Digital Dexterity


VALA is holding its 20th bicentennial conference in Melbourne from 11-13 February 2020 (link). The theme of the conference is Focus on the Future.

VALA – Libraries, Technology and the Future Inc. is an independent Australian based not-for-profit organisation that actively supports the use and understanding of information technology in libraries. I have been particularly impressed by the exploration of innovative practice.

VALA’s alert to the conference looked at the digital dexterity framework developed by the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) (link). The conference call included this invitation “our call to action and our challenge to ourselves, our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and delegates is to be visionaries, to see through the lens of the future and to bring our best, most creative, contemporary and controversial selves to VALA2020”.

I liked VALA’s description of the conference as an environment that “offers inspiration and collaboration. We welcome the diverse community that contributes to our industry, our students, practitioners, academics and vendors, colleagues and competitors. It is a safe and respectful place where you can take risks, challenge yourself, ask questions and invite feedback, and where we can all learn from our shared experiences”.

Digital Dexterity

The Council of Australian University Librarians Digital proposes that dexterity is a critical component in the success of digital societies: it encompasses the “cognitive ability and social practice needed to leverage and employ various types of media, information and technology for advantage in unique and highly innovative ways that optimise personal and business value”.

VALA’s conference theme has enormous importance for how we develop dexterity in sport. The conference “has actively sought the participation of digital dexterity champions to provide core content for the conference program”. This content includes:

VALA also has two conference themes to support the focus of the conference: digital literacy and digital dexterity. The papers in these streams include:



The VALA website has comprehensive information about the conference and contains a program of events (link).


I think this year’s VALA conference raises profound issues for how we in sport address digital dexterity and how we share research and practice. The VALA website includes a link to JISC’s Building Digital Capabilities paper (link). In that paper, JISC suggests that one of the aims of the capabilities framework is to “support discussion and build consensus about the capabilities required in a digital organisation, perhaps in order to develop a local framework or a locally adapted version of this framework”. I see this relationship between organisational focus and local interpreation as profoundly enabling as we seek to develop our digital dexterity.

I do think the VALA issues require our attention in sport.


Papers for the conference are available at the VALA2020 Proceedings webpage.

Photo Credit

CAUL’s digital dexterity visualisation (link)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here