Social Justice Design Symposium, June 6-7

The current cohort of Spectrum Doctoral Fellows co-hosted the first Social Justice Collaboratorium Design Symposium at the University of Maryland iSchool on June 6-7, 2015.  Funding for the event, including hotel, food and travel costs for all attendees, were provided by the American Library Association and the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Spectrum Doctoral Fellowship Program.

The purpose of the Design Symposium was to bring together individuals who have been researching and working on social justice issues in the field of Library and Information Science (LIS) to collaborate on the development of an online resource (the Social Justice Collaboratorium).  The two-day workshop provided opportunities to build our community, enhance our current areas of research, and identify potential future collaborators in Social Justice LIS work.

The SJC Design Symposium counted 34 attendees, including the Spectrum Fellows, and was centered around 4 workshop exercises conducted over 2 days.  These were:

  • A Vision Exercise through which the group co-developed a working definition of what Social Justice in LIS looks like.
  • An exercise on Institutional Approaches to Social Justice in LIS and LIS education, through which the group of attendees documented Social Justice approaches (that have failed as well as succeeded) in different institutions.
  • A Future Vision Discussion, during which attendees envisioned how the SJC tool will contribute to social justice work in LIS and LIS education
  • A Persona Exercise in which groups created personas representing different types of users we envision to come to the SJC.  This allows us to keep user needs in mind when developing the prototypes and the site itself.

A main outcome of the weekend was a shared vision statement for the SJC tool, as well as a shared commitment to develop a purposeful and responsible tool as a community of educators, practitioners, researchers, and future professionals.

As part of our outreach efforts, we are submitting a book chapter in the upcoming volume of Perspectives on Libraries as Institutions of Human Rights and Social Justice.  We are compiling a review of past social justice initiatives in LIS including, but not limited to, conference themes, special journal issues, institutional initiatives, LIS graduate program curricula, associations, student groups, and special interest groups.  If you have any information regarding past initiatives in LIS related to Social Justice that you’d like us to include, please reach out to a member of the cohort:

RaShauna Brannon –
LaVerne Gray –
Elnora Tayag –
Mario H. Ramirez –
Miraida Morales –
Myrna E. Morales –

You may follow our project or join us in this effort here:

Twitter:  @SJCollaborate



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