Invitation to submit a proposal to the PAWBL Symposium at BAAL 2023

‘Methods for data collection in Professional, Academic and Work-based Literacies research’

We warmly invite you to submit an abstract for our PAWBL symposium at BAAL 2023. The conference will take place from 23rd to 25th August. To help you to prepare for the symposium, we are running a PAWBL online reading event on Monday 6th March. (More details about the online reading event, and joining instructions, will be circulated closer to the time.)

Symposium context

The title of our symposium is: Methods for data collection in Professional, Academic and Work-based Literacies research. At this symposium we aim to explore research practices, in particular data collection, in professional, academic, and other work contexts. We are interested in the relations between research tools, people, and processes and how these shape eventual knowledge construction. 

Technologies are increasing the ways in which data can be gathered, what can be done with it, and indeed, what constitutes research data. The pandemic is a good example of researchers being forced to rethink their research methods, using technology to overcome logistical challenges.

Call for contributions

We invite contributions that can shed light on the following, or on emerging methods of data collection in the fields of professional, academic, or work-based literacies research:

  • What is lost and what is gained, when employing remote digital data collection, compared with the multiple modalities of a field visit?
  • Positionality and relations between researcher and participant matter too. In the data gathering process, what privileges are researchers granted, what are denied, what privileges do they themselves grant or deny?
  • What are the practicalities of doing literacies research in workplaces where participants may be oppressed, e.g., migrant detention centres?
  • What can participatory methods bring to work-based research, in terms of empowering participants?
  • What research methods could be used to collect data in work-based contexts where literacy practices are not easily accessible, for example where the material is ethically sensitive, or of a confidential nature?

This symposium connects with the conference theme, Opening Up Applied Linguistics, by inviting contributors to share their practical insights into the research process, something that is often not given space, yet which is vital to researcher development. This contributes to the conference aim of making research accessible, transparent, reproducible and collaborative.


Research methods; tools; literacies; data collection; technologies; knowledge construction

Symposium format

The PAWBL symposium will last 2.5 hours and will be in two parts: 

  • Part 1 – 3×30 min presentations (20 mins + 5 mins each Q&A)
  • Part 2 – poster showcase (60 mins)

The poster showcase will maximise opportunities for delegates to share methods and provide space for small informal discussions on as wide a range of topics as possible. We hope this format will enhance the exchange of knowledge in the symposium.

How to contribute

If you would like to contribute to our PAWBL symposium, please submit an abstract for your presentation by Friday 17th March 2023 via the official BAAL 2023 conference website. Submissions cannot be emailed to us directly. The submission platform will open on the BAAL 2023 conference website on Monday 30th January 2023.

The review process

Our symposium chairs and a member of the Local Organising Committee or the BAAL Executive will review the proposals submitted to our symposium. Based on these reviews, we will then select presentations for inclusion. Having approved our selection, the Local Organising Committee will notify the presenters.

If your proposal is accepted, you will have to register to attend the BAAL 2023 conference as a participant. 

If there is anything unclear or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Giovanna Battiston at or Denise de Pauw at We are happy to help in any way we can.

We look forward to receiving your abstract for the BAAL PAWBL symposium and hope to see you at our online reading event on Monday 6th March.

Giovanna Battiston PAWBL Convenor
Denise de Pauw PAWBL Events Lead
On behalf of the PAWBL committee

4th PAWBL Symposium: Literacy Practices in Workplace Contexts

Date: Friday 24th June 2022

Time: 10am to 3.30pm (GMT)

Plenary talk: ‘The literate practice of work and the Internet of Everything: becoming a literate worker in a hyper-connected world’, Lesley Farrell, Professor Emerita at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.

We are now taking registrations for the 4th PAWBL Annual Symposium (please use the link below to register).

At this year’s symposium we will explore literacy as social practice in workplace contexts, including universities as workplaces. Workplaces are dynamic and affected by geographical, technological, and social change. As we adjust to a post-pandemic, digitally mediated world, this is even more the case. For people operating in the hybrid spaces that comprise the modern workplace, literacy practices are the threads that bind and shape knowledge, identities, and relationships (Farrell et al., 2021).

We will consider matters such as how literacy shapes and affects people’s working lives and their identities, how people use literacy to negotiate, influence, and collaborate at work, how power relationships play out through literacy practices, and how literacy practices are experienced by those at the workplace boundary trying to establish a foothold.

Following the very successful format for the 3rd Annual PAWBL Symposium in January 2021, this event will be entirely on-line, with asynchronous and synchronous elements.

The day will begin with a plenary talk by Lesley Farrell, Professor Emerita at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. Lesley’s research focusses on language and social change, especially in relation to globally distributed workforces. She has researched in and about the literacy practices of automating workplaces for over 20 years and published widely in the field.

