Conference Theme 2022 Announced - Redefining Engagement

Dr Gaz J Johnson

It is time once again to reveal the theme for this September’s Collaboration conference – are you ready…to engage?

Each year the Mercian Collaboration’s annual conference has centred around a topical and general theme, attracting speakers and delegates from across the region to share their experiences and insights. After last year’s highly-successful event – Adaption and Growth in Times of Adversity – we asked delegates and the membership at large for their thoughts on what themes future conferences should embrace. Dozens of you took the opportunity to offer your feedback, and as a result the Conference Planning Committee has had much to discuss in recent months.

One thing was clear though - ‘No more Covid themes’ – was a recurrent feedback comment and, given the proliferation of library conferences on and around this topic, we can quite understand!

Those of you who have diligently been reading the committee’s minutes will have an idea of the direction we’ve been moving towards for some time. However, following this week’s conference planning meeting we are delighted to finally formally announce this year’s theme.

> Redefining Engagement – The Mercian Collaboration Conference 2022 <

The last few years have seen radical shifts in the way library staff have interacted, serviced and met with our user communities. While technology and the changes in on-campus activities may have helped in facilitating and meeting their needs – the big question of how well we have truly engaged with every member of our communities is a big one. Have we as academic libraries reached a point where we need to redefine what we mean, seek to achieve and really want in terms of patron community engagement?

Hence, for conference 2022 we want to hear from YOU about the new ways your library, service, section or speciality has moved beyond participation to authentically engage or re-engage your user communities! Additionally, moving into a future hybridised-learning environment, we are keen to hear insights into what platform, process, staffing or attitudes might need to change to meet this goal. Moreover, for this conference we want to hear about what’s worked well, what’s not been successful along with what you are planning to do…next!

No matter the scale, no matter the size, no matter the success: this year the Collaboration wants you to come and share your experiences in how you are - redefining engagement!

Call for Speakers - Coming in April!

As in previous years, we will be opening up a call for speakers open to staff throughout the Mercian Collaboration region – coming this April! We will also be expanding on our theme by providing a range of suggested sub-topics, areas of interest and pointers each relating to our core redefining engagement topic, to help potential speakers find a way to match their experiences to our theme.

Speaker Briefings - Coming in May

Plus, for the first time ever we plan to host some briefing online workshops (coming in May), especially aimed at helping first time, inexperienced or less-confident potential speakers draft their proposals. Each hour long briefing will offer the opportunity to hear more about what makes a great talk and how it might be easier than you thought to become one of our speakers. Watch out for more on these in the near future!

Further Information

In the meantime, for more information on Collaboration Conference 2022, contact group chair Deborah Munro ( or Executive Officer Gareth J Johnson (