BALID is the British Association for Literacy in Development: you can discover more on the ‘About BALID’ page.  PLEASE SEE THE SIDE BAR to the right for all the upcoming events that we are involved in. Our Facebook page is also worth a visit!


ON  5th DECEMBER 2017 we held our BALID AGM at the home of the Mothers’ Union, Mary Mary Sumner House in the heart of Westminster, London. The formalities were followed by a very lively event, a double bill, and a fuller report will be available shortly. Interestingly, these presentations shared a common questioning of concepts of what literacy and reading mean to people today. Our discussions were so absorbing, we just had to retire to the pub afterwards.

INFORMAL LITERACY DISCUSSION 29 held on Tuesday 5th December 2017

1  Figured Worlds: An Ethnographic Study of Literacy Practices in a Village Community in Malawi  Presented by Ahmmardouh Mjaya

Ahmmardouh Mjaya investigates the everyday literacy experiences and understandings of community members in their lived worlds, including the role of artefacts in literacy practices. He argues that what literacy-mediating artefacts allow the community members to become is more important than what they actually do.

2  Lend me your Ears: When and why adults may read aloud rather than in silence  Presented by Sam Duncan

Sam Duncan holds an AHRC Research Leaders Fellowship for Reading Aloud in Britain Today (RABiT), a project examining whether, when, why and how adults read aloud. After introducing the Project, she will argue that we may need to expand notions of ‘reading’ to better include the diversity of contemporary practices.


WE RECENTLY PUBLISHED the second edition of our BALID book, Theory and Practice in Literacy and Development, which is downloadable for free. This is a compilation of articles based on the presentations given by literacy experts at our series of Informal Literacy Discussions in London, UK, from 2011-2015. Edited by Dr Juliet McCaffery and Professor Brian Street, the book offers helpful and varied insights into issues of literacy, focusing mainly on the social practice view of literacy for families and adults. We have a few hard copies available: they cost £15 (plus £2.25 for UK packaging and postage) and can be ordered from Dr Ian Cheffy at


WITH GREAT REGRET, we report the very sad news that Professor Brian Street died peacefully on 21 June 2017 after a long battle with cancer. Brian had been president of BALID for many years and been involved with BALID since its inception. He will be very sadly missed.

Brian will be remembered by all his former students and his professional colleagues for the help, support and encouragement he unfailingly gave them. He will live on through his many publications and his seminal work on developing the theory of literacy as social practice.

Juliet McCaffery, Secretary 

on behalf of the BALID committee: Katy Newell-Jones, Juliet McCaffery, Ian Cheffy, Alan Rogers, Mary Anderson, Tara Furlong