Following the plenary session, we will hold smaller-group, discussion-based sessions which use accepted contributions as a starting point. Registered participants will be sent a link so they can review the contributions asynchronously before the day. These sessions will begin with Q&A about the contributions, followed by more general discussion. They will be preceded by short ‘reading breaks’ to give participants a chance to look at contributions, read and think (and maybe have a cup of coffee or lunch). We will then bring these different discussions together towards the end of the day in an open forum.

There is no fee to register for the event but to contribute towards technical support costs on the day we are inviting a small voluntary donation of around £5 per participant.

Register here

If you have any questions about the event, please contact either Giovanna Battiston at or Amanda French at

PAWBL AGM 2021-22

Thanks to all who attended the PAWBL AGM on 21st January 2022. Notes from meeting can be found here.

Making writing a visible dimension of Social Work Practice: the challenges of transforming research findings into useable knowledge

This Seminar presentation by Dr Lucy Rai and Dr Gillian Ferguson took place on January 21st 2022. The abstract for the event is below. Lucy has kindly recorded a separate presentation about the event which is available here.

Postponed Symposium: Friday January 29th 2021

We are pleased to announce that the December Symposium (postponed due to unforeseen circumstances) will now take place on Friday 29th January 2021. All are welcome to attend, even if you did not sign up for the original event. We are fortunate that both our plenary speakers, Juliet Henderson and Zoe Nikolaidou will be presenting and the programme is scheduled to go ahead more or less unchanged. If you’ve already signed up we will be contacting you to find out whether you still plan to attend. Please click to review abstracts and the draft programme for the day. The event consists of an asynchronous build-up where contributions will be available in advance of the Symposium and everyone will be able to engage asynchronously through comments on a Padlet wall. Those who sign up will be sent a link to the event page. On the day itself, there will be plenty of time to revisit contributions, but in parallel sessions the focus will be on discussion rather than presentation.

To sign up for the event, please register by emailing Giovanna Battiston at and Jackie Tuck at with the following information:

Name (inc title)  
Tel. contact (in case of IT issues on the day)   
Do you give permission to share your name, affiliation and email address with other participants? 
Do you require a certificate of attendance? 
Are you a member of BAAL? 
Do you have any additional [online] requirements we should know about?  

Reading Group – online event 17th July 2020

This was PAWBL’s first reading group and it ran asynchronously via email for a week culminating in synchronous discussion on 17th July. We discussed: Blommaert, J. and Horner, B. (2017) Mobility and academic literacies: an epistolary conversation. London Review of Education 15 (1): 2 – 20.

A summary of the discussion can be found here

British Association of Applied Linguistics

Professional, Academic and Work-based literacies (PAWBL) SIG: December symposium

Work, life, study: literacies in and out of institutions

Programme & Registration information

Talk Abstracts

The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Friday, 6th December 2019 11.00 am – 4.30 pm

Plenary speakers: 

Dr Karin Tusting, Lancaster University

Prof. Theresa Lillis, Open University

A common thread connecting the triple professional, academic and work-based foci of PAWBL as a special interest group is the role of institutions in shaping literacy practices, and the consequences which follow for individuals, organisations and wider society. A concern with institutional context has enabled researchers to maintain a focus on literacies within domains of power, to substantiate a critique of the vested interests which shape institutions, policies and working practices, and to raise questions about the kinds of literacy/ies which are, and are not, valued within those institutions. At the same time, current theorisation in literacies research emphasises the need to take account of the fluid nature of literacy which follows from its fundamentally social character.  Changing communication practices have challenged researchers to question established boundaries between modes, languages, writers and readers, and domains. Texts, writers and readers are in constant movement across time and space, shifting between different work, life and study contexts, in and out of different roles and institutions. This symposium will explore emerging questions about how we understand the continuities and discontinuities between different institutional and professional contexts, and about how individuals might manage (and be helped to manage) their trajectories between, in and out of such spaces.

Some of the key questions the symposium will explore are:

The event will combine plenary talks, round table discussions and presentation sessions. The aim is to continue to foster conversations on these and other issues relevant to the production, consumption and evaluation of texts in professional, academic and workplace contexts.

Deadline for registration (see Registration form for details): 11th November 2019

Please send your registration form to Victoria Odeniyi:

All welcome, including practitioners, postgraduate students and early career researchers.

Symposium venue:

Central Meeting Rooms 15, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes. For a map and directions see:

The cost per person will be £35 for BAAL members and £45 for non-members of BAAL; £20 for BAAL student members and £30 for students who are not BAAL members.