BALID is the British Association for Literacy in Development: you can discover more about us here. Our upcoming events are listed on this page and in the sidebar. Please do spread the word amongst friends and colleagues – all are very welcome.


We are excited to announce that on Monday 9th December 2019 we will host our annual Brian Street Memorial Lecture at King’s College London, UK, in honour of our late President. This is a FREE all-day conference (10am-4.15pm), and our special guest speaker Professor David Bloome of Ohio State University will speak on ‘Adaptation and Imagination in Literacy’. The programme will include cameo presentations by current PhD students, plus ample opportunity for discussion and sharing. It will end with calls for action in the context of the SDGs and literacy.

Tickets are disappearing fast, so to avoid disappointment please visit our Eventbrite site and register now. Lunch will be available at £10 per head. Once you have booked on Eventbrite, we will email you with lunch options.

Our AGM will take place at 4.15pm, and we are actively looking for new committee members. Please join us and share your enthusiasm and expertise to help shape our future direction. If you’d like to discuss your interest, email

The AGM will be followed at 5pm by a reception to which all are invited. This will be a great opportunity to network and share.


INFORMAL LITERACY DISCUSSION 36, 4th July 2019, UCL Institute of Education, London

Lorena Sanchez Tyler of UCL Institute of Education led this stimulating seminar entitled ‘Bilingual Literacy for Life: an indigenous language literacy programme in Mexico’. Lorena’s PowerPoint will be available shortly.

INFORMAL LITERACY DISCUSSION 35, 24th June 2019, Embassy of the Republic of The Philippines, London, UK

Christopher Millora of the University of East Anglia led a fascinating seminar entitled ‘Taking hold’ and ‘losing grip’ of bureaucratic literacies: Insights from local volunteering in the Philippines. We were the grateful guests of The Embassy of the Philippines in central London. Please check our Facebook page for a glimpse of the occasion! Follow the links to read both Christopher’s presentation and news of how a local newspaper in The Philippines reported on the event. 🙂

INFORMAL LITERACY DISCUSSION 34, 26th March 2019, UCL Institute of Education

In this seminar, Mirza Moqeem Baig of Rural Aid Pakistan led a discussion on Literacy and maternal health in rural Pakistan. More details will be available soon.

INFORMAL LITERACY DISCUSSION 33, 7th February 2019, Feed the Minds, London
Our first informal Literacy Discussion of 2019 took place on Thursday 7th February, when Sarah Freeman of the University of Sheffield spoke about the Hidden Benefits of Learning English. We were kindly hosted for the event by Feed the Minds at The Foundry, 17 Oval Way, London SE11 5RR.  

INFORMAL LITERACY DISCUSSION 32, 11th December 2018, UCL Institute of Education, London

Dr Alastair Daniel of the University of Roehampton led this inspiring seminar about the relationship between oral storytelling and children’s literacy. It was entitled Meaning making and meaning shaping. The hyperlink leads to his PowerPoint presentation, which is full of fresh insights, ideas and pointers to research.


We had a very successful AGM on 22 November 2018 at a new venue, The Scullery at The Mitre, Craven Terrace, Lancaster Gate in London. After presentation of our Annual Report and the election of officers, we then moved on to a very enjoyable buffet meal where we reminisced about Brian Street, our late President, and the influence he had on the field of literacy. Recurring themes focussed on his generosity and friendship.


BALID recently decided to include the category of ‘Associate Member’ into our structure, mainly so that we can benefit from the input of people in the international literacy community. One of our associate members, Ulrike Hanemann, has written a paper entitled ‘Language and literacy programmes for migrants and refugees: challenges and ways forward’. You can access this online at

Ulrike writes that adult literacy and education is neither a focus nor a priority in refugee and migration policies, and language courses for migrants, rather emphasise labour-market oriented integration. However, the paper also examines examples of ‘best practice’ from all world regions which provide pointers for the way forward.’ Please also refer to the recently launched UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report ‘Migration, displacement and education: Building bridges, not walls’, which is available at


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