The ALM bulletin is a bimonthly newsletter from Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM).
ALM is an international research forum bringing together researchers and practitioners in adult mathematics/numeracy teaching and learning in order to promote the learning of mathematics by adults.

ALM bulletin: May 2021

Welcome to the May ALM Bulletin. As we have all found out, going virtual has not reduced any workloads and preparing for our first virtual conference has presented some interesting challenges, not least organising events across a 24 hour time line. Nevertheless, Lisanne Heilmann along with a team of colleagues at Hamburg University and ALM Trustees have pulled together a very exciting agenda, including thought-provoking Keynote speakers from around the world, a variety of stimulating seminars by ALM members, a few fun activities and last but not least, the AGM. This communication includes information on the ALM 28 conference and other upcoming events.

Beth Kelly
Chair of ALM trustees

ALM 28 Numeracy and Vulnerability

The 28th ALM conference, which will be virtual and hosted by the University of Hamburg, runs from July 5th-7th 2021. The theme of the conference, Numeracy and Vulnerability, considers the link between adults’ numeracy and their individual and/or societal vulnerability.

Keynote plenaries at the conference will be:
  • Vulnerability in Adult Life –and how it affects Numeracy Practices by Prof. Dr. Anke Grotlüschen (University of Hamburg);
  • Covid-19 and numeracy challenges [working title] by Professor Kevin McConway (Open University, UK);
  • Current and future numeracy challenges related to digitalisation and digital recruitment [working title], by Dr. Suzanne Smythe (Simon Fraser University);
  • The Mathematics of Climate Change – a pre-recorded speech by Prof. Chris Budd (University of Bath) who will attend a workshop to discuss the issues raised, chaired by Dr. Beth Kelly (ALM chair, University College Institute of Education);
  • Financial numeracy and vulnerability [working title] by José Julián Cao-Alvira;
  • The international reproduction of vulnerability in numeracy assessments by Professor Gelsa Knijnik (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Brazil).
Abstracts for other sessions on the conference (or a related) theme have been received. These are currently being extended to longer versions and will be made available to help participants choose which sessions to attend. These will also be published in the conference Proceedings, soon after the conference.

You can register for the conference here There is a small fee for attending but ALM aims to be inclusive and so provides financial support to practitioners and researchers from institutions involved in Adults Learning Mathematics with limited resources for conference fees. For more information please go to

We are looking forward to seeing you at the conference. If you have further questions, you can find more information on the ALM28-website (, which we will update regularly, or you can contact Lisanne Heilmann (

ALM Virtual Annual General Meeting

Understandably this year we will be holding a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM ) which will take place during the virtual ALM 28 Conference. During the AGM we will elect, or re-elect, trustees and officers in order to take the work of the organisation forward for the next year, July 2021 to July 2022. In the interest of maintaining ALM’s open and democratic organisational procedures, we are planning to hold the virtual AGM on July 6th 2021 at 6pm UK time. We hope that holding a virtual meeting will allow as many ALM members to attend as possible, if they wish to do so.

All members are invited to attend the meeting via a web- link. At the meeting members are entitled to raise concerns, make suggestions and be nominated for positions. However given that the AGM will be a virtual meeting it would be really helpful if members could send in questions in advance to the secretary. We would also welcome new trustees and if you are interested please contact Catherine Byrne at secretary to discuss the idea.

To notify ALM of your intention to attend the AGM, please register at the ALM AGM 2021 page: so that we can admit you to the meeting. The papers for the AGM will also be available before the meeting on the same webpage.

If you are not currently a member but would be interested in joining this meeting please consider joining ALM at and find out more about the work of this worldwide research and teaching forum.

ALM Maths in Prisons topic group

The Maths in Prison (MiP) topic group is a new initiative from Adults Learning Maths (ALM). It aims to link practitioners and researchers who are interested in maths education in prisons and the secure estate. The topic group grew from the recent ALM series of virtual seminars which replaced our 2020 conference.

Maths education in prison is seen as a basic life skill (Council of Europe 1990) and priority is given to those in prison with basic educational needs, including numeracy and literacy (Irish Prison Service 2019). There is however limited research in this field.

This group offers a forum to share good practice, discuss methodologies and challenges for practitioners and researchers. We encourage informal conversations between practitioners to identify common themes and look to ways to support maths education in this context. We share experiences, literature, and best practices on topics such as teaching fractions and how technology can support this work.

We aim to hold a workshop for all those interested at the forthcoming ALM conference. Please contact Catherine Byrne at secretary if you would like to join this topic group and watch out for other announcements of opportunities to meet online. (check website).


This large international congress of researchers and practitioners normally takes place every four years. The event scheduled for July 2020 in Shanghai, China was postponed due to Covid. This event will now be held 11-18th July 2021 and it will be possible to attend either in person or online. There are over 50 Topic Study Groups for this conference so, although there is no group specifically for adults learning mathematics, it is likely that ALM members will find a group of interest. Further details of the conference, including how to register, can be found at

Future bulletins

We hope that you are enjoying the regular ALM bulletin. If you have news from your part of the world that may be of interest to our international community then please do get in touch with Diane Dalby or send her a short draft item for the next bulletin by July 1st 2021.

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