CFP: Publishing Futures

CFP: Publishing Futures

The 2022 Independent Publishing Conference
24-26 November, 2022 as a hybrid conference at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, and on Zoom.

Book publishing is a forward-thinking cultural sector. There is no shortage of articles, Twitter posts, and think pieces discussing emerging publishing trends and speculating about the future of publishing. Predictions over the eventual dominance of ebooks seemed to put the future of the print book at stake. Beyond the ‘format wars’, digital technologies and platforms have transformed the publishing landscape. Recent editorial resignations at big houses have sparked discussions around the prospects of publishing professionals’ careers, highlighting labour issues in publishing that lead to exploitation, overwork, and burnout, particularly of junior and mid-level employees. Networked publics and literary organisations alike, from #WeNeedDiverseBooks to the Stella Prize, work to address the historical exclusion and marginalisation of non-hegemonic groups in book publishing and towards an industry that is more inclusive. Within the context of the pandemic and the industry’s ‘new normal’, we are faced with questions over how COVID-19 has impacted the production, circulation and reception of book publishing.

Thoughts of the future are often shaped by philosophies — optimism, idealism, pessimism — and inflected by emotion — excitement, hope, worry, concern, dread, anticipation. As we look to the future of publishing, we must also examine the industry’s past and present. We seek papers that engage with the theme of publishing futures, from now or at any point in publishing’s history. What pathways are being built and what publishing futures should be created? Although our preference is for papers that focus on independent publishing, presentations on all aspects of publishing are welcome. We are also interested in papers from related disciplines, such as literary studies, creative writing, platform studies, and media and communication studies. Graduate students and early career researchers are encouraged to submit. We also strongly encourage papers that engage playfully or creatively with the conference theme.

 Possible topics include:

  • What are the limits and possibilities of different book formats in the future?
  • How do we ensure the future of publishing is inclusive, within publishing structures and lists?
  • What is the role of data in shaping the future of book publishing and how have technological innovations and the platformization of publishing transformed the trajectory of the industry?
  • What does the future look like for independent publishers, in Australia and globally?
  • How will the pandemic continue to impact the future of publishing and what should publishing’s ‘new normal’ look like?
  • How can labour systems in the industry be transmogrified to ensure a sustainable future for publishing professionals?
  • What do publishing histories tell us about the future of publishing?
  • How might the relationship between publishing and social media develop in the future?
  • What is the future of publishing studies and what theoretical and methodological innovations might the future of publishing studies welcome?
  • What are the possibilities of translation in an increasingly globalised and platformised publishing industry?

Academic panels will be held on Thursday 24 November.

We invite proposals by Friday 1 July 2022. Proposals should contain an abstract of 200-300 words. Please include your paper title, institutional affiliation, bio-note, contact details, whether you anticipate participating in-person or online, and any social media handles in the abstract.

Submissions and enquiries should be sent to Claire Parnell ([email protected]). The Independent Publishing Conference is proudly supported by the Copyright Agency.