain Study: Towards inclusive metrics in HE’ by Dr Fuad Ali, University of East London

This study developed employability and academic metrics for learners in relation to an ‘ecology of interest’ which encompassed motivation to restructure, to market, to reform teaching, to support students and to rank. Measurements spanned cognitive attributes; academic behaviour and confidence; elements from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills; and the ability to predict own grades. The psychometric features addressed enjoying, engaging, and study behaviours. There was a high level of ‘churn’, i.e. students who were not available to take the next round of psycometric testing for comparison across time. However a clear finding related the amount of time learners had free for independent study and attendance and achievement. The study is described as illuminating ‘a state of perpetual institutional becoming’.

‘Teacher Education for VET-Schools in Germany: Past, Present and Future Challenges’ by Professor Stephan Schumann, University of Konstanz, Germany

TVET in Germany has historically been a larger education sector than university. This changed in 2011, when an exponential increase in university enrolments outgrew slow decline in TVET. Two hundred TVET schools have recently closed, leaving about 1,200. There are three level 3 routes through German schools: the ‘dual VET’ (vocational education and training), i.e. apprenticeships, academic and a minor full-time vocational route. There is a back-up transition stage between level 2 school and level 3 dual VET for those who have difficulty passing at fifteen. Vocational learners are then expected to progress into the labour market, where they may engage in continuing professional development (CPD).

There are two routes to becoming a VET teacher: an academic route which leads to tenured status and a lifetime career; and a working expertise route leading to instructor status in placement companies. A post-bachelor’s masters degree is a pre-requisite to entering in to post-graduate teacher training, which is completed by passing a state exam. The teacher training combines placement in VET schools with seminars on theory and reflective practice. These develop ‘fachdidaktik’, or subject specific pedagogical knowledge in two elected subject specialisms. Many critiques of the system mirror those in the UK: that teacher training is fractured within and between placements and seminar schools, that it is not sufficiently relevant to later teaching, that there may be little progression within teaching, low knowledge of teacher effectiveness, and low co-operation between VET and training companies.

A number of current challenges are presenting: digitalisation; heterogeneity of learners; inclusion (of disabled learners); academisation and decreasing reputation of VET; demographic decline; developing ‘quality’ cultures; developing in-service CPD; and a culture of ‘lone warrior’ teachers, rather than participation in learning communities.

‘Teachers and Teaching in Vocational and Professional Education’ by Dr Sai Loo, UCL Institute of Education, University College London

This theoretical framework of dual professionalism considers the importance of terminology, given the social history of the term ‘vocational’ in a UK context. TVET has at its core the interaction of learning in academic and business practice contexts, drawing on explicit and tacit knowledge types, and context dependency. It identifies the importance of drawing on own professional practice in teaching, even where the expertise introduced may not have direct universal application. These often relate to the professional’s own interests and ‘research’.

The LSRN is generally happy, if any colleagues would like to present and include items for an agenda, to e-mail with the details of the presentation title and points for inclusion. Particular thanks go to Tony Hudson of the University of East London for arranging the venue for this event. Find out more about the lsrn, which has active regional networks as well as national activity, here https://lsrn.wordpress.com/news-events/london-and-south-east-lsrn-meeting-15th-december-2017/

The Sustainable Development Goals


This morning, UKSSD and BOND, two multi-sectoral organisations working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), hosted a morning on this very theme. Chaired by Jon Snow, we were welcomed with a speech by the Minister of State at the Department for International Development. This was followed by policy development presentations from the Finish Secretary General from the National Commission on Sustainable Development; the Colombian Director of Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policy, National Planning Department; a Ugandan representative of the Head of Economic and Strategic Planning at the National Planning Authority; and the German Head of Division, Cross-sectoral and Sustainability-related Strategic and General Aspects of Environment, Building and Urban Development Policy.

The abbreviated notes below are my own focus and interpretation: live streaming of the event itself is due on the BOND website shortly. It is a noticeable achievement that adult literacy has explicit mention in Sustainable Development Goal 4.

MP Rory Stewart OBE FRSL, Minister of State at the Department for International Development

The last handful of decades, as we moved towards and through the Millennium Development Goals and into the SDGs, have seen the UK’s comparatively high level of international aid funding, at 0.7% of GDP, steadily accompanying an explosion in global economic activity. Where once DFID’s aid contributions may have been the largest contributor to a developing country’s budget, they now represent a fraction. In Pakistan, for example, the economy now spends one hundred times more on military expenditure than DFID spends on aid.

