Leeds Beckett University, 25-27 March 2024

  • 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.

Panel discussing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Information Literacy

Erin Nephin (Chair) - Library Academic Support Team Manager, Leeds Beckett

Erin Nephin

Erin Nephin (pronounced “knee-fin”) currently works as a Library Academic Support Team Manager at Leeds Beckett University. As a result of her role supporting academic integrity, she has been heavily involved in the development of student guidance around the responsible and ethical use of generative artificial intelligence tools across the university.

She is particularly interested in how current discussions around the use of artificial intelligence in learning might be harnessed to strengthen information and digital literacy skills for all members of an institution and provide opportunities for wider collaboration, including those who may not be directly involved in teaching.

Sam Thomas - Knowledge and Library Services Manager at University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Sam ThomasSam Thomas is the Knowledge and Library Services Manager at University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust. He has previously worked for the UK Health Security Agency and Bournemouth University. Sam has a clinical healthcare background, having trained and worked as an Orthoptist in the NHS prior to moving into a career in librarianship in 2017.

His professional interests include the exploration and implementation of AI and associated technologies in the health libraries sector. He is a committee member of the IFLA Artificial Intelligence Special Interest Group. 

Josh Rodda - Learning Development Librarian at the University of Nottingham/ILG New Professionals Sub-committee

Josh RoddaJosh Rodda is a Learning Development Librarian at the University of Nottingham. Having spent 10 years as an early career historian, he turned to academic librarianship during the pandemic, and he is now a member of the ILG New Professionals Sub-committee and one of the hosts of the Chatting Info Lit podcast.

Josh co-created Nottingham's student-facing guide to AI in Higher Education, and he has since designed and led sessions on AI for postgraduate Arts and PGCHE students.

Masud Khokhar - University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds

Masud KhokharMasud is the University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds. A computer scientist by education, and with libraries in his DNA, Masud is passionate about digital leadership and innovation in the changing library and archive environments.

His core interests include strategic development, digital transformation, open research, and inclusive leadership. Masud is also Chair of Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and a firm supporter of diversity embedded in our thinking and practice within libraries and collections.

Martin Wheatley - Deputy Head of Digital Innovation + ilearn, Leeds City College

Martin WheatleyMartin is a passionate educator with nearly 20 years of experience in Further Education. His career has taken him from a Subject Librarian to Deputy Head for Digital Innovation and Independent Learning. Across these roles Martin has delivered Information Literacy support whilst also experiencing and overseeing significant digital transformation within his team and organisation.

Martin is particularly interested in the impact and opportunities presented by AI. His current role is focused on investigating, implementing and supporting the application of AI within Luminate Education Group. Currently, he is collaborating on the development of various pilot programmes that support the AI initiatives within Luminate Education Group, aiming for beneficial integration across the organization.

Abstract - Artificial intelligence and Information Literacy: Seismic Shift or Passing Fad

Since the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022, it feels like artificial intelligence (particularly, generative artificial intelligence) finds its way into every discussion. With the speed that these technologies are developing, how do we ensure that our communities are equipped with the information literacy skills to understand and harness the opportunities that these tools offer?
In this keynote, colleagues in a variety of roles will discuss how the sudden swell in interest around artificial intelligence is providing opportunities and challenges for teaching, learning, and research. With a focus on information literacy, panellists will consider what the future might look like alongside these emerging technologies. Will these technologies change the landscape permanently or are they only another internet fad?


Maha Bali

Maha BaliBiography

Maha Bali is Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Sheffield, UK. She is co-founder of virtuallyconnecting.org (a grassroots movement that challenges academic gatekeeping at conferences) and co-facilitator of Equity Unbound (an equity-focused, open, connected intercultural learning curriculum, which has also branched into academic community activities Continuity with Care, Socially Just Academia, a collaboration with OneHE: Community-building Resources and MYFest, an innovative 3-month professional learning journey). She writes and speaks frequently about social justice, critical pedagogy, and open and online education. She blogs regularly at http://blog.mahabali.me and tweets @bali_maha.

Abstract - Teaching Critical AI Literacy

In this interactive session, participants will explore ways of teaching various dimensions of Critical AI Literacy in a fast-changing landscape. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on appropriate metaphors that help educators and learners better understand discuss AI, and experience some activities on how metaphors may be used in the classroom to help develop critical AI literacy. We will suggest a compassionate approach to discussing AI with students. We will also explore various activities to help learners understand how AI works, uncover the  inequalities within AI development and use, and support learners in  distinguishing why, when, where and how AI may be useful versus  detrimental to them. Participants will be encouraged to benefit from and share existing resources on teaching with and about AI.


Andy Walsh

Andy WalshBiography

Andrew is a Neurodivergent National Teaching Fellow, librarian, and trainer. He is currently Development Manager for Academic Libraries North, in addition to running freelance workshops and training on topics such as teaching, leadership, and neurodiversity, normally with a focus on playfulness or play. He’s written and edited many things on information literacy, play, teaching, leadership, neurodiversity and fairy tales including books and journal articles; together with setting up and running the diamond open access Journal of Play in Adulthood. Amongst other awards, he was winner of LILAC’s own IL award in 2012! Currently trying to help build supportive networks for neurodiverse library workers alongside editing a book of their experiences. He can be found occasionally blogging, but mainly on Bluesky (as Playbrarian) or Mastodon.

Abstract - Playful and compassionate approaches for inclusive Information Literacy instruction

Playful approaches to teaching, especially for one-shot teaching of information literacy sessions, are often thought of being primarily about fun, engagement, and making a session more memorable. There are however, often other, deeper layers behind playful approaches to teaching IL and these approaches can also be about compassion, or love. The point of Information Literacy instruction in Higher Education itself can be seen in different ways, perhaps along a spectrum including “do what the lecturer asked” (obeying authority), and “supporting students to meet their information needs in the best way for them” (contextual support given with love). Some of us may tend more towards one end of that spectrum than the other, especially people like myself who both embrace the shifting power dynamic inherent in playful approaches, and have a typical neurodivergent, especially autistic, tendency to resist blindly bowing to authority figures. This talk will outline one neurodivergent librarian’s view of playful learning, compassionate pedagogies, and how these link to information literacy instruction.

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!

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Leeds Beckett University, 25-27 March 2024

Leeds Beckett University, 25-27 March 2024