Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Conference 2014


Love Literacies, Love Lifelong Learning

Health, Well-being, Partnerships and Workplaces

BirdseyeBCHRaPAL Annual Conference
Saturday, 5th April 2014
Birmingham City hospital, UK

RaPAL represents practitioners, learners and researchers in the field of adult literacies in the UK, Ireland and around the world. Our next conference will be held at City Hospital, Birmingham, England and we will be joined by speakers from the University of Wolverhampton and, via link-up, Washington State University.

Booking Is Now Closed

Tickets are now live! Ticketing includes an online registration and invoicing option for institutional members and others who cannot process an immediate online payment.
Ticket prices include lunch (detailed below) and a fee of £0.95 per ticket is added by EventBee, the online ticketing agent; with processing fees of up to 3.4% + 20p for payment via Paypal (up to £3.30 depending on method of payment).
£60 Early Bird RaPAL Member
£70 Standard RaPAL Member
£80 Early Bird non-member
£90 Standard non-member

Conference Themes


The hospital setting of the 2014 conference provides a fantastic opportunity to focus on our broad themes of adult literacies in work and life, which include a wide variety of partnerships and in the contexts of health and well-being.

We are delighted to announce that our key speakers are:

Dr Linda Lang

Professor Lang is Dean of the School of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton. She will talk about the work of the faculty and the concept of Life Long Learning, focussing on a recent development for a University Technical College (UTC) in the Midlands. The UTC ‘Health Futures’ aims to support and develop 14-19 year olds to be able to achieve their goals and aspirations through HE and employment in careers in the Health Sector.

Dr Sondra Cuban

Sondra Cuban will speak from Washington State USA about her ESRC research project profiled in her 2013 book Deskilling Migrant Women in the Global Care Industry. The study focused on a group of migrant women who were care assistants in England’s care sector. Sondra will discuss their digital strategies to connect and care for their families abroad amid tensions they experienced with their paid care for older persons in England.

Some of our conference questions are:

Conf 2014 Questions
We invited contributions of interactive workshops, posters and panel discussions on the following topics:
Multi-modality in literacy practices: literacies as design, literacies embedded in real-world tasks.
Workplaces and learning: literacies for learning, learning at / for work, progression, persistence and adult appropriate.
Health and well-being: Current political debate towards literacies for health and well being in diverse contexts e.g. family literacies, holistic learning.
Influencing Policy and Debate: literacies and adult learning; curricula, funding, current discourses.


09:30 – 10:00 Conference Exhibitors
10:00 – 10:30 Welcome
10:30 – 11:00 Conference Themes – interactive
11:00 – 11:30 Keynote Speech
11:30 – 12:40 Morning Workshops
12:45 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 13:50 RaPAL – interactive
13:50 – 14:15 Keynote Speech
14:15 – 15:25 Afternoon Workshops
15:25 – 15:45 Plenary
15:45 – 16:30 Members Only EGM


Preferred workshops can be selected during the ticket booking process.

Morning Workshops

m1 Health Literacies

Jonathan Berry, Community Health and Learning Foundation

Jonathan Berry, Community Health and Learning Foundation

Jonathan Berry from the Community Health and Learning Foundation (CHLF) will facilitate a workshop focusing on developing a shared understanding of what we mean by ‘health literacies’. He will explain how health literacies can be understood in terms of ‘asset’ and ‘deficit’ models, as well as blended of both. Jonathan will focus on how the term relates to people making informed health choices for them and their families. Participants in the workshop will consider ‘health equalities’ and the widening gap between the health of people from ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ economic backgrounds. Jonathan will make connections between adult literacies policies and health care policies to help workshop participants forge successful working partnerships in practice.

m2 Reading for pleasure, literacy and well-being in the workplace

Genevieve Clark, the Reading Agency

Genevieve Clark, the Reading Agency

Genevieve Clark from the Reading Agency will explore the benefits and use of programmes run by The Reading Agency that are designed to maximise proven links between reading, literacy and well-being. The workshop will draw on practice developed in workplaces where organisers have used one or more Reading Agency programmes to draw people into further learning and broaden their reading and literacy activity. This will include discussion with workshop participants about the range of reading materials, digital as well as print, that can be used to engage people who do not consider themselves to be ‘readers’.

m3 Writing in small businesses

Sue Grief,  PhD student at the Institute of Education

Sue Grief, PhD student at the Institute of Education

Sue Grief, a PhD student at the Institute of Education will share her research around how writing used in the day to day work of very small businesses. Drawing on data from four case studies, this workshop will provide an opportunity to take a fresh look at what at first sight may appear to be very familiar and routine texts and to explore the role these play in the day to day work of the businesses. Participants will consider what it means for literacy to be ‘embedded’ in work activity and touch on the role of multimodality.

m4 An Australian Perspective: Literacies, Lifelong Learning, Health, Well-being, Partnerships and Workplaces

Isabel Osuna-Gatty, Australian Adult Literacy Services

Isabel Osuna-Gatty, Australian Adult Literacy Services

Ros Bauer, Australian Adult Literacy Services

Ros Bauer, Australian Adult Literacy Services

Beamed in from the Tamani Desert, Australia, Isabel Osuna-Gatty and Ros Bauer from the Australian Adult Literacy Services will share their journey building strong partnerships as critical to implementing literacy programmes across Australia. Their literacy projects and training programs, underpinned by a combination of social practice approach and skills based approach, not only develop people’s personal literacies and work skills literacies; but also enhance their general well-being.