These can lead to questions of scaling. While demands for renewable water, energy and finance mechanisms are common to all, to what extent are which models of domestic development appropriate to international contexts? In farming, for example, how do large-scale industrial agricultural practices relate to subsistence family farming? Which models of public and private funding, such as bonds, support sustainable local development?

Annika Lindblom, Secretary General from the National Commission on Sustainable Development in Finland

In developing policy, Finland have prioritised eight primary SDGs to implement a whole country approach to implementation which is led from their cabinet office. The rest of the SDGs flesh out policy around the primary eight. Finland has a well-established political investment in sustainability that has progressed through several changes of parliament.

Dr Felipe Castro, Director of Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policy, National Planning Department in Colombia


Colombia undertook a detailed technical analysis of current policies and how they meet the SDGs. They matched available performance data to SDG indicators to analyse how and to what extent these goals are being met. This has enabled gap analysis, similarly to Finland’s process of policy development, and the identification of resource shortages. While using mass data and visualisation techniques, the social implications and applications were highlighted. The result was clear evidence of the interconnectedness of the SDGs, and of Colombia’s peace process. It evidences the detrimental impact of conflict on growth and development.

Dr. Joerg Mayer-Ries, Head of Division, Cross-sectoral and Sustainability-related Strategic and General Aspects of Environment, Building and Urban Development Policy in Germany


Germany utilises the SDGs as the basis for societal contracts and matrixes policies to them. As an example, in agriculture, they have identified the over-usage of nitrogen and consequently work towards reducing the impact on polluting ground waters and seas. These dialogues influence their economic models of growth and consumption with an emphasis on ‘resource productivity’, as much in international trade as domestic.

Representative of Paul Okitoi, Head of Economic and Strategic Planning at the National Planning Authority of Uganda


Uganda has implemented universal primary education and activated civil society in achieving its sustainable goals. In broader political terms, the SDG agenda is led from their cabinet office and disseminates through the political and societal structures.


A gap analysis was carried out. This recognised globally recognised challenges including project management capacity and meaningful, effective data collection and evidence-based practices to an appropriate scale.


Panel Discussions

The role of parliamentary mechanisms in ensuring accountability for the SDGs was queried. In this, civil society was suggested as engaging in two way partnership. Traditional understandings are not always fully aligned with scientific perspectives in decision-making processes. While not explicitly mentioned, lifelong learning agendas have a clear role to play in moderating mutual understanding. Ultimately, the aim of the forum is to get sustainable business practices more involved and this may take a bit more work ongoing.

These dialogues highlight the tensions between ‘doing things for people’ and supporting the mechanisms which enable them to do for themselves. In a social world, the SDGs and monitoring their progress contribute to bridging the ontological divide between (social) subjective and (mass data) objective realities – shared values, shared goals! The UK government has not to date released a cohesive plan for progressing the SDGs in the UK despite being a significant contributor to their generation. It would be wonderful to see consistent matrixing which disseminated a lifelong learning agenda, in policy as well as in practice. The drive for paths to be found in each context provides a rich narrative of development, and plenty of stories to be shared in the making.

Members’ Survey: moving RaPAL forward

The results of our last survey of members in 2014 emphasised the importance of regular publication of the RaPAL digital journal. Since then we have ensured termly publication, as well as reformulating our overall purpose, sustaining annual events and sector engagement. At the AGM in June, we agreed with members to launch a short follow-up members’ survey this autumn so that we can work on developing RaPAL in response to members’ interests and concerns. The survey has been sent out to members and we would be very grateful for your input. Any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you are not a RaPAL member and would like to contribute to the discussions, we would be delighted if you took a few moments to complete a truncated survey.


Literacies in Professional Services: Implications for Self-Advocacy, Society and Community Development

Literacies in Professional Services

Literacies in Professional Services: 24th BALID Informal Literacy Discussion

5pm on 30th November, London, UK

On Wednesday 30th November, we are holding our BALID AGM at 4pm, which will be followed at 5pm by a presentation and discussion on the above topic, led by Tara Furlong of RaPAL. This promises to be a significant discussion, leading us to reflect on the higher discourse-levels of literacy. The attached flyer gives a foretaste of the discussion to come, and we look forward to learning more.

