Posts Tagged ‘marginalised communities’

I’m pleased to report that this Friday, March 19th I’ll be speaking at my first academic conference.  Myself, along with 15 colleagues, will present on a vastly divergent set of topics concerning the state librarianship, archives and information access.

I’m particularly pleased to be presenting on one of my pet topics, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.  For the uninitiated, the Zapatista are a Marxist (and largely Indigenous Mayan) revolutionary group from the impoverished state of Chiapas, Mexico.  For decades Chiapans have lived in abject poverty while the Mexican government extracted vast amounts of wealth from their traditional lands.  In 1994, lead by the Che Guevara-like Subcommandante Marcos, the group launched a revolution against the Mexican government.

Their revolution was significant in one very special way.  Decrying the often brutal and injurious tactics of their guerilla predecessors, the Zapatista opted for a policy of non-violence.  Gone were the violent hallmarks of traditional Marxist revolutionaries.   Instead, the Zapatista’s weapon of choice became the then fledgling Internet.  They used the Internet to bypass traditional media gatekeepers and create a trans-national solidarity network of human rights groups.  The media spectacle they created forced the Mexican government to negotiate with Zapatista communities over land rights and Indigenous political autonomy.

The quick communication facilities of the Internet allowed the group to speak directly with other like-minded organizations.  It also allowed them to agitate in the mainstream media to realise their political goals.  For perhaps the first time in history, violence had become obsolete when combatting oppressive governments.

As much as I’d love to be the centre of attention, there are plenty of other compelling speakers with whom I share the stage.  Here are some of the highlights (apologies in advance to anyone I’ve missed!).

Rebecka Sheffield:There’s a Gay Archives?”: Outreach and Advocacy at the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Archives.

  • My understanding from Rebecka is that this will be something of a show & tell session, featuring the history and mission of a one of a kind archived collection.

Erin Anderson & Jennifer Andreae: Re-conceptualizing Access: The New Role of Information Literacy in Post-secondary Education.

  • Erin and Jennifer have created their own original model of info access.  Information literacy plays a key role in realising the full potential of and engagement with academic resources.

Marta Chudolinska: Information Access to Zine Libraries and Archives.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as zine-obsessed as my friend Marta.  My attempts to introduce her to graphic novels she hasn’t already read have consistently met with failure.  Anyone with an interest in zines/comics/graphic novels really ought to check this one out.

Some of the other presentations to keep an eye on include Brad Koegler speaking about the linguistic digital divide, Ryan Nelson examines public domain and Judith Cooperman shares her experiences in a small Canadian press.

The conference will also feature the keynote address of Dr. Joseph Janes.  Janes is a professor at University of Washington and one of the most sought after speakers in the Information Studies world.

Here’s the official invite from the organizers:

“You are invited to the 2nd Annual University of Toronto iSchool Student Conference, Information Access: Commons, Control, Controversy (IA3C), to be held at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, on March 19th and 20th, 2010. The conference will feature 16 student presentations on diverse topics, a keynote address by Dr. Joseph Janes of the University of Washington, a cross discipline round table discussion moderated by Dr. Wendy Duff, and a wine and cheese event. This conference is entirely student organized, and organizers hope it will be a wonderful opportunity to bring students and professionals together. The schedule for the conference is available at:, or you can keep up on conference news on our facebook group.”

IA3C Conference Details
When: Friday March 19th, 2010 and Saturday March 20th, 2010
Where: 7th Floor, Bissell Building, 140 St. George Street, Toronto.
Cost: Free for current iSchool students, $5 for students from outside the iSchool, $10 for faculty and professionals.

*Poster design by Patricia Ayala