Download the Program Schedule as a PDF.
September 13, 2017
8:00am – 8:30am Breakfast
8:30am – 9:00am Opening Remarks
The term diversity is familiar to the library and information field but the critical engagement of diversity in teaching, research and practice is still evolving. Diversity needs to be engaged not only in local context by understanding, responding and reflecting the needs of its user community but in a global context where migration, communication and other forms of exchange shape and inform our development as global citizens, consciously or unconsciously. In the 21st Century our identities are complex, situated beyond the local, regional or national to the transnational, diasporic, international or global. This presentation will examine the concept of diversity and inclusion, identity and representation within the lens of privilege and bias. Diversity within the library and information field is examined within systems/notions of power that determine whose voices are represented, who has access to opportunities, and whose cultures are sustained. (Moderator: Keren Dali, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary).
Keywords: Communities; culture; global context; identities; inclusion; local context; power.
10:00am – 12:30pm Concurrent Sessions
10:00am – 11:15pm Track 2
“Considering Cultural Competence: Reframing our LIS Practice and Research”
[workshop] (Room B)
This session for engagement will lead participants through the cultural competence workshop that Nicole Cooke uses at the School of Information Sciences with students, within the field as a guest speaker at libraries and at other graduate library and information science programs, and as a presenter for professional organizations. Participants will explore topics and definitions related to diversity and social justice, view corresponding media examples, and complete exercises designed to elicit critical self-reflection. This will be followed by a larger group discussion about the importance of incorporating diversity and social justice into the formal and informal educational agendas for information professionals, and into their professional practices. This session will focus on the local presentation (a United States perspective) of global issues, and stress the importance of the continuous improvement and diversification of the LIS curricula in an attempt to prepare the most compassionate and effective information professionals possible. (Moderator: Keren Dali, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary).
Keywords: Curriculum; diversity; LIS education; pedagogy; social justice.
Track 2: 10:00am – 12:30pm
Jamila Ghaddar, David James Hudson, Danielle Allard, and Amber Sandy
“Countering Canada 150: A Conversation on Race, Colonialism, and the Nation”
[panel] (Room G)
As Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding, it is confronted with unique challenges around the meaning of Canadian identity, of confederation, and of the settler colonialism and racism at the core of its history. Against this backdrop, our panel stages a conversation on the role of information institutions and professionals in shaping national identity and history. Through a moderated discussion organized around a series of questions, we will interrogate the dominant approaches to diversity and inclusion in library and information studies, and their ability to provide robust approaches to decolonization and the dismantling of structures of racial oppression. How, for example, might librarians and archivists take up the TRC’s Calls to Action, including the call for reconciliatory approaches to the 150th anniversary of confederation? What (if any) changes to entrenched professional values, mythologies, and institutional formations are required to undertake such work meaningfully? And how might we move towards a more substantive framing of antiracist and decolonizing practice within our field? In collaboration with our audience, we seek to explore and advance an anti-oppressive politics that troubles celebratory state narratives such as Canada 150 and serves as a basis, more broadly, to move beyond narrow nationalist narratives and insufficient diversity frameworks. (Moderator: Rose L. Chou, American University Library).
Keywords: Archives; libraries; race; Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
Track 2: 11:30am – 12:30pm
“The Diversity of Mindfulness: Inclusion and Information through Wellness-infused Pedagogy, Resources, Spaces, Research, and Student Participation at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.”
[workshop] (Room G)
Within the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, mindfulness is being incorporated into the graduate education, the library’s resources and spaces, the students’ self-directed community engagement events, and a PhD student’s research. Mindfulness, moment-to-moment awareness, is an accessible and effective practice that is inclusive, as it is not dependent on physical ability, age, race, education level, religious affiliation, etc. An extension of the mindfulness ethos into the learning environment has the ability to reduce self-discrimination and inequitable judgment barriers. It is a practice that is useful in understanding one’s own being and bias and can be an instrument used to fostering a sense of community and relationships to others. Backed by evidence-based research, mindfulness practice has been proven to shape the human brain resulting in wellness through emotional regulation, decreased stress, increased immunity, and increased focus. While library and information science (LIS) has traditionally operated from an applied, problem-solving mindset, recent LIS research using informational phenomena has lead to profound insights on experience. Current research is being undertaken to see the juxtaposition between understandings of information and understandings of mindfulness. Through this interactive session, participants will be: *Immersed in a mindfulness resource area; *Taken on a mindful LIS classroom journey; *Exposed to mindfulness practices; *Privy to a student’s perspective of how mindful pedagogy and resource as impact their educational experience; *Encouraged to apply an alternative theoretical framing in LIS to understand how concepts information and mindfulness inform and influence each other. Questions, comments, suggestions, and ideas of participants will be dispersed throughout.
