Bradford Literature Festival

Filed Under (Events, General) by ronan on 11-09-2014

Bradford Literature Festival 2014: the wonderful world of words

Date: 26th – 28th September

Bradford College is a proud sponsor of Bradford Literature Festival, celebrating the written and spoken word and showcasing the intimate relationship between words and art forms such as film, theatre and music, set against the city’s distinctive backdrop. With over 25 events featuring 60 speakers, artists and authors, Bradford is the place to be during the weekend of 26th to 28th September. To see events and to book please visit the website below. Some events to be held in the David Hockney Building at Bradford College.

Heutagogy Conference 2014 – London June 6th

Filed Under (Events, General, OpenSource) by ronan on 13-05-2014

Been busy organising this event…


  2014 Heutagogy Conference

Linking Heutagogy with Learning for the 21st century

A One Day event to be held on 6th June 2014
VENUE confirmed In London, WC1N 3QS, UK at the London Knowledge Lab (LKL)

9:00 Welcome & Introduction to the day: presenting the context of
Heutagogy (Fred Garnett/ Ronan O’Beirne organisers)

Morning theme; How helpful is the theory of heutagogy?

9:30 Keynote; Stewart Hase “Heutagogy; contributing to an educational revolution?” Followed by plenary discussion to identify HnS workshop themes. (30mins & 15mins plenary)

10:15 Hope ‘n’ Space workshop: to provide a question or an answer for
the discussion e.g. “A heutagogy toolbox for the 21st Century learning”
(tea and coffee free flowing) (group chairs to be identified in discussion)

11:30 Feedback from workshops – curated by Fred Garnett (&CC after)

12:00 Pecha Kucha – randomly chosen (6min 40s each maximum) all
audio recorded (all attendees invited to present a PK).

13:00 Lunch

Afternoon theme; How helpful is the practice of heutagogy?

14:00 Show and Tell of Practical Heutagogy: Heutagogy projects on display. Convivial Camera, Raspberry Pi/Wyliodrin, Soundwalk, WikiQuals, Digital/Analogue integration, Learning Planet, iPad Art, Open Sqolars, Silicon Skills, Hub Westminster, Transition Councils, Recipe Walks, Social Reporting, OpenRSA, Open Institutes…

16:00 Show and Tell plenary. What is Practical Heutagogy?

16:15 Heutagogy-­enabled policy for the 21st Century; Nigel Ecclesfield

16.30 Plenary 21st Century Education; what’s missing from this picture?

BOOKINGS will open soon – watch this space 
for more information please contact
Key People:
Monika Barton – Prague (organizer of last years – 2013 conference)
Lisa Marie Blaschke – Stuttgart (key speaker at 2013 conference)
Bernard Bull – Wisconsin US (enthusiast keen to help organize 2014 conference)
Fred Garnett – London (enthusiast keen to be involved in 2014 conference)
Stewart Hase – Sydney (organizer and be involved in 2014 conference)
Ronan O’Beirne – Bradford (organizer and be involved in 2014 conference)


SEE ALSO The Heutagogic Archives


Now this is what I call an ambitious printmaking project

Filed Under (General, Printing, Technology Reviews) by ronan on 10-05-2014



View this interesting video of a linocut printmaking process that is undertaken by artist – Creative Fellow Angela Cavalieri ( The process from design through to final hanging is fascinating for its ambition.


Angela Cavalieri: large scale linocut printmaking process











Mapping Information Landscapes – a first step

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments, Events) by ronan on 04-04-2014

Manchester March 2014Spent a great couple of days at Manchester University last week working on Mapping Information Landscapes with colleagues Fred Garnett and Drew Whitworth. The aim was to secure some funding to develop a rationale and methodology that would help gain a deep understanding of urban “cityscapes” from the information patterns they present. We looked at the issues from a range of different perspectives; scientific, philosophical, technological, geographical, knowledge management, information science.

So what is my interest in this? Well, I’m not so sure about the mapping aspect; that is,  I don’t know how it might be done, although I’m sure there is technology that can help. The information landscapes certainly engage me, and the terms communities, resources and learning in this context are all difficult to define and shape into something that has wide appeal; herein lies the problem for the academic. Yet in all communities, information forms the basis of learning and the associated resources can be in demand; in addition, the skills required to engage with resources can be in demand. This landscape can be monetised and institutionalised or it can  evolve more openly (my preference). Perspectives can be from the ‘information’ point of view, i.e. watching information flow(s) through communities. Equally, a perspective from the individual might provide a sociological lens, or a ‘learning’ (theory) perspective may be used to understand knowledge creation. An economic view, in this era of neo-liberalism, would perhaps seek to monetise the landscape and identify a commercial angle. Cultural and heritage angles are also important.  I’m interested in all these views (and others) of the information landscape.

