VALA2020 Home Page

15 February 2020

VALA2020 – A space for reflection

Can we just say WOW. What a ride. Over the past 3 days, we’ve talked, we’ve shared, we’ve listened, and more than any VALA conference in our memory or history, there’s been space for reflection.

Some themes that have stood out from our program and our exhibitors include these words:


A word that hasn’t been super highlighted is technology. VALA is at a stage where we don’t really need to mention it, we know that it’s a tool, not an objective, and that the real objective is actually in this room. And outside this room. It’s the people that use the technology as a tool to connect, and share, and find knowledge.

Throughout the process of creating VALA2020 there has been another word that really resonates with a lot of people, particularly fellow Organising Committee members… vulnerability.

Vulnerability is often associated with weakness, whether it’s in systems, or projects, or people. But being vulnerable is a strength in itself because it can identify areas that need attention, and care, and support; and not just in areas like data privacy and dodgy proxying!

The message that VALA has been sharing over the last 2 to 4 years with our events, especially conference, is that technology doesn’t mean technical, and the human factor of what we do is key, and part of being human is being vulnerable. It’s saying, I don’t know, or I need help, or I’m going to do something really scary and take a leap.

Every single person that has presented, written a paper, created a poster, delivered a keynote, got on a plane, and all those that submitted abstracts that just narrowly missed the cut due to the quality of submissions; all of them put themselves out there for assessment, and showed their most vulnerable side and we would like to thank you all, and acknowledge how much effort goes into that.

We also thank our Organising Committee. Bit of a clever management tip: if you want a job done well, assemble the Avengers and delegate it appropriately so they can do it better than you could ever imagine. We wouldn’t have our brilliant keynotes or program without them.

While we’re on that theme, thank you to our VALA Committee for trusting the OC to do their job and for carrying on the vision of VALA.

And thank you to our brilliant community, both in this room, and those who can’t be here but can still participate through our online presentations and papers. We want to continue adapting and creating an event that is current, and relevant, and sustainable and we can’t do that without your support or your feedback. The metaphorical door is always open, we are always seeking information from you as well, so please contact us. Committee seeks new members every June, and we’ve got TechCamp and conference that need organising volunteers in the future, so please put your hand up.

We would like to finish by saying that it’s been a wonderful experience planning and participating in VALA2020 and if you take nothing else away, we hope you go with the knowledge that you are part of an amazing community and we appreciate you.

Katie Haden and Linlin Zhao, Co-Chairs, VALA2020 Organising Committee




11 February 2020

On Site at VALA2020
































8 January 2020

Everyone in the VALA network is touched in some way by the bushfire emergency across many parts of Australia. Our collective thoughts and support go out to colleagues and communities that are directly impacted, and to the many others who are experiencing the heightened anxiety, fear and emotion that accompanies a disaster of this magnitude.

We are aware of the important role many libraries will provide during and after the fires, both as physical hubs offering refuge and a place for communities to gather, and as information centres providing access to resources and support. Thank you to all the librarians and library staff who will continue to show up each day to provide assistance and comfort to those who need it.

For those who are able to offer financial support to the bushfire recovery effort, please consider donating to the following organisations:

At this time, VALA2020 is not impacted in any way and we anticipate that our conference will go ahead as planned. Melbourne itself is experiencing discomfort as a result of smoke haze, but there is no immediate fire threat to Melbourne city or surrounds.

We encourage VALA2020 delegates to continue with your planned trip to Melbourne in February, but stay informed about the conditions closer to the event and reach out to us at any time for local information and advice.

Welcome to VALA2020 – Focus on the Future

VALA2020 – Focus on the Future – is the 20th VALA Biennial Conference.

To be held in Melbourne from 11-13 February 2020, VALA 2020 will be the year’s must-attend event for everyone who works or aspires to work in the information and technology environment of the GLAM Sector.

Once an event for library IT practitioners, the increasing common ground that exists within all collections management agencies sees VALA’s doors open to colleagues and collaborators across libraries, galleries, archives and museums. This “coming together” is reflected in our Conference Organising Committee, our Keynote line-up and our program.

Focus on the Future

Our call to action and our challenge to ourselves, our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and delegates is to be visionaries, to see through the lens of the future and to bring our best, most creative, contemporary and controversial selves to VALA2020.

To support us, the new MCEC Conference and Exhibition spaces provide a fully-integrated experience, with the Plenary, Exhibition Hall and session rooms on a single level and immediately adjacent to one another. The more intimate environment supports a real sense of community and collaboration, and we are excited by the new opportunities that it creates.

New program elements, including Critical Conversations, Speakers’ Corner and Vendor Presentations maximise new spaces, and sit comfortably beside VALA’s prized and peer reviewed Concurrent Sessions, international Keynote Presentations, and EPosters.

The VALA Conference environment offers inspiration and collaboration. We welcome the diverse community that contributes to our industry, our students, practitioners, academics and vendors, colleagues and competitors. It is a safe and respectful place where you can take risks, challenge yourself, ask questions and invite feedback, and where we can all learn from our shared experiences.

Please feel welcome to come on this journey with us.

We look forward to your company at VALA2020 – Focus on the Future.

Katie Haden and Linlin Zhao


Co-Chairs, VALA2020 Organising Committee