Keywords: Libraries; mindfulness; pedagogy; research; students.
12:30pm – 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm – 3:15pm Keynote
“‘Just Me and Allah’: Witnessing Queer Muslims’ Lived Experiences” (Room B)
Drawing examples from my photo-documentary project “Just me and Allah,” I will discuss the importance of the active, engaged learning of social issues. My body of work transcends academic walls to explore race, class, war, gender, and sexuality, foregoing theories and using the queer Muslim community’s lived experiences to unveil the attitudes towards different marginalized communities. It is through conversations with individuals in safe spaces that nuanced issues reveal themselves, which is not always possible in traditional classrooms. Social media has played a phenomenal role in making complicated identities accessible to those unfamiliar with the queer Muslim community. The project itself has a Tumblr presence, with thousands of international followers, and makes an effort to bring awareness to the issues of Islamophobia, xenophobia, a negative media portrayal of Muslims, homophobia, and transphobia. Social media has empowered young people to learn about queer Muslims in a way that emulates their online habits. (Moderator: Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Accessibility; inclusivity; Islam; public space; queer activism; religion; sexuality.
“Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Yet to Come” (Room B)
This presentation will address the challenges facing racialized artists and other marginalized groups. It will challenge the increasing marginalization of Blackness within arts policy and funding. These are difficult but crucial issues for policy makers to understand in order to appreciate the impact of Western hegemonic philosophies and practices on the arts and on the representation of diverse individuals. Such categories and terminology as ‘equity and disability arts’ and ‘culturally diverse arts’ are dangerous because they essentialize across vast terrains, including cultural practices and histories. Certainly, marginalized artists know these challenges and what is needed to engage in a transformative discourse around them. However, many of them have seemingly succumbed to the institutionally constructed and driven systems. It is here that we must question our responsibility to ourselves. How do we use available resources and build a foundation of the collective change, while creating an environment which honours every one and respects our uniqueness? (Moderator: Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Black artists; institutional constructs of diversity; marginalization and racialization; performing art.
3:15pm – 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30pm – 5:00pm Concurrent Sessions
“Measuring the Diversity of Voices: Ownership Diversity and the Canadian Broadcasting Landscape”
[paper] (Room G)
This research study investigates the extent to which the broadcasting landscape (television and radio) in Canada demonstrates ownership diversity (operationalized by the following demographic variables: age, gender and ethnicity of the license holder). Much has been written about the connection between ownership diversity in the communication sector, and media systems that are committed to facilitating a strong public sphere and a marketplace of ideas (for example: Napoli, 1999; Baker, 2006). The justification for this emphasis on a multitude of owners is premised on the hierarchical relationship between ownership diversity and other measures of diversity that eventually structure content, viewpoint and even audience exposure diversity (see: Napoli, 1999). Existing lists of broadcast licensees provided by the CRTC were used to recruit participants for a short interview. Preliminary results suggest that across Canada, the radio sector is dominated by white, male owners 50 years of age and older. When women hold ownership positions they are most likely operating at independent or campus/community radio stations. Within the television sector, it appears that higher percentages of visible minorities hold licenses, though the industry is still dominated by male owners 50 years of age and older. The intention will be to conduct ownership diversity assessments at the national, regional and city-level. In doing so, our hope is that results will speak to traditional ownership diversity concerns, as well as to newer questions about ownership concentration and functionally equivalent digital substitutes for broadcasting outlets. (Moderator: Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Broadcasting; communication policy; media ownership; ownership diversity; viewpoint diversity.