As a mental health professional and as an English as a Second Language teacher, Isabel Osuna-Gatty has worked in Literacy programs in South America and for the past 5 years: She will explain how she has made a professional commitment to Health Literacy in culturally and linguistically diverse communities across Western Sydney. Ros Bauer, an Adult LLN Specialist, will then talk through some Australian initiatives around the opportunities and challenges that exist in workplaces with regards to reading, writing, listening, speaking, using ICT and numeracy. She will provide an in depth case study on the workplace literacy project she has been delivering in a remote Aboriginal community.

Afternoon Workshops

a1 Engaging Vocational Specialists in Embedded Support for Healthcare Workers

Bob Read, Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region (ACER)

Bob Read, Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region (ACER)

Bob Read from the Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region (ACER), will explore the value of promoting a social practice approach to literacy and numeracy as a way to engage vocational specialists in understanding their role in embedded support. In the session, Bob will review a range of resources and teaching strategies used on healthcare programmes that offered embedded support. Some were developed by workplace assessors and trainers for use with care assistants in residential homes; others were created by lecturers on BSc pre-registration Nursing programmes. Bob will discuss how in both contexts the staff involved in designing and using the materials gained some valuable insights into the nature of literacy and numeracy as a set of social practices underpinning the acquisition of occupational identity. The workshop would therefore be of interest to anyone who is keen to explore the links between social practice theory and the practical challenges of workplace support.

a2 Enhancing Medical Students’ Experiences and Digital Literacy Skills through Expert Patients’ Stories

Bex Ferriday, School of Health Care Sciences at Cardiff University

Bex Ferriday, School of Health Care Sciences at Cardiff University

Bex Ferriday from the School of Health Care Sciences at Cardiff University will explain how students, training to become physiotherapists, nurses and occupational therapists (among other things) have deeply engaged in learning, through interviews filmed with ‘expert patients’, people who have or have recovered from a range of illnesses and conditions. These interviews have been developed as online learning materials: Films are edited into bite-sized chunks and interspersed with points for discussion via online fora. Open questions prompt reflection and quick and simple multiple choice questions provide students with a way to assess their understanding, and improve their digital literacy skills by stealth. Bex will share this learning process and explain the success of the work she has been doing: the first expert patient resource uploaded to the university’s VLE has, to date, had over 1,000 hits.

a3 Improving client care in professional communications

Tara Furlong, Designing Futures

Tara Furlong, Designing Futures

Tara Furlong from Designing Futures will lead a workshop on improving client care in professional communications, where delegates are introduced to a range of issues that impact on the quality of written client communications. Participants will have the opportunity to explore features of structure, style and content that contribute to improved client care and satisfaction. Tara will also focus on the changing nature of the professional services market in the economy. Finally, participants will analyse the impact, opportunities and challenges the ideas raise for people in different roles (such as teachers and curriculum developers). Tara has worked across private and public sectors inside and outside of education for twenty years in the UK and abroad. She has an ongoing interest in the relationship between multi-modal and contextualised, versus abstracted learning; and its mirror in social and literate practice and language across life spheres.

a4 From work-based literacy to HE: The impact of workplace learning on identities

Peggy Warren, City Hospital Birmingham

Peggy Warren, City Hospital Birmingham

Peggy Warren and colleagues from City Hospital Birmingham will provide narrative through poetry, lyrics and storytelling from a work based literacy tutor and colleagues who utilised Skills for Life and Widening Participation (WP) educational opportunities to navigate their way from no formal qualifications to a Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care. The workshop will outline some of the experiences associated with being mature students navigating a way through HE to new professionalisms, facilitated by WP opportunities. This session will involve the use of narratives via i-tunes, possibly games and facilitator / participants’ discussion on adult pedagogy.

There will also an exhibition of research, journals, educational materials and books, including Vicky Duckworth talking about her new book; “Learning Trajectories, Violence and Empowerment among Adult Basic Skills Learners”

Anticipated Lunch Menu

Freshly poached salmon with lemon mayonnaise and cucumber
Breast of chicken tikka/tandori
Roasted vegetable and feta cheese tart
Half jacket potatoes
Tossed mixed salad
Roast vegetable cous cous with harissa dressings

Fresh fruit salad
Blackcurrant, fruits of the forest cheesecake.

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