Record Year for Conference Speaker Submissions

Gareth J Johnson

Conference 2021 programme takes begins to take shape after record-breaking year for speaker submissions.

The Conference Group committee are delighted to announce this year saw a record number of speaker submissions for the 2021 event, following their earlier call for proposals. As a result, following a meeting earlier this week, the Group members have agreed an outline for this year’s Adaption and Growth in Times of Adversity themed conference programme. Conference Group Chair, Damian Pugh (Nottingham) noted that the standard of submissions was especially high this year and comprised a varied and exciting range of potential presentation topics. He also expressed his gratitude to everyone who had taken the time and effort to create a submission in support of this key Collaboration event.

Committee members will be in touch with all those who submitted proposals in the next few weeks to confirm the decisions, along with confirming with those selected to speak that they are still willing and able to do so. Additionally, the Collaboration will be releasing more information on the outline programme, speakers and keynote selected for the event during July. More importantly, they will be launching the booking facility to enable staff to reserve their space at the conference.

Reasons to Be Cheerful – Still Wanted!

Part of this year’s call included a request for brief, 3-5 minute pre-recorded Reasons to be Cheerful, focussing on people’s life experiences in and beyond the academic library environment. While a number of exciting, engaging and interesting ones have been received as part of the call for speakers, the Conference Group is keen to include even more of these brief inserts.

Ideally, these should take the form of a brief video, discussing how the past year has personally impacted on you, and what unexpected benefits have emerged from the experience. These recordings will be interspersed throughout the conference alongside the main panels and speakers, to provide a richer experience for attending delegates.

For more details, or to volunteer to record a Reasons to be Cheerful , contact Laura Newman ( or Ruth Houghton ( by Friday 6th August.

Further Information

The Mercian Collaboration conference, normally held over one day every September, will this year be hosted online over two half-day events (Thu/Fri 9-10th September). As in previous years, attendance to the event is free to staff working at Mercian Collaboration member institutions, with the online format allowing for more delegates than ever from member institutions.

This year, delegate spaces will also be made available to academic library staff working outside of the UK Midlands region too. Details of how to reserve your place at this conference will be available over the summer. In the meantime, those interested in attending are advised to bookmark and check updates to the Conference microsite, follow the Collaboration on twitter (@MercianCollab) or contact any member of the Conference Group committee.

For general information or questions on the Collaboration, contact the Officer, Gareth J Johnson (