“Engaging Linguistically Diverse Populations”
[paper] (Room G)
In the Midwestern United States, there is a growing population of Latino/Hispanic people. This population increase is driven largely by increased employment opportunities in relatively low-skilled, low wage fields such as meat processing and packing and other agricultural fields. These openings tend to cluster around employers’ factories, which are often located in smaller towns. As a result, rural towns with relatively few resources are experiencing a growing number of non-English speaking people who are immigrants to the country and may not have experience with the practices and institutions of the United States, such as libraries, schools, hospitals, or social support services. The agencies that usually work with linguistically diverse immigrant populations are churches, schools, and university extension departments. Building off previous research, we interviewed five gatekeepers about their strategies for reaching and engaging with Latino immigrant populations. Our interviewees included two university extension personnel, one school social worker, one social service agency employee, and one church-based social worker. Drawing from these cases, we identify some opportunities that employees of libraries, archives, museums, or other cultural institutions can take advantage of to reach special populations and to communicate with linguistically isolated populations. (Moderator: Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Immigrants; library engagement; linguistic diversity; Spanish language.
Partners’ Engagement Roundtable: “Diversity at Work” (Room B)
Featuring Representatives from the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), and City of Toronto Archives
Come hear about diversity initiatives and strategies from some of our partner organizations. Audience engagement is encouraged. (Moderator: Ted Richmond, Ryerson University).
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
Hosted by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), this roundtable will focus on a selection of success stories and challenges when considering diverse audiences within a museum setting. The AGO has engaged diverse communities in the city through a variety of interpretive and visitor experience strategies. Join us as we share case studies that highlight our school programs, exhibition interpretation work, and Access to Art programs. This session is an invitation to participants to table personal responses, strategies and questions toward creating inclusive and diverse experiences for visitors.
Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF)
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) invests in community initiatives that build healthy and vibrant communities. To do this well, we must understand the diversity that exists in all our communities. This understanding allows us to build strategies and design solutions in true partnership with communities to achieve the greatest impact. Join OTF for a conversation about what we are doing and learning, and where we want to go in the future.
City of Toronto Archives
As part of the City Clerk’s Office, the City of Toronto Archives is a key part of the City’s information management system, by preserving and making available important historical records to the public. One of our goals is to reach out to new and diverse communities: helping them to showcase their materials, and making archives more accessible to non-traditional audiences. Our outreach activities have the potential to bring aspects of the documentary heritage of diverse communities to all residents of Toronto. Join the discussion as we share our strategies, challenges, and past successes in meeting this objective.
Moderator: Ted Richmond, Ryerson University
Ted has been an instructor with the Chang School at Ryerson University for fifteen years, teaching courses in the Certificate Program for Non-Profit Management (Understanding the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector and NGOs in Global Context). Until 2014 Ted worked as Special Projects Coordinator in the Voluntary Sector Relations Unit with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (previously Team Leader Research and Evaluation, Immigration Policy Branch). Ted’s prior professional experience includes leading the Social Inclusion Program at Laidlaw Foundation, coordinating the CERIS Toronto Metropolis immigration research centre for its first six years, and working for nine years as Research Coordinator at the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. During his time at Laidlaw Foundation, Ted co-edited the book ‘Social Inclusion: Canadian Perspectives’ (Fernwood Publishing). While working with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ted chaired the Diversity Committee of staff volunteers and received a Stirling Award in recognition of his contributions. Ted has a Master’s degree from OISE, University of Toronto with a specialisation in statistics and evaluation. Ted has published and presented extensively on such issues as: the service implications of changing ethnoracial demographics, relations between government and community service providers, and the dynamics of equity and social inclusion.
September 14, 2017
8:15am – 9:00am Breakfast
9:00am – 9:50am Keynote
“Designing for Diversity – Designing for Disability” (Room B)
Far too often, considerations of diversity are not inclusive of people with disabilities. In many organizations – including those of higher education – all other forms of diversity are under the administrative umbrella of diversity and inclusion, while issues of disability are segregated into a separate administrative area. Even the formalization of civil rights for disabled people under the law can create gaps between disabled persons and other diverse populations. These differences are often quite pronounced in the field of information studies, where long-standing design guidelines for accessibility are frequently ignored or misunderstood and students in information studies programs generally receive minimal instruction on these issues in their programs. This talk will argue that a key to changing this treatment of disability is a conscious and methodical change in the perception of disabled people. Rather than viewing disabled people as a fragmented series of ailments and losses – such as they are portrayed under laws and accessibility guidelines – they can be viewed as a community of people. The talk will explore the ways in which viewing disabled people collectively as a community with its own unique needs, strengths, and experiences could promote greater inclusion in many arenas, including designing for diversity in the practice, education, and research in the field of information studies. (Moderator: Keren Dali, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary).
