Manchester Metropolitan University, 7-9 April 2021

  • Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Who are our keynote speakers? Find out who is speaking at this year's conference and read their biographies and abstracts.

Emma Coonan


Emma is Research Fellow at the Centre for Innovation in Higher Education at Anglia Ruskin University, where she carries out individual and collaborative research into innovative teaching and learning approaches.

A librarian for ten years, Emma’s background is in academic, digital and information literacies in higher education. Her experience includes elearning course design, leading professional workshops in scholarly practices and support, and developing the highly cited ANCIL curriculum for information literacy in collaboration with Jane Secker. Her chief research interests are in the field of applied pedagogic research and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She also has a keen interest in academic writing and scholarly communications practices, and is Editor-in-Chief of the ILG’s house journal, the Journal of Information Literacy, as well as Associate Editor of the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice.

She tweets as @LibGoddess and drinks far too much espresso.

Emma’s publications


The body in the library: presence, resilience and authenticity in information literacy teaching and practice 

If “good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher” (Palmer, 1988), what should we be doing to steward and safeguard our teaching selves? How does the professional identity intersect with the personal? Who are we when we meet our learners?

Understanding how our own teaching identity is constructed is crucial to answering these questions. In teaching information literacy, we believe that what we desire for our learners is the ability to read between the lines; the courage to question authority and to answer back to canonical discourse; and the self-awareness to think it possible they may be mistaken. Yet as teachers, we may find ourselves tacitly expected to occupy just such a position of authority as information literacy purports to question. Unlike the questing learner, teachers are often perceived as possessing mastery of knowledge and practice; as being fluent in the performance of ‘academicness’; as having the answer.

As library workers we may find the teaching identity an uncomfortable persona to inhabit. Libraries themselves, with their mission to make knowledge accessible through stable description and definition, may compound this anxiety, as we encounter learners working with messy, emerging, contingent knowledge that refuses to be fixed and rendered static. What if our search for answers only yields more questions? Are we still teachers if we can’t find a solution? And what should we do if, in embracing the transformative potential of both teaching and learning, we find ourselves embodying values that are perceived to be in conflict with the culture of our workplace?

This talk will ask what it looks like to be a ‘good teacher’, and whether this remains stable across different contexts, institutions and times. Contrary to perceived wisdom about what constitutes ‘professionalism’, it will suggest that being open to error, failure, and ongoing revaluation of our own position are key to ensuring we remain fully present and authentic in our interactions with others. It will argue that what we owe to our learners is what we owe to our selves: a compassionate recognition of personhood, development, and growth.

Emily Drabinski


Emily Drabinski is Critical Pedagogy Librarian at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

She has published and presented widely on topics related to critical information literacy, queer theory and knowledge organization, and the importance of organized labor and collective struggle.

Drabinski edits Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, a book series from Library Juice Press/Litwin Books.


Critical Information Literacy and the Paradox of Power

Libraries are about power: we select and acquire, catalog and classify, circulate and preserve, determining along the way what is worth accumulating, sharing, and keeping forever, and what is not. Libraries are also about knowledge: consuming it and creating it. As information literacy librarians, we practice at the hyphen that connects these two, making systems legible for our students while teaching the skills necessary to challenge them. Critical librarians take this task as essential to our practice, seeing social transformation and justice as the heart of our work. Is such a focus appropriate in the supposedly neutral terrain of the library and the classroom and, if so, what strategies and techniques can get us there?

Elizabeth Charles


Elizabeth has worked in the higher education sector and in Library and information for more than 20 years. Her areas of interest are digital learning, digital/information literacy and widening participation; where these are employed in her current post as Assistant Director of Library Services (E-Services, Systems and Collections) at Birkbeck, University of London. She has been involved with the Association for Learning Technology since 2013 and became a Trustee in 2017.

Elizabeth is actively involved in TEL developments in her institution, working with academics and the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange consortium. One of her current areas of interest is working with an academic research centre on the 'Decolonising the Curriculum' at Birkbeck, alongside undertaking a proof of concept project in the Library and has recently had published an article on “Decolonizing the curriculum” as well as co-organising a one-day event “Decolonising the curriculum – the Library’s role” at Goldsmiths University, 29 November 2019.


Elizabeth's talk will be on decolonising the curriculum and how this affords information specialists the chance to critically evaluate their work practice in libraries and the opportunities and challenges this poses. From finding ways to highlight the absence of othered voices and narratives to navigating the power dynamics inherent in academia and forming partnerships, collaborations and ally. These activities enable the information specialist to ensure information literacy sessions are inclusive and diverse and as well as meeting the learning objectives of a session, models how ‘knowledge’ is arrived at and built on as an iterative process and the skills needed to process information and make new connections.

Present @ LILAC

LILAC is great opportunity for our fellow professionals to present their ideas, share best practice and show case new thinking in our sector. If you have an idea then we'd love to hear about it. We have many options for the types of sessions you might run from a symposium to a workshop. Visit our Call for presentations page to find out how to apply.

Book your place

Places at this year's conference are likely to be in demand more than ever before. Each year our conference grows increasingly popular and this year promises to be no different. Don't miss out and book your place now for this year's conference.
We look forward to seeing you there!

LILAC on Twitter

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The #LILAC22 archive is available! The archive contains our Keynote's pre-recorded sessions, plus speaker presentat…

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@LibrarygirlN Hi Naomi, we've asked presenters to send their final versions to us, as some had made amends before t…

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Manchester Metropolitan University, 7-9 April 2021

Manchester Metropolitan University, 7-9 April 2021