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Call for Submissions: Diversity By Design – Reframing Diversity Discourse in Canada

February 23, 2017

September 13-14, 2017

We will hold a two-day Symposium in Toronto in September 2017 on the state of diversity in Canada’s informational and cultural sectors. The symposium will invite an open multi-sided dialog at the time when Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, with the field of Library & Information Science (LIS) strategically positioned to initiate and lead this conversation. The conversation will transcend the boundaries of a single discipline and profession and serve as a springboard for engaging a wider community in reconsidering and expanding diversity discourse and practices.

The 150th Anniversary of Canada is an opportune time to look back, take stock, re-assess the present, and plan for the future. The goal of the Diversity by Design Symposium is to reframe the diversity debate by expanding the definition of diversity and bringing together institutions of higher education, information and cultural institutions, community partners, and governmental organizations.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Clara Chu, U of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, “Diversity on the Library and Information Agenda: The Local-Global Nexus”
  • Samra Habib, Artist, Toronto ‘Just Me and Allah’: Witnessing Queer Muslims’ Lived Experiences
  • Kayla Lar-Son, U of Alberta, “All We Need Is Some Diverse Students? Thinking Differently about Inclusive Programs”
  • Lisa Nathan, UBC, Vancouver, “Humility, Discomfort & Awe: Developing Our Capacity for Engaging with Diversity”
  • Ali Shiri, U of Alberta, “Digital Library North: Access to Digital Cultural Heritage in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) in Canada’s North”
  • Charles Smith, Artist, Toronto “Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Yet to Come”


In addition to keynote speeches, we seek submissions in the following categories:

  • Papers (includes completed research papers and research-in-progress papers)
  • Posters
  • Sessions for Interactive Engagement (including interactive, hands-on workshops developed around case studies and/or real-life scenarios)
  • Alternative formats

All submissions will be refereed and subsequently considered for publication in a web-based free-access symposium proceedings, which will evolve into a ‘living document’, continuously curated by several symposium collaborators. Online proceedings will be enriched by multimedia, such as video- or audio-recorded presentations and workshops.

Topics of Interest Include (but are not limited to):

  • Engagement of diverse populations by cultural institutions.
  • Incorporating traditional knowledge and heritage knowledge of immigrant communities into Canadian information literacy policy.
  • Developing cultural competency through interdisciplinary art.
  • Combining LIS and Social Work practices for community empowerment and partnership.
  • Beyond employment equity (affirmative action) programs: Creating collegial and supportive workplaces to ensure the retention of diverse staff.
  • Decolonizing descriptions in archives, libraries and museums.
  • A semblance of the “accessible”? Making cultural and learning experiences in museums and entertainment venues inclusive of people with disabilities.
  • Declaring the “global” but teaching the “local,” or How to make our graduate curriculum truly international.

Submissions will be accepted through March 31, 2017, 10:00 pm ET. All submissions must be in English or French. All submissions must include:

  • the author’s name and position;
  • full affiliation including email and telephone;
  • a brief bio;
  • presentation title, up to five keywords,
  • and an extended abstract of no longer than 1000 words.

Email your submissions to: We specifically encourage submissions that propose interactive engagement sessions as well as papers and posters involving community-oriented research, community engagement projects, and practical applications of theory. We welcome submissions from outside of Canada.


  • March 31, 2017 (10:00 pm ET): Proposal submission deadline (extended abstracts).
  • April 30, 2017: Refereeing/peer-review completed; acceptance/rejection decisions.
  • September 13-14, 2017: Diversity by Design Symposium.

Organizers and Sponsors

This symposium is organized by Dr. Nadia Caidi (Faculty of Information, U of Toronto) and Dr. Keren Dali (School of Library and Information Studies, U of Alberta) and supported by a SSHRC Connection – Connecting for Canada’s 150 grant, and by the following partners:

  • The Faculty of Information, U of Toronto
  • The McLuhan Centre for Culture & Technology
  • The Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • The Toronto City Archives
  • The Art Gallery of Ontario
  • The Ontario Library Association

For information, contact:

For general inquiries, email us at


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