VALA2024 has finished up and what an event it has been.  All powerpoint presentations and papers will be uploaded to the session pages, as they become available and are uploaded.  Session pages are accessed from the conference program.


The full program can be found here.

Level 1 – Future Lecture Theatre

Level 2 – Street entry

Level 3 & 4 – Toilets

Level 5 – Exhibition hall and Plenary entry

Level 7 – Conference Rooms 1-4 and Brain Room


Exhibition passes are now available to be booked!

  • Please note that exhibitor passes free but are extremely limited (100).
  • Please take this opportunity to consider attending the entire conference. If you would like to attend the full conference please visit our registrations page. 
  • Exhibition passes are only able to utilised during the hours of 11am and 3pm ONLY and does not provide you with access to the rest of the conference or any catering.
  • Badges must be picked up on the day and then returned at the end of the day
  • To be able to attend the exhibitor hall you must agree to sharing your information with exhibitors.


Keynotes 5 and 6!

Sites of resistance in the digital age

Hero Macdonald & Tui Raven

This presentation will explore the function of knowledge organisation systems, including libraries, as powerful apparatuses that not only reflect dominant cultural norms and power dynamics but also actively construct and perpetuate them. In the context of an increasingly privatised information landscape, and new forms of digital colonialism being led by Big Tech, biases are not only entrenched but also magnified in numerous ways. By critically interrogating and addressing the deeply embedded biases within the library profession itself, this discussion will explore both the possibility and the imperative for libraries to actively reconceptualise themselves as important sites of resistance in the digital age.






The machines won’t save us

Dr. Keir Winesmith

Dr. Keir Winesmith is the Chief Digital Officer at the National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA), mentor in the Creative Australia’s CEO Digital Mentoring Program, and co-founder of the bi-monthly Cultural Data Salon for Sydney cultural workers. His book, co-authored with Dr. Suse Anderson, is ‘The Digital Future of Museums‘ (Routledge, 2020). Keir has a background in art, strategy and consulting, and has collaborated on award-winning projects that blend digital and culture across the globe. In 2018, he was named in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business for this work. Keir holds hold a Ph.D. in new media and writes and speaks frequently on the intersection of digital and the arts, in particular, the role of digital as an agent for organisational change.

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia tells the national story by collecting, preserving and sharing audiovisual media, the cultural experience platforms of our time. In a time of seismic changes to how media is created and consumed, what role does the NFSA play in preserving the digital past and the present for an uncertain future?

The fourth keynote of VALA2024 is…

Donna Benjamin!

The once and future librarian.

Librarians are vanguards of infotech. Struggling with legacy systems accumulated alongside precious collections of books, journals, tools, and toys. Watching waves of uncertainty in a world newly obsessed with AI, we may well wonder what’s next. Let’s pause and reflect on the journey that got us here. Let’s examine the messy middle of our present. Let’s do more than imagine where to go now. Let’s re-make the future. Let’s iterate, and re-iterate.

The Open Practice Library has no books, no bricks, no mortar. It has no systems to manage loans. It’s a collection of practices, open to all to use, to study, to change, and to share.

In this closing address, Donna Benjamin will invite attendees to take the first step into their own future, empowered by their own legacy, enabled by open practices, and fueled with optimistic intent for what’s possible.

Donna is Maintainer & Product Owner, Open Practice Library, a Keynote Speaker and Senior Engagement Lead, Red Hat Open Innovation Labs.

Over the years Donna has taken on a range of leadership roles in the Australian Open Source community, sitting on boards and committees and organising events.

Donna has served as a layperson on the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Victorian Cancer Council.

Donna’s background in marketing and theatre underpins her belief that ‘the show must go on’​. The web is a stage for many individuals and companies. It delivers incredible opportunities to communicate with their audience, whether that’s members, learners, customers or constituents.

Donna prepares and presents customised keynote sessions that motivate people to act by taking their first step into the future.



A few things to note:

  • Please note that all tickets are extremely limited so get in quick! 
  • Early Bird tickets are on sale until May 31, or when sold out.
  • Take this opportunity to sign up for a VALA membership as this grants you a significant discount in tickets!
  • Sponsors and Exhibitors – We will be in contact regarding your allocation but if you require more tickets please buy through this portal.
  • Prices include Welcome and Farewell Events and Morning and Afternoon teas. 
  • Lunch will not be included

The third keynote of VALA2024 is…

Dr Melissa Silk!

