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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

SYP Conference: Publishing for the People

By Michaela O’Callaghan

We are beyond excited for this digital conference which is taking place from 15–21 November. Run by the excellent team at SYP Oxford, this conference is an excellent way to engage with the latest developments in the publishing industry.

Every conference has a theme based on the current priority areas within the industry. This year’s conference is called “Publishing for the People” and will not only celebrate the exciting world of publishing, but also interrogate the social responsibility of the industry, and ask what we can do as individuals to drive change.

There are three event streams at the event; “Inspire,” “Activate” and “Engage.”


Inspire events will take place between 15–18 November and will focus on how publishing hopefuls can get into the industry and how early career publishing professionals can progress. These events will explore how you can make job applications stand out and excel at the interview stage. Publishing is often considered a London-centric industry. However, this year the conference will include a brilliant panel event, including industry professionals such as Cat Mitchell, publishing lecturer at Derby University, which will shine a light on publishing across the UK.


The Activate stream will take place on Saturday 20 November. These events will focus on the topic of social responsibility and the importance of diversity within the industry.

Events include: “The Future of Sustainable Publishing,” “Next Generation Readers: Children's Literacy and Publishing,” “Tackling the Misinformation Issue” and “Bringing Inclusion and Representation to the Children’s Book Industry.”

Targeted towards early industry professionals and publishing hopefuls, these events will explore what is currently being done within the industry and the power we have as individuals to invoke change.


The Engage stream will be held on Sunday 21 November and will emphasise the need for adaptation and innovation.

Events will include an exploration of the art of negotiation and selling, an area of publishing that is often difficult to learn about as a publishing hopeful and a panel on publishing within the entertainment industry at large. For any budding marketers, there is a panel on Booktok which we cannot wait to watch!

We are beyond excited for the closing panel called “Activism and Activating Change” featuring our Editor in Chief of The Publishing Post. This panel will explore how individuals can create change within the industry through their attitudes and actions.

We are grateful for the opportunity to chat to Alicja Baranowska, Conference Co-Captain at SYP Oxford:

Are there any opportunities for virtual networking?

This year’s conference will be fully digital, however, we are hoping to include the networking event via Zoom break out rooms in order for the people to “meet” at least virtually. We will be also actively using all of our social media to interact with our lovely participants and answer any questions. For any queries, everyone can also reach out to and either me, or someone from my team will be happy to help!

How have you handled the challenges involved in organising a conference during a pandemic?

It has been a challenging endeavour for all of us, with the pandemic making us reassess the way we can make the conference as safe and as accessible to everyone as possible. While we are sorry we cannot make this conference physical, we are hoping that the virtual aspect will appeal to many, and will make the conference more accessible to those who wouldn’t be able to travel to Oxford otherwise.

What is the event you are most looking forward to?

So many! I’m excited to listen to "Change-makers in Children's Publishing: Bringing Inclusion and Representation to the Children’s Book Industry," which my colleague Sara has been working on. I work with both children’s and adult books, and I think this is such an important topic to talk about. But I also can’t wait for our other events, amongst others the negotiation workshop which I’m certain will be useful not only for those working in sales but also to anyone else in publishing.

How much will the conference cost to attend?

The cost of the conference ticket for SYP member is £15, and £20 for non-member. However, you can also purchase a SYP membership for a year with a ticket, which is probably the best value. If you’re a student, you also get a discount when purchasing a membership with a ticket.

We plan for all the events to be transcribed and you will be able to watch pre-recorded and live events on our website, with the recordings available until 31 December 2021.

Thank you so much to Alicja and the rest of the SYP Oxford team for organising the conference! To order tickets and find out more about the conference please find out more on their website.



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