Reflection from LIANZA13 Day 4

The last day of a conference is always interesting – how may people have gone home? How many people are still to wake up after the conference dinner fun the night before? How many people are here and mainlining coffee?

The first keynote was Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith from Waikato University. There was so much in her presentation that resonated with what I’m interested in.

  • Maori staff (often) come into organisations with their iwi and hapu identities.  For those staff, it’s a responsibility to serve the bigger community – to serve the language, serve the culture. Therefore they are often looked to as exponents of the Maori language and tikanga. This can be part of a hidden workload – service to the organisation in powhiri, karakia, waiata, poroporoake, tangihanga etc.
  • Many of our institutions try to absorb Maori into existing structures. The challenge for institutions is to engage with difference on the inside (of people), to recognise and reward (not punish) for the hidden workload.
  • For institutions that want to build Maori capacity – build a long term agenda and commitment to build transformation within. Requires leadership. There is implicit knowledge that’s at work in those environments so share the values of the organisation and the people in it. Build structures for discussion – talk about the issue, then address it if reasonable. Institutional culture change can occur within a very small unit of staff. Institutions must see this as a learning journey. Figure it out together. Needs leadership which doesn’t go into panic mode when there’s a minor crisis.
  • Don’t put the pressure on one Maori to carry the whole Maori world and the Pakeha world at the same time. Individuals are individuals.
  • The more that Maori shape our future, the more we can determine it. Our aspirations are to engage in positive ways.

This is one of her aims for her life.

  • Live a life that builds something so that other people don’t have to fight society – try and make society better.

I like it. I think Libraries can be great contributors to that idea.

Professor Smith also showed me some of the things to do/watch out for as I go into discussions with LIANZA and Te Ropu Whakahau about focusing the kaupapa of LIANZA so we can be in the future with a uniquely NZ point of view. I appreciate (and am pleased by) the attitudes of people who I have already talked to, and their willingness to engage with the question.

Also speaking on Day 4 was Nat Torkington. He’s one of my favourite speakers – always entertaining, very smart and sharp on learning and information ideas. (Plus he’s not afraid to be a bit sweary.)

  • When you see people who are doing things with tech, or their services “you don’t become like them by buying the artifacts. [there is] an ocean of possible artifacts and toys.“ What we don’t see is the pedagogy behind it which is how to understand how and why it’s being used. Laptops aren’t the answer. “The transformative power if that stuff is sweet fuck all, unless you change the thinking and attitudes of the teachers and students. Otherwise you only have a classroom with Macs in it.
  • To see something that you don’t understand and see it as a threat, that’s deadly.
  • Teaching as inquiry – Hypothesis > Evidence> Research > Action > Evidence > Reflection > Hypothesis (repeat). This is a good model for a way to embrace learning for (and about) the future. (One school used an open Google doc for staff which included – this is the thing I’m doing, this is what I’ve learned. Public sharing of the individual learning which validates learning and experimentation. Staff only had to pick one thing to work on at a time.)
  • Don’t make the mistake of doing the futuring TO something, do it WITH someone.

I haven’t been to a full LIANZA conference for a few years (small library, small staff) and this conference has convinced me more than ever of the importance of attending the full event. There are themes outside of the official conference theme which rise during the four days. There are so many people to continue building relationships with that it can’t all be done in a day or two days.

I’m finishing this reflection with something that Nat said. On the day I was so entertained by his presentation that I missed the care for learning, libraries, and librarians that permeated his words. I think this is simultaneously a challenge, and a hope for the future.

You can make your own damn future.

Open document with the notes from LIANZA13 Day 4. Please add your own notes!

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