Spotlight on... Professor Elizabeth Shepherd
9 September 2021
This week we meet Professor Elizabeth Shepherd, Head of the UCL Department of Information Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Here, she chats to us about celebrating 100 years of the Department of Information Studies.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am Head of the Department of Information Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, which means I am responsible for oversight of people, finances, student numbers, our educational programmes and our research activities, including the REF submission process last year. My main role during the Covid-19 pandemic has been to keep the Department together as a family by trying to support everyone, staff and students.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL since 1992! So I have held a number of roles over that time, including Programme Director for the MA in Archives and Records Management, Departmental Graduate Research Tutor, Director of Research and Departmental Lead on REF2014 and REF2021.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I am very proud of the recent Department of Information Studies Centenary celebrations, which produced a digital exhibition, website and online event, creating resources which make visible what the department has achieved in the past hundred years. It was a massive achievement by the whole department, especially to deliver this during the pandemic and turning everything online!
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I am currently a member of the REF2021 sub-panel for my subject field, which is a huge pleasure and a big responsibility for my community. I am also finishing up a wonderful research project, MIRRA, where we have worked with care experienced co-researchers and a commercial partner, OLM Systems, to develop a specification for a participatory recordkeeping system which will enable care leavers’ voices to be heard.
Last year we worked with Family Action to produce the web resource FamilyConnect, which helps adults who have been adopted or in care find answers to questions about their origins.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
I love classical music and opera, a Mahler symphony or a Mozart opera or Haydn chamber music would be favourites. I have so many favourite novels, but Jane Austen or the Brontes top the list.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
I don’t do jokes, it’s my weak spot!
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
I am still catching up with friends and family! I would be scared of one of those dinner parties full of famous people.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry so much, it will all work out OK in the end! Try to spend more time in the moment.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
If I need to clear my head, I go for a run, but I hope I never meet a work colleague on a run!
What is your favourite place?
The seaside – rain or shine. There are lots of wonderful coastal walks in the UK.