Q&A with ANDPA Co-Chairs Emilia & Nikki.

by | Apr 22, 2024 | ALIA Students and New Graduates News, GLAMR Professional Profile, People, Professional Development, QLD

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Welcome to our latest ALIA SNGG Q&A.  This month Louise our WordPress Blog Coordinator interviewd ANDPA (Association of Neurodivergent and Disabled GLAMR Professionals Australia ) Co-Chairs & founders Emilia Bell (they/them) & Niki Anderson (she/her).

Thank you Emilia & Nikki for talking to us and sharing ANDPA’s story!

The Interview:

Louise: Welcome

1. Can you tell us a bit more about yourselves?

Nikki: I’m a librarian who lives and works on the lands of the Jarowair and Giabal peoples (Toowoomba, Queensland). I’m currently the Manager (Digital Experience) at the University of Southern Queensland. I’m also a freelance writer, speaker and diversity and inclusion activist.

Emilia: I’m an academic librarian working at the University of Southern Queensland Library as Coordinator (Evidence Based Practice) and a PhD candidate at Curtin University researching the role of university libraries in open knowledge diplomacy. I’m also an incoming ALIA Board Director for 2024. I live and work on the lands of the Jagera, Yuggera, and Ugarapul peoples (Ipswich, Queensland) with my wife (and a few pets).

2. What spurred both of you to create this association?

Nikki: Connectivity and community were the main drivers for me in starting ANDPA. When I entered the LIS workforce in 2015, disability and disability-related issues were rarely spoken about or represented. This silence and invisibility meant I didn’t see myself represented in the profession, nor did I feel like I belonged. Creating safe spaces for sharing and being able to connect with others is vital in changing feelings of exclusion to ones of inclusion and belonging. I think the more time we spend allowing disabled voices to be heard, interrogating our own biases, and understanding the diverse experiences of disability, the more inclusive our profession will be – and I see ANDPA as a way of doing that.

Emilia: My lived experience as a queer and disabled person has been a catalyst for community building, partnership, and engagement across my work in libraries. I wanted to find ways to create opportunities for inclusive networking, connection, and advocacy for disabled and neurodivergent people and also to elevate the conversations we have about belonging and inclusion to something more meaningful. For disabled and neurodivergent people, career progression can look different and there’s often a lack of representation. Having people who understand these experiences from a lived experience perspective allows for greater support, peer-mentorship, and visibility in GLAMR professions.

3. How long has the association been up for?

Emilia: We founded ANDPA in early November 2023 – so about 5 months now. I raised the idea with Nikki in mid-2023 and we began planning very quickly – there were a lot of lunch break and evening conversations at that stage! During this planning we also shared a survey so that we could ensure our Association’s objectives were going to meet the needs of our future members and would be impactful. It was exciting to see so much engagement and enthusiasm around the idea even before it had been announced!

4. What is the association’s vision?

ANDPA aspires to promote the acceptance of disability and neurodiversity in GLAMR fields through community, pride, belonging, and leadership. Our objectives include:

● Providing inclusive networking and community building opportunities for disabled and neurodivergent people in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, Records (GLAMR), and associated professions;

● Establishing and maintaining a community that promotes disability and neurodiversity acceptance and pride for GLAMR professionals;

● Advancing professional mentoring, coaching, and career development opportunities for disabled and neurodivergent GLAMR students and professionals;

● Supporting disability and neurodivergence acceptance and inclusion in GLAMR professions through self and systemic advocacy, leadership, and lived experience;

● Fostering communication and cooperative activities with GLAMR institutions, associations, networks, and relevant industry bodies to further the achievement of these objectives.

● Engaging in strategic planning and monitoring as required to achieve these objectives and progress ANDPA’s stated values in the best interests of the Association.

5. What do the future plans of the association look like?

ANDPA is currently in the process of incorporating to help us achieve our objectives. Many of the partnerships are focused on achieving inclusive approaches to recruitment, mentoring, and coaching in GLAMR professions. We’re also really excited to continue our webinar series and our podcast (GLAMR Disability in Dialogue) and to being having our first in-person catch up at ALIA National Conference this year. We’re keeping our values – community, pride, belonging, and leadership – at the core of any future plans and making sure that we centre community in the work that we do.

6. What’s been the feedback from people in the GLAM sector about the association?

The feedback from the people in the sector has been really positive. We have over 100 members and have had the opportunity to connect with the Australian Library and Information Association and the Queensland University Libraries Office of Cooperation (QULOC). We are so thankful for everyone’s support and engagement and look forward to working with people across the sector to advance disability inclusion.

7. Where do people find out more about the association and membership?

You can find more information on our website and can become a member via our ANDPA membership page & follow us on social media on:

LinkedIn & Instagram @andpa_

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