Around the World

The Around the World forum, organized for the fourth time this year, is an experiment that brings together scholars from around the globe to talk about digital culture without the environmental cost of traditional conferences. Institutes and researchers are invited to participate either through presenting or by joining in the discussion. The conference is live-streamed world-wide and archived after the event. 

This year, KIAS partnered with the School of Library and Information Studies to organize the symposium around the theme of Libraries, Archives, and Public Life, which streamed live on May 11th, 2016. In the digital age libraries and archives, arguably more vital than ever, are contested entities and commodities. Technologies can be great boons or severe limitations. The world of information is enlarged or shrunk depending on the availability, scope and distribution of services. Just as influential are geo-political location and a funding climate. Not all sectors and, in fact, not all populations enjoy equal influence and benefits. Concerns about access, sustainability and preservation affect and often determine the content, media and technology housed within libraries and archives. The social construction of knowledge and information behaviour emerge as key ways of understanding the changing roles of libraries and archives as meeting, creating and thinking spaces. The symposium explored these suggestive themes by attending to a central question: what are the implications for public life? Speakers from Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Malta, Scotland and the United States included:

  • Paul Arthur, Professor, Digital Humanities, School of Humanities & Comm Arts, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Guylaine Beaudry, University Librarian, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Michael Carroll, Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC, USA
  • Richard J. Cox, Professor, School of Library and Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA 
  • Alice Crawford, Digital Humanities Research Librarian, University of St. Andrews Library, St. Andrews, Scotland
  • Brendan Edwards, Head, Library & Archives, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Mario Hibert, Lecturer, Department of Comparative Literature and Librarianship, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Marc Kosciejew, Head of Department and Lecturer of Library Information and Archive Science, University of Malta, Msida, Malta
  • Konstantina Martzoukou, PG Programme Leader & Senior Lecturer, iSchool, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Ingrid Mason, eResearch Analyst at Intersect Australia Pty Ltd, Communications Manager for the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities, Sydney, Australia
  • Nigel A Raab, Associate Professor of History, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Seamus Ross, Interim Director, Coach House Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Frank Tough, Associate Dean (Academic) and Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • and others, including graduate students from the MLIS program at the University of Alberta

Previous years' conferences focused on Big Data (2015), Privacy and Surveillance (2014), and Technology and Culture (2013). In 2015, the symposium website attracted 973 unique visits from 39 countries and 179 cities, and the official hashtag of the event (#UofAWorld) trended on Twitter at #1 in Edmonton on the day of the conference. 

This year, the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) has been recognized with a Campus Sustainability Leadership Award for Green Spaces by the UAlberta Office of Sustainability for last year's KIAS Around The World event.

For further information please see:

The archived talks from all four years can be viewed at

 Around the World 2015: Big Data