The venue for both our AGM and the discussion is Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD, near Euston and King’s Cross stations. The AGM is a members-only meeting, but all are invited to the Informal Literacy Discussion. For details about how to become a member, please visit our website. Please also follow us on Facebook.

Just for information, our Weaving Literacy through Lifelong Learning conference this Friday (18th November) has attracted over 40 delegates from many different countries and disciplines. We will be reporting on that in due course on our website and on Facebook.


The complexity of communications practices associated with day-to-day personal advocacy, and also associated with social and community development, is increasing. What are the implications for literacies education?

This presentation follows the implications for practitioners of engaging in what may be ‘new literacies’, for instance, in writing a letter, developing promotional literature, or presenting theses. There is a developing market in the domain of professional services that such learners may find themselves involved with (World Bank, 2000), and this is also true of the aspirational client care of other industries – whether legal, financial, technological, HR, marketing, or property. As literacy researchers and teachers, we may find ourselves asking ‘what are the implications for literacies education?’

Drawing on systemic functional linguistic analysis (Halliday and Matthiessen, 2014) and discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2014; Bhatia, 2004), we signal some of the decisive factors in advocacy, client or project management and problem resolution including:

  • the framing of an individual or client in linguistic terms, such as in the ways they may be agentive, and the pertinent features of a situation;

  • a professional’s representation of that situation, such as critical items, risk factors or avenues for action; and

  • the relationship established between client and professional.

We look at communicative features within literacy practices which may contribute to self-advocacy, poor or exceptional client care, including un/certainty and (lack of) clarity regarding agency, action and risk as well as an inexplicit sense of manners/ rudeness. We focus on the concepts of ‘genre’ and ‘register’ as features of successful communication, including stages in the structure and accompanying content, features of the style and vocabulary used (in particular in respect of agency and risk) and interpersonal techniques.

The presentation concludes with looking at the implications of these issues for literacies and curriculum development.


Bhatia, V. K. (2004) World of Written Discourse London: Continuum

Fairclough, N. (2014) Language and Power 3rd ed London: Longman

Halliday, M. A. K. and Matthiessen, C. (2014) An Introduction to Functional Grammar 4th ed Abingdon: Routledge

World Bank, The (2003) Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy: Challenges for Developing Countries Washington: The World Bank

And on a lighter note to finish today’s posts, An Illustrated Guide to Weird British Expressions, on behalf of one of our readership

I won’t invite a detailed multi-modal or systemic functional linguistic analysis at this moment in time, but applied digital storytelling at UEL might pass muster for literacies foci.

An Illustrated Guide to Weird British Expressions

An Illustrated Guide to Weird British Expressions [Infographic] by Sykes Cottages with a bit more detail on the page itself.

NB, please note that RaPAL do not endorse Sykes Cottages, the commissioner, or Neomam Studios, the producer, but in the spirit of their publishing on our joint conference and winter encroaching, we thought worthy of a mention the language entertainment.

Third Bremen Conference on Multimodality

Posted on behalf of Dr. Chiao-I Tseng,

Bremen, Germany

Keynote speakers

Kay O’Halloran (Curtin University, Australia)
David Machin (Orebro University, Sweden)
Ellen Fricke (Chemnitz University, Germany)

Call for Papers

BreMM17 is the third in a series of conferences dedicated to bringing together different disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of multimodality in various academic contexts.

More than ever, multimodality is one of the most influential semiotic theories for analyzing media artifacts, and it enjoys growing global popularity. However, this popularity does not imply universality: the conceptual anchoring of multimodality as well as its empirical applications often remain nationally and regionally grounded.

The Bremen team takes these differences in national and international perspectives as a starting point of discussion and analysis. We continuously initiate deeper inquiry into the specific theories and practices of multimodal research: BreMM14 was dedicated to building bridges between various multimodality-ready disciplines, and BreMM15 concerned itself with theoretical and methodological explorations. Both conferences resulted in edited volumes which present each event’s strongest contributions and serve as the basis for lasting academic exchange on the ever-new topic of multimodality in theory and practice.

The upcoming Third Bremen Conference, BreMM17, plans to lay the foundation for the formation of a standalone discipline to be dubbed ‘multimodality’ as opposed to the widespread interdisciplinary view. Its aim is, therefore, to push the envelope and start  far-reaching discussions which cover description, terminology, and methodology,
bringing a multitude of approaches to multimodal analysis into the fold and letting previously disparate directions in theory and practice converge. The end result will be a common basis upon which the monolithic view of multimodality as a concerted disciplinary field can be built.

