Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Information Resilience in a Resettlement Landscape #ecil2016

The next invited talk at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2016, in Prague is Annemaree Lloyd talking about Learning to Go On: Information Resilience in a Resettlement Landscape: Key Themes and Challenges of Fractured Landscape Research.
There were lots of fascinating material and ideas in this presentation, and as usual this liveblog only captures my impression, limited by my typing speed.
Lloyd started by saying that information resillience is seen as an outcome of information literacy practice, and is what enables or helps people to bounce back or go on after a setback. She distinguished between refugees (forced to flee their country, and probably unable to return home) and migrants (which does not come with the same political obligations). From an information perspective, refugees often have to leave behind their trusted information sources and personal networks, and they have to "rebuild fractured landscapes [including information landscapes] in strange and unfamiliar lands". They most likely have no time to plan, or build networks in advance, so the wrench is greater than in voluntary migration. Lloyd referred to her previous and ongoing work, including the Supporting refugees in transition (SpIRIT) project.
Lloyd posed the question of what happend when this information landscape fractures, with familiar ways of knowing left behind. Characteristics of a fractured landscape are disconnection, uncertainty (through lack of knowledge of the new landscape), lack of confidence, absence and "inability to know the paths, nodes and edges". Main themes emerging from Lloyd's research [these are my quick notes from what Lloyd said] are the complexity of the information needs (about health, everyday spaces e.g. how to shop etc.), uncertainty because of the new "paths, nodes and edges"; the need to identify the information landscape of the new country, so they can learn how to (for example) recognise misinformation; social information is important; barriers and constraints are perceived - for example in relation to textual information, which is seen as being official and fixed and possibly to be dealt with quickly. Mobile technology and social media are central for those in transition (to connect to the previous [home] world and culture, and with the new).
Thus social networking sites were central; "secondary worlds" with the digital and physical worlds seamless. However, if people were not good at using technology, and also if they had literacy and language problems, then this was not an area that was available to them. Additionally, people might not want to be traced, and therefore would avoid mobile (trackable) devices.
Spaces were important to social enactment (spaces connected with faith practices, home, sport etc) - they also were where people could exchange and verify information.
Lloyd proposed a framework for information literacy contributing to resettlement: this has 4 "Rs" - Reporient, Reajust, Reframe, Reestablish. In turn this leads to formulating the concept of information resillience (to use information literacy to readjust etc.). It includes information awareness, being able to map the new paths etc. Libraries have a part in this, with information literacy education tailored to the needs of men, women and children; helping refugees to acquire the social capital to integrate and adjust. So a central theme is the idea of enabling people to "go on" transforming to meet the needs of everyday life in a new country.
Photo by Sheila Webber: people of many nations on the Charles Bridge, Prague, on a murky Saturday

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