Conference 2024: Call for Speakers

Mercian 2024: Collaboration, Evolution and Sustainability 

The Mercian Collaboration and Conference Planning Group are delighted to invite session proposals for the 2024 Conference, to be held in person on 11th September 2024.

2024 is the 10th anniversary of the Mercian Collaboration,a professional network formed from SCONUL higher education libraries in the East and West Midlands of England. This year’s conference themes are Collaboration, Evolution and Sustainability.

The conference will also celebrate the work and achievements of the Mercian Collaboration’s member institutions and special interest groups, reflecting on the changes and developments of the past ten years and looking forwards to the challenges ahead and how we can successfully evolve to navigate the next ten years and beyond.


Session Themes & Areas of Interest

We especially welcome submissions which could cover, but are not exclusive to, the following themes:

Collaboration Evolution Sustainability
Measuring community data and engagement. Digital accessibility within collections. Supporting open access research and promoting green open access for global equity.
Shared experience and staff networks. Using patterns of enquiry data to support users better Evolving approaches to collections and acquisitions.
Engagement strategies with the wider university community Innovation in systems, cataloguing and metadata. How to re-engage the disengaged and reaching out to non-users.
The importance of allyship within the profession Voices from the frontline, experiences of staff working on reception and help desks. Green initiatives.
Use of University and sector data to improve services Use of AI and teaching and research. Managing staff wellbeing.
Cross library, university and institutional collaboration and activities. Ensuring representation of the community in our staff, collections and reading lists. Upskilling staff.
Professional development & mentorship schemes. Intersectional, innovative, or inspirational approaches to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Supporting staff and students through change.


Eligibility: Who can Submit a Speaker Proposal?

Contributions are welcomed from colleagues working within any UK academic institutions, whether they are Collaboration members or not. We particularly encourage submissions from those who are looking to present for the first time, and we welcome submissions from all grades and library departments. Submissions are invited from individuals, as well as collaborative contributions.

Individuals from commercial organisations are directed towards our Call for Sponsors should they wish to be represented at this event.

What Types of Session Proposals can be Submitted?

Submissions can be focused on, but not limited to, the above topics. We also welcome submissions which may fall outside of these themes but will still be of relevance and interest to our delegates.

Contributions can take the form of talks, discussions, presentations, or interactive workshops in the following options:

  • 5 minute lightning talks
  • 15 minute short talks
  • 45 minutes presentations or workshops

Should you wish to submit a paper outside of these formats, please contact the Speaker Liaisons Michelle Mayer and Peter Doveston:

How to submit a session proposal 

Presentation proposals can be submitted to the Conference Group by completing this online Call For Speakers form. Please complete all sections of the form. The deadline for submission is Tuesday 14 May 2024.

If you require the submission form in an accessible or alternative format, please contact the Speaker Liaisons as above and an alternative format will be provided. All sessions will be recorded and shared, along with the speaker slides and other materials, on the conference microsite following the event.


Selection Criteria

All proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Group selected according to the following criteria. If we are unable to accept your submission for a talk you may be invited to submit a poster instead:

  • Clarity of proposal
  • Impact on delegates the wider library community
  • Levels of originality and innovation
  • Relevance to the call and event theme

Notification of Outcome

The outcome from all submitted proposals will be communicated by mid-July, with the formal reveal of the programme to follow in August. Due to the anticipated number of proposals, we regret individual feedback cannot normally be provided.

Speaker Briefing Events: Now Open for Booking

We are running online speaker briefing events to support you in submitting your proposal, scheduled for April and May 2024:

You can sign up to an event by completing this online Speaker Briefing event form. These events are open to anyone considering submitting a proposal, including advice for first-time presenters, support for presenting and public speaking, and guidance about what goes into submitting a great proposal.

Further Information & Support

For more information on the 2024 Conference, please contact the Group Chair Catherine Robertson ( or the Executive Officer.

For help or support in drafting your proposal, please contact the Speaker Liaisons as above, or any other member of the conference team.


We also have a Call for Posters


Photo credit: De Montfort University