2019 Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference

Critical re-imagining: adult literacy and numeracy practices for sustainable development

4-5 October

3 October Preconference

Aerial Function Centre, University of Technology Sydney

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda has been developed as ‘a plan for action for people, planet and prosperity’. It is a plan to end poverty and hunger, to protect our planet, to enable all human beings to enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives in peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

This conference invites participants to consider the role of adult literacy and numeracy education in promoting this agenda including the most directly pertinent goal to our field: Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Keynote speakers

Dr Roslyn Appleby, University of Technology Sydney

Roslyn is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests include the cultural politics of language and literacy, critical gender studies, and human-animal relationships. 

She is the author of ‘ELT, Gender and International Development’ (Multilingual Matters, 2010), and ‘Men and Masculinity in Global English Language Teaching’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), and ‘Sexing the Animal in a Posthumanist World’ (Routledge, forthcoming). 

Prof. Dr. Anke Grotlueschen, Hamburg University, Germany

Anke is Professor for Lifelong Learning (W3) at Hamburg University. She oversees some four million Euro research grants mostly focused on assessment, literacy and lifelong learning.

This includes the development of so-called Alpha-Levels within and below the PIAAC Level One in order to further investigate low skilled populations. The development of formative assessment items in literacy and numeracy (2010) as well as the participation in the OECD What Works study on Formative Assessment (2008) led to the nationwide Level One Survey (2011).

Prof. Ralf St. Clair, University of Victoria, Canada

Ralf is Professor and Dean of Education at the University of Victoria in Canada. He is currently the Chair of the Association of BC Deans of Education, and a member of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO and the BC Council for Admissions and Transfer. He is an active teacher, focusing on the education of adults, literacy, research methods, curriculum studies, and international education.

Ralf has been an active researcher for several decades, having studied adult education and literacy, educational aspirations, and Indigenous education. The common thread running through his work is a concern with equity and accessibility in education. Currently,Ralf is completing a project on the educational aspirations of Indigenous communities and youth. His most recent book was “Creating courses for adults: Design for learning,” published by Wiley in 2015.

Amy Thomas, University of Technology Sydney

Amy is an academic in the Adult Learning and Applied Linguistics program at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) where she is also a Shopfront Community Research Fellow.

Her PhD research focuses on the history of Australian colonial ideology, English in education, and the contest between ideas of self-determination and assimilation in Indigenous bilingual schooling in northern Australia since the 1970s. For an essay on this topic, she was awarded the Northern Territory Literary Award in 2018 in the Essay category.

She is currently co-researcher on an historical media analysis project, ‘Representing Indigenous interests in Australian policy discourse’, with Heidi Norman and Andrew Jakubowicz. Her research interests include critical studies in education policy, language planning and policy, and historical and educational sociology, focusing on issues of social justice in late modern Australia.

Opportunity to lead roundtables, workshops and present papers

Submissions for proposals will open soon for two types of presentations at the conference:

  1. Practitioners-led ‘roundtable’/ workshops or:
  2. Paper presentations of original research findings (or research in progress) on issues and topics in adult literacy and numeracy.

Pre-conference: Weaving a richer narrative of adult literacy and numeracy

A pre-conference will be held on 3 October, facilitated by Prof. Joe Lo Bianco, University of Melbourne.

At the 2010 ACAL conference in Darwin, Prof. Joe Lo Bianco advised ACAL conference participants that in order to have an influence on the shape of what was to become the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults, practitioners in the field needed to weave the stories of the lived experiences of learners and teachers into the stories that policy makers create purely from numbers.

This pre-conference workshop will be a working conference where practitioners, led by Joe will workshop how the adult literacy and numeracy community might weave a richer narrative of our learners’ stories.


Registrations will open shortly. Watch this space!