For a lively and multifaceted discussion, we encourage proposals that explore a vast range of issues, including but not limited to the sub-themes below. We welcome both theoretical and empirical takes on these general questions, and we particularly encourage proposals which unify several theoretical or methodological traditions in order to achieve integration and, thus, guide our discipline-building explorations.

–  What previously established disciplines should inform multimodality‘s disciplinary delineation? What is the place of semiotics, SFL, discourse analysis, interaction analysis, and other popular methods in the process of defining multimodality as a standalone discipline?
–  Where can multimodality find its most inclusive and exhaustive theoretical basis? Can we rely on Peirce, de Saussure, and Halliday on their own? Do we need ways of combining their work to produce a new theoretical basis for the discipline? Do we start a new theory from
–  What goes in multimodality‘s methodological toolbox? What existing empirical approaches define the field, how can we develop them further or combine them, and do we need new methods to capture multimodality‘s vastness?
–  What are multimodal media and how do their various semiotic affordances shape multimodality within and across media formats? Are all media truly multimodal to begin with?
–  How can we define multimodal literacy and how can we best teach it in a systematic and reliable manner?
–  What is the role of technology in pushing the boundaries of multimodality and in  assisting its empirical study?
–  How can multimodality as a research direction improve our understanding of social, cultural, and political issues around the globe?

Guidelines for Submission

This year we invite proposals for three different kinds of presentation:

Long paper. This will consist of a 25-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. This format is reserved for well-developed projects that present potentially controversial or conceptually complex ideas or empirical studies.

Short paper. This will consist of a 15-minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. This format is suitable for work in progress or ideas and empirical studies that can be presented more succinctly.

Poster Presentation or Demo. This may be any form of research display or demonstration. Presenters will have the opportunity to present and discuss their work during a 90-minute drinks reception/poster presentation session.

Proposals will be selected according to the following criteria (please be sure to address each one):
–  the appropriateness of the topic to the studies of multimodality;
–  the conceptual clarity and intellectual rigor of the project;
–  the contribution the project makes to advancing current understanding;
–  the content should not have been presented elsewhere in identical form.

Your proposal (350-500 words in length) must include:
(1) title of the presentation,
(2) name of the  author(s), affiliation, email address,
(3) proposal format (long paper, short paper or poster),
(4) bibliography of key sources (up to 5),
(5) brief biographical statement for presenting author (25-100 words).


Please submit your proposal as an e-mail attachment (Word, PDF) by December 5th, 2016, to bremm17@uni-bremen.de.

For further information, visit the conference website:

Notification of acceptance by end of December.

Contact: Chiao-I Tseng, Janina Wildfeuer, Ognyan Seizov email: bremm17@uni-bremen.de

Systemic Functional Linguistics at the Crossroads: Intercultural and Contrastive Descriptions of Language

Posted on behalf of,

27th European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference:
Plaza de Anaya s/n 37008
06/28/2017 – 07/01/2017

From a systemic functional perspective, language is considered essentially a probabilistic system. An important part of the meaning of any feature is its relative probability in relation to other mutually defining features and, therefore, language description is intimately related to the (un)expectedness of the behaviour, presence, absence, etc. of linguistic phenomena. However, globalization is dynamically pervading cultural groups, historic identities or languages to an unprecedented extent and thus it is not surprising that cultural differences, hybridizing processes and diversity are challenging our knowledge and our expectations on the probability and extent of linguistic phenomena and their behaviour. Thus, by setting linguistics at crossroads, the conference invites to explore how cultural dynamics challenges linguistic description both at theory and practice from a variety of perspectives, including how paradigmatic choices are realized syntagmatically in different languages, how experience is construed in different settings, or how social roles and relations are enacted in situations culturally diverse, just to name a few. The conference also aims at addressing the question of how SFL is located at the crossroads between past and future in terms of the theoretical achievements and practical applications reached so far and, therefore, it also invites proposals dealing with up-to-date theoretical constructs and practical applications from intra- and inter-disciplinary perspectives which may show how SFL is at the cutting edge of linguistic description.

