‘Food for the Soul’: Applying the Human Library Concept to Academic Professional Development


  • Jane Bryan
  • Kerry Dobbins University of Warwick




academic professional development, Human Library, academic practice, collegial connections, knowledge exchange


This article explores the unique application of the Human Library concept to an academic professional development initiative. Human Library events are noted for their opportunities to provide a safe space for learning, knowledge exchange and reflective thought. Our specific objectives were to create a safe space for colleagues to discuss teaching-related issues and create collegial connections. Evaluation data highlights the opportunities the event gave to connect with colleagues, share and gain ideas, and engage in in-depth teaching-focused conversations. Readers commented on the time and space offered by the event to stop, reflect and exchange knowledge. Books reported benefits to their own practices from the two-way conversational process, with at least one potential collaboration being followed up after the event. Impact also appears to have endured beyond the book/reader encounters with participants referring to their sharing with others of learning and ideas gained from or formed following the event.


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