I was impressed with the range of people – some of whom are in the photo – from Norway, Russia (5 delegates), Brazil, Pakistan and the UK. Fred has promised to curate the conversation that has come out of the event, and this will shed more light on the issues and, more importantly, the progress we may have made. Fred’s presentation slides can be found here


New Technologies and Ethics in educational research

Filed Under (Events, General, Research) by ronan on 04-04-2014

Professor Luciano Floridi at the BERA seminar March 2014

Prof. Luciano Floridi at the BERA seminar 13/03/2014



I attended a recent BERA (British Educational Research Association) event which looked in the main at new technologies and ethics. The outline for the day noted: “For those who engage in research in learning technology there are codes and guidelines for best practice in research ethics from professional bodies such as the British Educational Research Association and the American Educational Research Association.  These cover the researchers’ responsibilities to the participants in their research, to their sponsors and the wider community and to those who publish and disseminate their work.”

The keynote presentation – and it really was keynote – was from Professor Luciano Floridi Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, and Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford.  Floridi’s books include: The Fourth Revolution – How the infosphere is reshaping human reality (OUP, 2014), The Ethics of Information (OUP, 2013), The Philosophy of Information (OUP, 2011), The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics (editor, CUP, 2010), which I recall reviewing some time ago and Information: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2010). I was interested to hear Prof. Floridi explain the challenges associated with data protection as an ethical issue and particularly pleased to get his view on the emerging challenges around big data in the education context.
One of the areas for discussion was the identity of groups (of people) and how we might treat such groups in relation to how the individual is treated vis-a-vis privacy laws and information disclosure. The problem is that groups are transient in nature, may come together for a brief period of time or may have a long history. Also groups can be self-selecting or one may find oneself included in a group against one’s will.  Of course technology enables data to be manipulated in many ways and can be seen both as empowering the individual and as a threat, this compounds significantly the ethical challenges.

The abstract of Prof. Floridi’s talk is outlined below.

In education research, the analysis of large datasets (Big Data) has become a major driver of innovation and success. However, the use of Educational Big Data (EBD) raises serious ethical problems, which may threaten the significant opportunities it offers. The risk is that of a double bottleneck: ethical mistakes or misunderstandings may lead to distorted legislation, which may cripple the usability of Big Data in educational research and practice. In this talk, I clarify what the nature of Big Data is and how it leads to a group of ethical problems that are either unprecedented, or at least utterly renewed. In the end, I shall argue that we should invest in the development of a national framework for the ethical use of EBD.”


All change in the copyright world

Filed Under (Events, General) by ronan on 04-04-2014

kewgardensI attended the Executive Briefing by CILIP on the imminent changes to UK copyright legislation and licensing, on Tuesday at the Hallam Conference Centre in London. This was an update for librarians and information professionals and the turnout was impressive – about 200 candidates eager to hear about the new copyright exceptions.  Apart from what has now become the accepted rather superficial introduction from the politician, in this case, Viscount Younger of Leckie Under Secretary of State for Intellectual Property, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, all of the speakers had a great deal to contribute. So too did the audience. I was particularly impressed with the Chair Naomi Korn’s facilitation of the event, her knowledge of the subject matter and clear communication style ensured the event moved along at a steady pace.

While I was initially tempted to take notes on all the various aspects of the very recently published statutory instruments it soon became apparent that such tactics were futile. Rather I shall wait until the dust settles a little and then make use of the various resource to which our speakers directed us. Moreover  the issues will be discussed in greater detail in the coming months as the politicians shape up to pass the legislation.

Some of the presentations form the event are available here .

The Live event blog

The CILIP Copyright pages are available here

The CILIP Press release can be found here



Yearning for the vast and endless sea – SWITCH2013

Filed Under (Events, Information Literacy, Professional practice) by ronan on 29-11-2013

On Tuesday November 26th, I presented to the SWITCH 2013 “Creating Libraries for Communities” conference at the Australian Technology Park. My invitation was based on my successful book From Lending to Learning – the development and extension of public libraries – see here.
The theme of my presentation was the strategy needed by public libraries to shift from lending books to supporting learning. I looked first at the current state of public libraries in the UK and gave a forthright explanation of the savage cuts program taking place and the increased reliance on volunteer workers; then I looked at the opportunities for public libraries to support learning; in the final part I talked about the opportunities and challenges offered by digital citizenship, information literacy and social media.

