The emergence of the LLL Nordic research network can be traced back to the 1999 AILA World Congress in Tokyo. It was formalized at the MultiLing Center at the University of Oslo, Norway in October 2015 and consolidated at Helsinki in December 2015. In the interim period the founding members of the network have been engaged in a range of activities that have included symposia at international conferences such as AILA in Brisbane 2014, GURT in Washington DC 2015, establishment of the NERA Literacy Network in Örebro 2006, publication of an international anthology in 2012 on the theme of "Literacy practices in transition. Perspectives from the Nordic countries" (Multilingual Matters). This has also included formal cooperation in relation to national research projects and networks related to literacy. For instance, the Danish project Tegn på Sprog (Signs of Language, 2008-2016) and the Swedish national network on research in literacy-practices. This journey has also included a successful application for Nordic funding (NOS-HS, 2009-2010), large scale funding for a national research school (LIMCUL, Literacies, Multilingualism and Cultural Practices in present day society) 2008-2015 and funding for and publications from the national literacy network (Literacy practices inside and outside schools, Gleerups) by the Swedish Research Council (2009-2013).

The network founding members meet regularly both in different Nordic countries as well as at conferences across the globe.