Dr Melissa Silk is JMC Academy’s National Head of Design. With over thirty years of creative practice, Melissa collaborates with many thinkers and makers to design experiences that embed the Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM).

Melissa is co-director of while also engaged in research contributing to learning ecologies spanning creative intelligence and innovation, transdisciplinary education, and designing for preferred futures. Melissa enjoys being part of a bold community of multipotentialities intent on developing and sharing unique learning experiences for everybody.

Dr Silk will be presenting a keynote titled: “Connected Curiosity” – a visual treat and overview of creative practice steeped in transdisciplinarity. It tracks the development of innovative tasks and activities related to embedding the Arts in STEM, delivered in institutional education and general community contexts. Enter the fusion acronym: STEAM.

We know that STEM represents science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and here, we are reminded that the arts include humanities, language, arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media. However, beyond the acronym, STEAM is an experience. Connected Curiosity champions the notion of shifting ideas and perceptions of ‘learning’ into dynamic transformative experiences.

Transcending discipline boundaries, STEAM integrates seemingly disparate practices. Root Bernstein (2019) advocates innovation being the result of taking transdisciplinary leaps of imagination by training scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians in and of the arts. Such integration is hard work and tricky. Hence, a significant aspect presented here is the consideration of personal and individual transformation through connected experiences, in which the dynamic contribution of dialectical emotions is appreciated and valued.

The second keynote of VALA2024 is…

VALA is pleased to announce our second keynote: Ruth Tillman.

Ruth Kitchin Tillman works on discovery, the library catalogue, and linked data projects at Penn State University Libraries. Her current research focuses on library systems and the people who use and maintain them. She has written and presented on metadata encoding standards, library discovery, linked data, institutional repositories, and labour issues in libraries.

Ruth will be presenting: The Interdependent Library System: Revisiting Human Aspects of Library Automation

Once the star of the library technology circuit, the integrated library system (ILS) has long taken a back seat to emerging technologies—from the repositories of the late aughts to the AI of the mid-twenties. Yet the ILS is more than the origin of library automation; it still underlies the everyday work of a 21st century library.

In this presentation, Ruth considers the ILS as workspace and re-envision it as a system that is as fundamentally as human as it is technological. What can we learn by re-engaging with this apparently-monolithic and oft-monopolistic presence in our workplaces? She draws from the oral histories of Penn State’s homegrown ILS (1970s-1998) and her research into library systems maintenance and into the impacts of present-day ILS migration.


VALA is pleased to announce our first keynote for VALA2024.

Tara Brabazon is the Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Cultural Studies at Charles Darwin University, Professor of Cultural Studies at Flinders University, Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA), Member of the College of Distinguished Educators, and Director of the Popular Culture Collective. She has worked in ten universities in four countries and most of the states and territories of Australia.  Tara has held the leadership roles of Dean, Head of School, Head of Department, Head of Programme and Institutional Research Leader of national assessment exercises.

Tara is currently writing three books, on academic failure, the Claustropolitan University and Claustropop:  Popular culture at the end of the world.  She is a columnist for the Times Higher Education, produces audiobooks, and runs a successful and popular podcast programme (since 2008).  Tara has developed the genre of academic vlogs for higher degree students, through her weekly series.

She will be presenting on her latest work at VALA. “Trumped Literacies: A new model for information and knowledge in claustropolitan times”, which will explore how librarians, educators and information professionals manage the speed of mis/information while enabling debate, diversity and expertise?


VALA2024 has launched!

VALA Libraries Technology & the Future is pleased to announce the dates and location for the 2024 conference.

VALA 2024 Reiterated – Getting IT back to grass roots, will be held Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th July 2024.

Major sponsor RMIT are providing the venue, located across the road from both the iconic State Library of Victoria and the Melbourne Central shopping precinct and Metro train station. VALA welcomes RMIT as our first sponsor and is excited about exploring the options for the conference in this unique facility.

Other sponsorship opportunities will be released shortly as the Conference Committee works towards making VALA 2024 ReITerated happen. There is always room for more help however, so if you are interested in joining the committee, please email

In the meantime, continue to watch this space for more VALA 2024 news.