By Michaela O’Callaghan
The first hybrid SYP conference is set to take place this month! This will take place over two days and is run by SYP Scotland. The first day will run on Friday 25 March in Edinburgh, the second will take place online on Saturday 26. This conference is sure to be a fantastic event for all publishing hopefuls looking to learn more about the industry. We spoke to Susie Butler, a conference lead at SYP Scotland.
Could you discuss the positives and challenges of running a hybrid event?
“Our theme for this year is “Future” and so having a hybrid format was really important to us. Planning has certainly been more complex and has required more work and a greater level of coordination. We’ve had to spend time on contingency planning and making sure that people feel comfortable attending an in-person event. We were very keen to have a hybrid event to maximise accessibility. Everyone has different needs and we’ve tried to cater to that. Whilst we adapted well last year, we missed the in-person aspect of attendee participation and networking. By providing both options, we hope our speakers and attendees can interact in the way they feel most comfortable. The hybrid option also gives us more opportunities to engage with a broader geographical range of panellists and attendees which leads to more diverse conversation.”
Are there any opportunities for networking?
“Yes! We’re really excited to be providing both in-person and digital networking opportunities. Our in-person networking session will take place at the end of our first day and we’ll be using a publishing bingo as a way of breaking the ice. Our Twitter networking session at the end of our second day will take the form of our popular monthly #SYPChat. This hour of networking will be an opportunity for publishing hopefuls and professionals to interact with regular discussion prompts from the @SYPScotland Twitter account. Networking can be a daunting activity for some, but we hope to create a relaxed environment where our attendees can participate and make useful contacts with confidence.”
Could you talk a bit more about the accessibility of the event?
“After last year’s digital conference, we wanted to move to a hybrid format to maximise accessibility for our attendees. We conducted a survey after the event last year and have done our utmost to implement the feedback given. We kept this at the forefront of our minds whilst selecting our venue and considering the format of our digital platform. The venue is accessible with step-free access and lifts. We will be offering limited free digital-only tickets for those from under-represented backgrounds or those whose income has been affected by the pandemic. Digital panels will have Otter AI-generated captions and transcripts will be available for any videos on request. We will also be live-tweeting panels and doing blog post-roundups. Videos of the in-person and digital panels will be available to all ticket holders until 31 May 2022.”
What are the events you are most looking forward to?
“We've done our best to think of panels from a broad cross-section of the publishing industry. These are aimed not just at publishing hopefuls, but those who have been in the industry for a number of years and are keen to explore other areas. From knowing your rights to spotting trends, the publishing landscape in Scotland to gender in the workplace and of course, we have something for everyone. We have some fantastic panellists lined up that we can’t wait to announce, but we’re really looking forward to welcoming our keynote speaker Amina Shah, National Librarian and Chief Executive of The National Library of Scotland and our first announced panel “Something to Scout About” which will delve into the mysterious roles of literary agents and scouts.
How has your team considered the topic of diversity within publishing?
“The lack of diversity within publishing is no secret. Within the industry, we often do a lot of talking about this problem, but don’t take a lot of action. For this reason, instead of having specific panels focussed on diversity, we’ve worked with our inclusivity officer and have done our best to include a diverse range of speakers on every panel. We hope that in doing so we are being as inclusive as possible and we can generate discussion that is naturally diverse in thought and opinion. An issue we feel we wanted to address directly this year was gender discrimination in publishing. The panel “Our Genderation” will tackle the continued challenges faced and what action we can take to improve things.”
Thank you so much for talking to us Susie! This conference will be an exciting addition to your calendar, whether you decide to turn up virtually, in-person, or both! You can buy tickets here from £15+. Limited free digital-only tickets for those from under-represented backgrounds or those whose income has been affected by the pandemic are available on a first come, first served basis. Please email email@example.com to request these.