Prospective contributions for Paper and Poster Presentations

Contributions are welcome for the following thematic strands and colloquia, albeit, as in previous conferences, papers with a systemic functional focus will also be considered even if they do not address the conference themes:

Thematic Panel Sessions

–      SFL at Intercultural Crossroads: This strand focuses on work which presents analyses or addresses questions related to contexts of situation which are better described in terms of diversity and hybridization, including those defined by intercultural metaphors like ‘melting pots’ or ‘salad bowls’, or labelled as multicultural, intercultural, or cross-cultural.

–      SFL at Contrastive Crossroads: Contrastive description is being revealed as a fruitful avenue to explore language behaviour at all levels and with a variety of purposes. Examples range from paradigmatic patterns and diverging syntagmatic realizations, to theoretical as well as practical implications for language learning, to name just a few.

–      SFL at Crossroads in Linguistics and Beyond: This strand focuses on theoretical approaches and practical applications, particularly those which consider intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary complex frameworks, such as SFL and Discourse Analysis, SFL and Critical Discourse Analysis, SFL and Cognitive Linguistics, SFL and Literacy and Education, SFL and Translation, etc.

–      SFL at the Cutting Edge of Descriptions of Language: The focus of this strand is on up-to-date theoretical and practical accounts of language from a systemic functional perspective, as well as challenges and pointers for future in both theoretical and descriptive linguistics.


–      1er Coloquio ‘La LSF en/del Español’ / 1st Colloquium: ‘SFL in/of Spanish’ (Language of this colloquium: Spanish) (please check the conference website for this CFP)

–      2nd Colloquium ‘Empirical Evidence and Theoretical Assumptions in SFL’ (Language of this colloquium: English) (please check the conference website for this CFP)


Abstracts (300 words maximum, plus a short list of key references) should contain a statement of the aim of the contribution, and should make clear how the paper relates to previous and/or current work within SFL and to the panel and/or colloquium chosen. Abstracts should provide a description of the main contents and results to be presented. If a proposal is not accepted for a colloquium, it will still be considered for one of the panels of the conference, so a panel should also be chosen when submitting for a colloquium just in case the proposal does not fit in the colloquium.
Maximum number of proposals per person (papers and posters): 2 co-authored or 1 single-authored + 1 co-authored

SFL Pre-Conference Institute

Date: 28th June, 2017
Workshops will be offered in a variety of topics, including SFL analysis of Spanish or Analysing Language by means of UAM CorpusTool. Please check our website for update information on the workshops and registration procedure.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers

Jorge Arús Hita (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)
Tom Bartlett (Cardiff University, UK)
Adriana Bolívar (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Venezuela)
Elsa Ghio (Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina)
Mick O’Donnell (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)

‘Geoff Thompson’ Invited Lecture and ESFLA Young Scholar Bursary

In honour of Geoff Thompson’s immense contribution to systemic functional linguistics, the European Systemic Functional Linguistics Association sponsors a bursary each year for the European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference. The bursary provides support for a young scholar whose conference paper draws significantly on Geoff’s work. Requirements and instructions for applications for 2017 ESFLA bursary are available at the conference website.

In addition, the conference will also celebrate Geoff Thompson’s work and dedication to extending systemic functional linguistics by inviting a speaker with a long trajectory within the European association. Our Guest Speaker will be Mick O’Donnell (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and UAM CorpusTool creator).

Dates and Deadlines

Submission period opens: 1 October 2016
Deadline for submissions: 30 November 2016
Notice of acceptance: 15 January 2017
Early-bird registration (all): 15 January to 31 March 2017
Ordinary registration period (all): 1-30 April 2017
Extension of registration period for attendees only: up to 25 June 2017

More information at http://eventum.usal.es/go/esflc2017

‘Untold – an Un-conference about digital storytelling’

Posted on behalf of Polly Rodgers,

University of East London, University Square Stratford, Salway Road, London, E15 1NF

11th and 12th July 2017


Untold – An Un-conference about Digital Storytelling will bring together academics and practitioners for two-days to creatively explore and interrogate issues arising in digital storytelling practice and theory.  It is a cross disciplinary and interdisciplinary programme.

