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Supporting Learning and Collaboration: CLA’s Bursary Impact at the CILIP Conference 2023

As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, this year CLA launched our bursary programme, starting with the CILIP Conference 2023.

Bursary places unlock vital professional development, and only with well-informed, diligent, and creative colleagues in the library, information, and knowledge community can we fulfil our mission and ensure the copyright ‘eco-system’ keeps supporting the creation of works we rely on every day. We’re dedicated to funding access to bursaries and thrilled that we can empower current and future leaders in the sector.

The conference reports from each of our delegates showed us practitioners who are curious as to the latest sector developments, hungry for ideas and collaboration, and willing to be challenged. It’s fantastic to know that we could unlock this opportunity, and help colleagues gain a firmer foothold in the copyright landscape.

Three bursary places were available for schools/Further Education (FE), and public and private colleagues. Here we learn what the bursary and conference meant to each delegate.

Charlotte Ford (School/FE bursary – King Edward VI College, Stourbridge)

Being a CLA bursary delegate

I had the privilege of attending this year’s CILIP Conference. I think it’s important to start here – it was a privilege, and I would not have been able to attend this event without a bursary such as the one I got. So, to everyone at CLA, thank you.

I met people from public libraries, private libraries, knowledge managers, the British Library and CILIP themselves, as well as vendors, each giving me a friendly conversation, sharing tips and resources, but also an insight across the sector I couldn’t have imagined. Without this conference, I can’t imagine I’d have ever been given a similar chance to meet such a variety of professionals.

Key Learning

I found the digital and AI-based talks to be really invigorating, with a lot of professionals sharing their best tips and common frustrations around the digital market. Whilst the digital landscape is growing there is a lot of tough ground for us all to break through to create a truly accessible and fair environment…In a nutshell, we currently cannot treat physical and e-resources equally in the realms of lending and resource sharing, and throughout the talks at the conference, most agreed that improving accessibility to e-resources and transparency of e-resource providers was a priority and that as sector professionals, we needed to advocate for this.


Liza Ackermann (Private bursary – Student at Ulster University)

Being a bursary delegate

Please pass along my sincerest thanks to everyone involved with the CLA bursary that enabled me to attend the CILIP conference in July. My learnings were only made possible by the generous support of the Copyright Licensing Agency.

Key Learning

Many of the attendees of the CILIP conference of 2023 seemed to have a preoccupation with AI and what it means for the future. Most of their concerns were voiced as inside jokes around the dinner table. Nick Woolley’s lecture was an attempt to demystify regenerative AI…One intriguing feature of AI is its generative capability, where it exhibits the power of creativity, and the ability to innovate and replicate human-like experiences. At its core lies machine learning algorithms that generate new data from existing data.


Marette Hickford (Public bursary – British Library)

Being a bursary delegate

Arriving at the Hilton Metropole, I received a warm welcome with coffee and oaty biscuits. It was also nice to have arrived with one of my colleagues from the British Library and in the exhibition area; we soon met people from other libraries and organisations. A lovely start! Thank you to the Copyright Licensing Agency for supporting my visit to the CILIP Conference. It was very enlightening and enjoyable.

Key Learning

Masud Khokar (University of Leeds – ‘Redesigning Leadership for a Digital World)…introduced the theory of cognitive load and the risks of cognitive inflexibility. In the context of discovery and retrieval, this risk of inflexibility could result in deploying algorithms to find information that reinforces your beliefs. In his opinion, the LIS sector has lost its role of influence and power due to not taking charge of the developments brought about by the Information Age. It is now ‘The Imagination Age’ and in this context, it is vital for leaders to structure the passion of staff….His messages both inspired and resonated with me.


Our thanks to our CILIP colleagues for the opportunity to sponsor conference places, and for providing such a critical source of support and knowledge to the information community. CLA’s bursary programme will continue, so keep an eye out for the next opportunity.