Prof Robert Balfour


North-West University (NWU) is honoured to host in 2019 the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL) on its Vaal Campus. NWU is a unique institution situated in two of South Africa's provinces (one highly urbanised and the other a rural heartland), with distance education offered in some 53 learning centres around South Africa and the SADC region, making it South Africa’s second largest institution with a reputation for excellence in teach-learning and research. 

The theme this year is apposite as globally literacy studies come into the spotlight in relation to education (under)performance. The acceleration of forms of, and uses for technology, has led to the creation of new fields of study, of which information literacy is but one form. The very concept of information literacy draws on nuanced thinking about the distinction between knowledge and information arising from Philosophy.

When one invokes the concept of knowledge one immediately needs to distinguish this from information and simultaneously acknowledge the scholarship on knowledge formation and construction. Foucault and Deleuze are considered particularly useful in their treatment of knowledge, and between them consider the relationship between language, discourse, knowledge and power. The scholarship of education one often reads about knowledge as a form of power, but it is perhaps more useful to distinguish between knowledge in the service of power, at its disposal as it were, and information, which is not useful to power until it becomes focused in the form of knowledge. Knowledge becomes powerful in two ways: first in the way it is constituted as fields (drawing from Foucault, 1979), and secondly in relation to it producing “truth, in so far as it makes us see and speak. It produces truth as a problem” (Deleuze, 1988, p.83). From this perspective, the ICIL conference themes speak to a key feature of empowerment in the 21st Century: information literacy as a means through which the subject articulates, synthesis, understands and uses information: sometimes in the understanding of powerful knowledge, sometimes in resistance to, or skepticism of knowledge in the service of power, and sometimes in the creation of counter-power knowledge. The Conference becomes an important scholarly engagement with implications for teaching and learning as well as research at the NWU (and indeed the entire higher education sector).

I want, by way of welcoming scholars, staff and students to this event at the NWU, to acknowledge the leadership of Dr Mathew Moyo and the initiative of the NWU Library and Information Services executive team, for bringing this Conference to the University, and involving the academic community in the debates which link us to our world both nationally and globally. We trust that delegates will be made to feel at home, and that the engagements will be vital and stimulating of thought, interaction and action!

Prof Robert J. Balfour, PhD, FCCS
DVC Teaching-Learning

Dr Mathew Moyo

Welcome Message: Information Literacy in all spheres of life

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my singular honour to welcome you all to this first International Conference on Information Literacy hosted by the North-West University as a sister conference to the European Conference on Information Literacy. I am particularly excited that this partnership has come to fruition. For the past few years, we have been following and participating at the European Conferences on Information Literacy in different European countries. Although the attendance at those conferences was overwhelming, participation by colleagues from the African continent has been very low, understandably due to rising costs of overseas conference attendance. It is on this basis that we then chose to bring the conference to Africa to allow as many of our colleagues as possible, to attend the conference. I commend the organizing committee for their expert choice of the conference theme: Information Literacy in all Spheres of Life. This encourages participation by all of our organizations that have a responsibility to ensure appropriate access and ethical and legal use of information and other aspects of the broader spectrum of literacy.

I am also glad to share with you that this conference has been organised collaboratively by the LIS, the NWU UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and Open Educational Resources, and our Academic Literacy unit, and the attendance at this conference, is reflective of this partnership. This makes the conference rich, not only in practice, but also in theory. I need also to acknowledge the presence of two more UNESCO Chairs who are participating at this conference as Keynote Speakers. This spirit of partnership, is indeed in the interest of the UNESCO’s GAPMIL (Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy) initiative which seeks to promote international cooperation to ensure that the world’s citizens have access to media and information competencies. The recently launched International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) vision; seeks to power literate, informed and participative societies, and through this conference, we hope to contribute in some great way, towards the achievement of this vision. We have been offering media and information literacy courses and workshops since the turn of the new millennium, but the question to ask is; are our people becoming information literate? This question becomes more important and worrying particularly as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

On behalf of the organising committee, I welcome you all and invite you to sit back and engage in the discussions lined-up for the next four days. I further invite you to enjoy our proudly South African environment, and in particular, all that Vaal has to offer.

I thank you! 