An Unconference offers:

  • Space to share, create, brainstorm and develop ideas

  • A longer collaborative process helping to develop communities of practice over a number of months

  • Better and more informed interaction at the event

  • The development of concrete outputs, such as project ideas and publication proposals, throughout the process

  • Blended format, both online and face to face meeting

Digital storytelling refers to a short form of digital media production that allows people to share aspects of their life story. Digital Stories can be comprised of photographs, video footage and audio voiceover, and typically last between 2 and 3 minutes. Each film tells a story written and narrated by the teller.

Call for Participants

We are now recruiting academics and practitioners who will be willing to participate actively in the development and delivery of Untold. Participants will identify, explore and interrogate issues that arise in digital storytelling practice from a range of perspectives. All contributions are welcome.


Digital Storytelling is increasingly popular as a learning, participation and empathy-raising tool in higher education, health care and civic engagement. The experiences and observations of academics and practitioners working in these areas will inform a wider understanding of the challenges, impact and future practice of applied digital storytelling.

As digital storytelling methodologies become more widely used, with increasingly diverse participant groups, practitioners and academics will benefit from exploration and discussion of: the ethics of personal storytelling, gathering and sharing work; understanding storytelling practices within the wider methodology; and specific issues that arise from DS application within particular disciplines.

Untold is designed to share theory and practice across a variety of digital storytelling contexts.  We will encourage cross-fertilisation between disciplines and approaches.

Invitation to participate / process

We invite academics, practitioners working with digital storytelling and others with an interest in the area to participate in Untold as a member of one of five themed sub-groups. We would particularly welcome interested contributors who are looking to incorporate Digital Storytelling into their work.

Our phased programme is broken down as follows:

Phase One – Searching (March to June 2017) – online

This will see the establishment of five themed groups – or ‘demes’ – consisting of approximately 15 people.  Each group has a facilitator who will coordinate and guide on-line discussion around a particular theme. ‘Deme’ members are expected to contribute actively to discussion by for example: Suggesting reading, sharing workshop experiences or offering commentary. Our expectation is this will require approximately 1 hour per week, but this will vary across the searching phase. Each ‘deme’ will be required to develop an agenda and programme for their contribution for the second and third phases of Untold.

  • Health and Digital Storytelling

  • Digital Storytelling in Higher Education

  • Ethics and Digital Storytelling

  • Storytelling Practices within DS

  • Civic Engagement and DS

Each ‘deme’ will have two coordinators that will manage the discussion.

Phase Two  – Exploring (July 2017 – Day one 11th July) face to face

A one-day workshop hosted at UEL. In the morning groups will converge under the guidance of the ‘deme’ facilitator to consider emergent topics and review issues identified through the searching phase. In the afternoon there will be an Open Space session to encourage cross-fertilisation of themes. The shape and nature of the morning sessions will be determined by the ‘deme’.

Phase Three  – Sharing (July 2017 – Day two 12th July) face to face

A one-day plenary where each of the five ‘demes’ leads a 90-minute session to showcase their interrogation of the practical and theoretical issues explored over the past four months. We encourage creative and participatory sessions outside the limits of traditional academic papers. External participants will be invited to this session.

Post “un-conference” – Extending Collaboration

The possibilities range from publication in academic journals through to new  workshops.

Applying to join the Unconference

To apply to join an UnTold ‘deme’, please submit:

  • A 120 word summary of who you are and what you do

  • A 250 word summary saying which ‘deme’ you would like to join, and why. This should identify key challenges and questions posed by the selected theme and include appropriate references

Deadline for submission of proposals is 9am UK time on the Thursday 1st December. Late submissions will not be accepted.

To submit an application, please visit https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=dst2017

Successful applicants will be informed by Thursday 15th December.

Untold is organised by University of East London.  It is overseen by an international steering committee consisting of Camelia Crisan (Senior Lecturer Faculty of Communication and Public Relations (FCRP), National University for Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest, Romania), Dr Mark Dunford (Associate Dean, School of Arts and Digital Industries, UEL), Dr  Daniela Gachago (Senior Lecturer, Centre for Innovative Educational Technology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology), Pip Hardy (Co-founder – Patient Voices), Professor Grete Jamissen (Section for Multimedia, Oslo and Akershus University College), Dr Cathy Jaynes (Nurse Researcher and Educator, Denver, Colorado) Ragnhild Larsson (Journalist & Storyteller, Konvoj Produktion), Dr Stephen Maddison (Director of Research, School of Arts and Digital Industries, UEL), Polly Rodgers (Untold Convenor, UEL), Tony Sumner (Co-founder – Patient Voices)