The reaction by the Australian audience to the closure of libraries in the UK was a mixture of disbelief and anger. Why they asked is the UK doing this? How can they be allowed to get away with this? Six hundred libraries closed is a significant amount – it undermines the infrastructure and sends out a negative message. The UK and Australia have issues with their national levels of literacy – Australia’s policy is enlightened whereas the UK’s is going backwards. The result – the UK will lose out in the Global Auction and fail to come out of recession. But that’s just the economic fallout – more importantly the social impact of denying a society its right to a library service will quite possibly lead to social unrest.

On a personal note, my presentation to an audience of around 350 librarians was indeed challenging. The use of a live twitter feed displayed alongside my slides gave the audience a voice as I presented. However for me it was rather distracting – being one of those people who cannot stop reading once started. Reaction was positive and much of the discussions I had following this were really interesting and useful.

SWITCH is the New South Wales Public Libraries Association annual conference –

I should like to thank my hosts the SWITCH conference organisers for inviting me to speak and for their support during my visit.

Mick Manning and Brita Granström exhibition opens at Bradford College

Filed Under (Events, General, Printing, Research) by ronan on 20-09-2013

manning_invite_f1I am pleased to be opening the first exhibition of the academic year, in the Bradford Gallery at the Yorkshire Craft Centre. Featuring the work of Mick Manning and Brita Granström.

Multi-award winning children’s author and illustrator Mick Manning began his career at Bradford College’s School of Art in 1978. Over the last twenty years he, and his partner, Brita Granström, have written and illustrated over seventy children’s books. In 2012 Bradford College nominated Mick for a AoC Gold Award and as a result he was honoured on the AoC Roll of Honour. Last year Mick and Brita were jointly shortlisted for the ALMA – the largest children’s book award in the  world.

This unique exhibition, the first time Mick’s work has returned to be exhibited in his native West Yorkshire, will not only display the original book illustrations from Mick and Brita’s highly acclaimed books: Charles Dickens: Scenes from an extraordinary life, Taff in the WAAF and Tail-End Charlie but will also feature canvases, paintings and prints, many  available for sale. Brita Granström was educated in Sweden and is an exhibiting and collectable fine artist in her own right.

The exhibition runs from 30th September until 11th October 2013. The Gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 10.30am until 4pm.

Please come along, on Thursday 3rd October from 5-7pm  I look forward to seeing you there.


Preparing for the SWITCH Conference – Sydney November 24th – 26th 2013

Filed Under (Events, General, Professional practice) by ronan on 01-09-2013


Switch 2013 logo

I am busy preparing my keynote presentation for the SWITCH conference.   Looks like an excellent venue with an exciting programme and of course it will be great to return to Sydney. The abstract for what I will talk about currently reads as:

Yearning for the vast and endless sea – thoughts on the future of public libraries.
With the upheaval in formal education brought about by informal open learning systems what opportunity does this provide for the community-based public library to fulfil its role in supporting learning? How might notions of digital citizenship and information literacy be realised by public library strategy? Through the advent of social media how might the public library go beyond its walls and engage more proactively with its users? Such initiatives present exciting challenges for the library of the future, but what are the implications of a proactive and innovative approach for library workers?

Should be good fun developing these threads for discussion.

Research in the early years – a step-by-step guide.

Filed Under (General, Information Literacy, Professional practice, Research) by ronan on 19-01-2013

“Research in the early years – a step-by-step guide / Pam Jarvis…[et al.] (2012) contains a chapter I co-authored with Pam Jarvis entitled “Reading for research: efficient use of your access to an academic library”. It was a fairly tricky challenge for me as I am less well experienced at writing for a narrow audience particularly at undergraduate level. It seems to be fine. The other obvious challenge was ensuring sources were up-to-date generally I steered clear of specifics but came down fairly stongly on suggesting a diverse range of finding aids. I also did a little rant about the importance of understanding precision and recall – and of course tackled social media. This is how the publishers describe the book:
This new text is the only resource out there to address the needs of today’s early years students/trainees and support them through every stage of the early years research process.  Research in the Early Years contains case study material in the form of four fictional students’ experiences, which run through the book. Readers follow these example students through their dissertation module as they address common problems, issues and pitfalls. Clear explanations and a step-by-step approach are balanced with sufficient depth and rigour to challenge those on undergraduate courses or following graduate programmes such as EYPS.