Facilitating conversations across disciplines Facilitating conversations across disciplines

In addition to running our regular Education and Development Seminar Series at UEA, we have hosted several international conferences. Through these events, we have begun to facilitate conversations across disciplines (particularly between economists and ethnographers) and between different groups working in literacy (policy makers, practitioners and researchers).

The LDG convened a panel symposium on 'Literacy, texts and migration' at the BAICE biennial conference in Cambridge, September 2012

LDG members were on the organising committee for the UK Launch of the UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2014, and helped facilitate the discussion groups on thematic issues arising from the report. A party of UEA students and staff working on education and development travelled to London to attend the symposium.

A two-day workshop on ‘Dalit women's narratives and voices; cross-disciplinary perspectives' was organised by Nitya Rao in May 2012.

Cultural diversity, indigenous political organisation and the state in Latin America: This workshop  (2010) was organised by Sheila Aikman in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and the Latin American Research Programme. There were speakers from Newcastle University and from Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. This seminar was linked to the British Academy Latin American and the Caribbean Link Programme with the University of Quito and continued until 2012.

In 2010, LDG members served on the organising committee for the BAICE Biennial Conference on Education and Social Justice in Challenging Times, which was hosted at UEA.

An international conference on ‘Literacy Inequalities' took place at the University of East Anglia from 1st – 3rd September 2009, organised by the UEA Literacy and Development Group. The conference brought together 80 literacy researchers, policy makers and practitioners from around the world and was timed to connect with the UN Literacy Decade mid-term review (following from LDG members' involvement). Funding (£10 700) from the British Academy enabled us to invite an impressive range of speakers from a diversity of country backgrounds (Brazil, USA, Peru, Pakistan, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, India, South Africa). The UEA Alumnae Fund provided bursaries for 20 research students to attend the conference free of charge, and UNESCO funded the opening session speakers.

Continuing conference debate through publications 
LDG continues to work with participants in our events and conferences in developing high quality papers for publication. Previous publications include:
Following the conference on ‘Literacy Inequalities', we edited a Special Issue of the International Journal of Educational Development, edited by Bryan Maddox, Sheila Aikman, Nitya Rao and Anna Robinson-Pant (published in 2011 and including introductory piece by ‘Literacy Inequalities and Social Justice', by Maddox, Aikman, Rao and Robinson-Pant).
Following the conference on ‘Literacy, Identity and Social Change' (2006), we published a book and a Special Issue of the Journal Development Studies. Keynote speaker from the conference, Prof. Kaushik Basu from Cornell University co-authored the book and editorial introduction with Anna Robinson-Pant and Bryan Maddox. As an established economist, Basu's editorial role complemented the anthropological expertise within our LDG team and enabled us to develop the conversations between economists and anthropologists that had been initiated at the conference. The book published by Routledge, Literacy, Identity and Social Change includes the chapters written by conference participants, as well as an introduction by Basu, Maddox and Robinson-Pant (‘Interdisciplinary approaches to literacy and development: a review of the field').
Earlier LDG conferences have led to several publications which also took forward methodological debates in the field of literacy research: ‘Gender equality in adult education', Special Issue of International Journal of Educational Development, 2006, Vol. 26:2, March (edited by Rao and Robinson-Pant); Special Issue of Compare: a journal of comparative and international education on ‘Migration, education and socio-economic mobility', edited by Rao, 2010). ‘The Schooling of Literacies' conference in 2005 took forward debates around academic literacies in the Brian Street's (2004) book, Literacy across educational contexts Philadelphia, Caslon Press.