Research in arid geomorphology continues to expand rapidly, as evidenced by an everincreasing volume of publications in a diverse range of outlets. A number of recent conferences and special interest sessions within larger meetings also have been devoted to aspects of arid geomorphology, with examples including ‘Drylands: Linking Landscape Processes to Sedimentary Environments’(Joint BGRG/BSRG International Conference, London, February 2005), the 8th International Conference on Fluvial Sedimentology (Delft, Netherlands, August 2005), the 2nd Southern Deserts Conference (Arica, Chile, October 2005), ‘Geomorphology and Earth System Science’ (BGRG Annual Meeting, Loughborough, June 2006), and the International Conference on Aeolian Research (Guelph, Canada, July 2006). Previous contributors to these progress reports have done an admirable job in keeping track of similar developments over recent years and in charting pathways through the literature. My aim here is not to attempt a comprehensive overview of the recent literature; the volume being produced is too large to enable this to be achieved in anything more than a superficial manner in the space available. Rather, in this and future reports, I will focus on certain pervasive, emerging, or overarching themes in arid geomorphological research, with ‘arid’ defined broadly to include hyper-arid, semi-arid and dry-subhumid regions as well. The field of arid geomorphology is not developing in isolation, and so many of the themes highlighted have parallels with those in geomorphology, physical geography and the earth sciences in general.