Keywords: Accessibility and information studies; designing for diversity; disabled people as a community; disabilities; inclusion; LIS education.
9:50am – 10:30pm Concurrent Sessions
“The Right to Be Included: A Curious Case of an Oxymoron, Missing Legislation, and Academics with Disabilities”
[paper] (Room B)
The Canadians with Disabilities Act is still a work in progress. In the present, only two provinces – Ontario and Manitoba – have accessibility-related legislation, with several more provinces contemplating such legislation. In the absence of an all-encompassing Act, regulatory mechanisms for individuals with disabilities are left at the purview of “local authorities,” be it local governments or employers, such as public universities. Every large higher education institution in Canada these days is committed to the so-called duty to accommodate, i.e., the duty to account for the unique needs of academic staff with disabilities to the point of so-called undue hardship and based on so-called protected grounds (sex, ethnicity, race, family status, and disability, to name just a few). The implementation of local policies related to the duty accommodate varies from institution to institution, which accounts for the more or less successful and effective inclusion of academics with disabilities in university life. This talk dissects the mechanics of “what can go wrong with policy implementation” in academic settings in the absence of all-encompassing federal legislation and interrogates the internal fallacy of the very term “the duty to accommodate.” While the duty to accommodate is often brought up in discussions of academic staff with disabilities, it can become relevant to any university employee, albeit temporarily, in the face of injury and acute illness, family-related caretaking responsibilities, childbirth and adoption, coping with consequences of natural disasters and other life stressors. (Moderator: Keren Dali, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary).
Keywords: Academia; academic staff; Canadians with Disabilities Act; disabilities; discrimination; duty to accommodate; policy; protected grounds.
“Peace from the Lens of Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue in the City of Lubbock”
[paper] (Room G)
Religion has been a source of peace and comfort as well as a source of conflict and tension all over the world as can be seen in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Increased migration with improved information and communications infrastructures has brought people of all faith traditions together. This mosaic of peoples and faith traditions with poor knowledge and prejudice about other faith traditions is a recipe for disaster. Religious fanaticism has caused genocides and wars and so can Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue (IFD) be a panacea to religious unrest? A Narrative Inquiry methodology was used to study an interfaith dialogue community in Lubbock, Texas. Results show that ignorance of the history and philosophy of other faith traditions breeds fear and mistrust leading to the circling of the wagon phenomenon and ultimately violence typically flamed by social media. This study adds to the literature on religious diversity and tolerance and the need to break the cycle of violence in the name of God – through dialogue and educating faith/community/institutional leaders by cultivating relationships across politico-religious and ethno-social lines, while advocating inclusive excellence in all aspects of civic, politico-religious lives of all our citizens. (Moderator: Mariam Karim, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Ecumenism; faith traditions; interfaith dialogue, religious Diversity, religious fanaticism.
10:00am – 12:30pm Coffee Break
10:45am – 12:15pm Keynote
“Digital Library North: Access to Digital Cultural Heritage in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) in Canada’s North” (Room B)
This presentation will introduce a SSHRC-funded project titled Digital Library North that focuses on developing a digital library infrastructure for Northern communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Western Arctic. It will provide an overview of the current state of the project as well as the lessons learned, in particular, the importance of ongoing and sustained community engagement, partnership, and collaboration. The project builds on the close collaboration between academics and six Northern communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to identify and prioritize information needs as a foundation for the development of a cultural digital library. Among the main objectives of this project is the development of a community-driven and culturally appropriate metadata framework for the description and discovery of digital information. The overarching goal of this project is to foster knowledge transfer through community-driven scholarly research. (Moderator: Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Canadian Northern communities; community-driven research; cultural heritage digital library; digital information; Inuvialuit Settlement Region; sustained community engagement.
