A review of 2016

IMG_2930I was having a think about what I’ve achieved in 2016 and what I’m proud of and reflecting lots of really great stuff amidst the depressing political stuff that’s been happening in the world. So here’s my top ten of achievements and things (and people) I am proud of this year.

1. Conference presentations – I always seem to be giving conference presentations but this year really has been quite a year for them including two keynotes – one at the Dublin Institute for Technology’s E-learning Summer school and my big highlight, a keynote at ALT-C in Warwick in September. I’ve also presented on a range of topics, from information and digital literacy to copyright education and games-based learning. In Ireland, Prague and all around the UK. Presenting at the CILIP conference on the Brighton Dome stage (where Abba won Eurovision in 1974) was another highlight for me this year, on the TeenTech information literacy award! And the show will go on, with plenty of exciting trips lined up for 2017!

2. Publishing my fifth book – I was so pleased to finally finish Copyright and E-learning in the spring which I updated with my co-researcher and copyright buddy Chris Morrison. It really has been great to see the positive book reviews over the last few months and to have people make such nice comments on it. I didn’t enjoy writing this book first time around, but working with Chris was a lot of fun and as I predicted, his knowledge and attention to detail (pedantic, no never!) made it a far better book from from the first edition. So thanks for working with me Chris to produce something we can both be really proud of.

3. Chairing the CILIP Information Literacy Group – I’m now in my second year of chairing the ILG  and I love working with my committee. We’ve been working on an exciting rebrand to be launched at Lilac in April and the work we’re doing on outreach such as funding research projects and working with TeenTech is so rewarding. I’m so proud of everyone on the Committee and the ILG working groups and can’t thank them enough.

4. Raising over £1000 for Cancer Research UK through charity runs. Some of you will know my friend Maria was diagnosed with cancer last year and I’ve completed 3 charity runs to raise money for CRUK this year. I would have liked go do more but injured my foot so I’m building up my strength and also hoping to do some charity cycle rides instead in 2017, as I love my new bike!

5. Getting a place on Aurora the women’s leadership in higher education. I was so pleased to get a place on this programme which I’m just over half way through and I am so grateful to Rosie Jones, Nic Whitton and to Suzanne Christopher formerly of LSE Learning and Development who suggested I apply for this programme. I’ve met some amazing women and I am learning so much. And it’s got me really fired up about issues related to gender and equality more broadly and helped me make some really big decisions about my future career.

6. Becoming an auntie. I cannot explain the joy and love I have felt since becoming an auntie to Henry James Secker who was born in July 2016. He’s an adorable little chap and I enjoy every moment I spend with him and his wonderful parents, my brother Dan, the computer games geek, and his lovely, generous wife, Keeley. I look forward to a future with this lovely chap in my life and want to share so many things with him when he grows up. I’m also proud to say I bought him his first book and a pen as I have great hopes for him!

7. Giving something back and amusing people through my costumed historical walks. I volunteer for an animal charity, but I am also secretary of our local civic society, which preserves the built heritage and green spaces of the town I live in. This is partly because of my love of history but has also been a great way of being part of the community I live in and I’ve met some really inspiring people, who give up their time to campaign for things they believe in. I’ve also got to combine two of my great loves, dressing up and telling people about history through leading two costumed historical walks this year! I can’t wait to do more.

8. Making copyright literacy a real thing through the website, our first bits of consultancy and continuing road show. This is largely the work I’ve been doing with Chris for the past couple of years, but it’s growing and becoming an international movement, with hopefully an IFLA event next summer in Poland bringing it all together. Teaching people about copyright may seem boring and geeky to many people, but for librarians it’s a really important part of their work and something many feel anxious about. So if we can help here, then that is a great thing, but also to teach this in a wider context as part of digital and information literacy, so copyright isn’t just a problem to fix, but part of open practices in education.

9. Discovering the creative side of me or should that be rediscovering it as I did study art and graphic communication at school and loved both subjects. Through working on games and developing new ideas for workshops I am really starting to enjoy bringing creativity and fun into the work I do and hopefully using that to inspire people. I also now have a lot of coloured pens, post-it notes and a collection of owl related stationary which help inspire me.

10. Having less fear and becoming more comfortable being me.  There are going to be some big changes for me in 2017 and I am actually really excited about the future and starting to feel more happier knowing who I am, what I stand for, what I value and what I want to do in my life. It’s been a difficult year in some ways, with some disappointments at work too, but overall the future is looking really positive. I’m excited about 2017, the travel opportunities, the new people I will meet and the fantastic people I hope to carry on working with, so here’s to the New Year and everything it brings! I am ready for it!!

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