Dr. Mathew Moyo
Chief Director: Library and Information Service
North-West University

Conference Theme

Information literacy in all spheres of life

Conference Aim

The ICIL-SA 2019 conference aims to bring together researchers, library and information services professionals, employers, media specialists, educators, policy makers and all other related parties from around the world to exchange knowledge and experience and to discuss recent developments and current challenges in both theory and practice.

Submission Types

  1. Individual papers and posters
    Proposals for both papers and posters are welcome. Abstracts of no more than 300 words including references for papers or posters should be submitted on the conference website. Papers will be 20 minutes with 10 minutes for discussion and questions.
  2. PechaKucha
    These sessions will cover work in progress reports, fresh developments, innovations and good practices. It is a short, very focused, visually appealing and inspiring narrated slide show (20 slides), 6 minute 40 second length (20 seconds for each slide), a 300-word abstract is required.
  3. Doctoral forum
    This section covers short papers either on a critical literature review of the research topic or research question(s), research objectives, research methodology and work done so far of ongoing work of PhD students. This provides an opportunity to gain valuable feedback from peers and subject specific experts. Review process takes place in two phases. A 300-word abstract is required.
  4. Panel discussions
    Panel discussions will also be accommodated. These discussions should address a common theme. Furthermore, they will be scheduled for 90 minutes and may include a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 papers. In addition to individual proposals (of no more than 300 words each including references), please also submit an overview description of no more than 500 words (including references) with the panel's content and objectives.

General Conference Topics

  1. Information literacy in different contexts of everyday life (hobbies, arts, self-development, sports, physical exercise, cooking, homing, etc.)
  2. Information literacy and active citizenship
  3. Information literacy and health and well-being
  4. Information literacy for different groups (adults, children, young people, disadvantaged groups)
  5. Information literacy in different cultures and countries
  6. Information literacy and ethical/social issues
  7. Information literacy and open education
  8. Information literacy within a multiliteracies framework
  9. Information literacy and academic literacy
  10. Information literacy and the decolonization of the curriculum
  11. Critical perspectives on information literacy in everyday life contexts
  12. Information literacy and the neoliberal agenda
  13. Information literacy and digital empowerment
  14. Information literacy and trans/inter/multiculturalism
  15. Information literacy and community engagement
  16. Information literacy and social change
  17. Information literacy and democracy, citizenship, active participation
  18. Information literacy as emancipatory pedagogy
  19. Information literacy and inclusive education
  20. Information literacy, libraries, the public sphere
  21. Information literacy in the workplace
  22. Information literacy and employability
  23. Information literacy and lifelong learning
  24. Information literacy in theoretical context (models, standards, indicators)
  25. Information literacy and related concepts (transversal competencies, media literacy, data literacy, civic literacy, transliteracy, metaliteracy, e-literacy, digital literacy, computer literacy, scientific literacy, visual literacy,)
  26. Information literacy research (research strategies, methodology and methods)
  27. Information seeking and information behaviour
  28. Information literacy good practices
  29. Information literacy networks and networking
  30. Information literacy policies and policy development
  31. Information literacy and libraries (research libraries, university libraries, public libraries, special libraries, school libraries)
  32. Information literacy and LIS education
  33. Information literacy and information and knowledge management
  34. Information literacy across disciplines
  35. Information literacy and education
  36. Information literacy education in different sectors (school, higher education, vocational education)
  37. Information literacy instruction (curriculum development, instructional design, teaching techniques and methods, Web-based training, e-learning, measurement and evaluation, promotion and marketing, training the trainers, partnership, collaboration across professions, teacher education, integrating into curricula)
  38. Information literacy and emerging technologies
  39. Information literacy in the future
  40. Information literacy and the fourth industrial revolution
  41. Information Literacy and Academic life cycle
  42. Information literacy and challenges of education
  43. Information Literacy: blended learning multiliteracies
  44. Information Literacy: sustainable blended multiliteracies
  45. Information Literacy: an interdisciplinary learning approach
  46. Measuring the impacts of information literacy
  47. Open Information Literacy
  48. Open Access
  49. Contextualised Information Literacy
  50. From information literacy to multiliteracies

Conference photos

Important Dates

Important Documents