“All We Need Is Some Diverse Students? Thinking Differently about Inclusive Programs” (Room B)
Diversity discourse in LIS programs has been used as a means of marketing the discipline as a leader in the areas of inclusion and equality; students are reassured that they will be well equipped for interacting with diverse communities and professionals once they start practicing. Although there has been a push to increase the numbers of diverse students in LIS programs, it clashes with the reality whereby there is still a lack of courses or training options that would teach the foundations of inclusion and alternative epistemologies. This situation further reiterates the notion of Western knowledge as superior to all other ways of knowing. This talk will be focused on the narrative of an Indigenous LIS student, who is struggling to negotiate her way through a program that encourages the inclusion of diverse students but falls behind on providing them with sufficient support and guidance on diversity matters. (Moderator: Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Deficiencies of diversity courses; diversity discourse; Indigenous students; LIS education; traditional knowledge; Western knowledge.
12:15pm – 2:00pm Lunch & Poster Session (Rooms A, B, C)
“Paper Cuts & Cutting Paper: An Interactive Exploration of Microaggressions in Librarianship” (Room G)
Microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults toward individuals from marginalized communities. Because our personal identities can intersect in many different ways, we can experience microaggressions on varying levels. In libraries, this can occur among library employees or between library employees and patrons. This session will provide background information on microaggressions and their damaging effects, and the speakers will share a brief history of the community-based LIS Microaggressions (LISM) project. Following this, the speakers will facilitate an activity in which participants create personal mini-zines. Templates for the mini-zines will include prompts that encourage zine-makers to reflect on their experiences with microaggressions – as microaggressed, microaggressors, and witnesses. This activity is used to emphasize the everyday occurrence of microaggressions and the multiple roles which we all play. The “unconference” nature of this session lends itself to creating a safe, non-judgmental environment in which the presenter-audience hierarchy is diminished, allowing participants to actively influence the dialogue. The session will conclude with a brief group discussion, reflecting on the importance of inclusive community-building in fighting microaggressions in libraries. (Moderator: Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Librarianship; microaggressions; zines.
“Extending the Range of Information Behaviour Research: The Information Horizon Interview” (Room B)
Research into information behaviour has broadened in scope over the last decade, nevertheless, the vast majority of studies are concerned with students, academics, and professionals. Our workshop aims to increase the diversity of information behaviour research by introducing the information horizon interview. This data gathering technique entails a standard semi-structured interview followed by a graphical elicitation activity of drawing a “map” of one’s information resources. The 90-minute workshop will be interactive, fun, and include four components:
1) An introduction to information behaviour research and the information horizon interview;
2) Mad Lib* case studies of information horizon projects;
3) A step-by-step tutorial on the information horizon interview; and
4) Small group practice sessions. We believe that, once learned, this flexible and straightforward method can empower and enable researchers to explore the information behaviour of diverse populations that have never been studied before.
(*A Mad Lib is a phrasal template word game; at the workshop, graduate students from the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, will playfully report their information horizon-based studies in the Mad Lib style, giving the audience an entertaining review of exemplars in a structured and comparative manner.) (Moderator: Keren Dali, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary).
Keywords: Information behaviour; information horizon interview; qualitative methods; visual methods.
3:30pm – 3:45pm Coffee Break
3:45am – 4:35pm Keynote
“Humility, Discomfort & Awe: Developing Our Capacity for Engaging with Diversity” (Room B)
Critical challenges face Canadians, indeed the world, that are unlikely to be resolved in our lifetime. Climate change, colonization, and water insecurity are a few of the harsh realities facing future generations. Dr. Nathan illustrates how the values enacted through contemporary digital information systems can limit our ability to use these systems in ways that help us address such challenges. She lays the groundwork for a discussion of how longer-term, aspirational thinking can reshape how we design and interact with information systems. She demonstrates ways that the design of information systems can cultivate qualities of humility, discomfort and awe, increasing our capacity to engage with diversity. She provides examples how information systems can: 1) expand the potential of the human psyche; 2): enrich social fabrics; 3) envision beyond the human lifespan; and 4) disrupt institutionalized, infrastructural, and systemic inequalities. (Moderator: Jamila Ghaddar, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto).
Keywords: Decolonization; digital information systems; disruption; envisioning; humility; interactions with information systems; values.
4:35pm – 5:00pm Closing Remarks