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University Publishers to Gather Virtually

Previewing AUPresses 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting

The Association of University Presses 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting will be held from June 7 to June 18. Building on the success of the association’s first virtual Annual Meeting last summer, which drew nearly 800 attendees, the conference will once again bring mission-driven scholarly publishing professionals together to network and share their experiences, ideas, and knowledge.

The 2021 Annual Meeting Program Committee, chaired by Jocelyn Dawson (Duke University Press), has worked to prepare a program that speaks to the challenges and opportunities of the current moment. “The past year has been defined by perseverance, resilience, and reinvention,” the committee writes, “and our work as publishers has taken on urgent new meaning in the face of injustice and pandemic.”  

The conference’s keynote speakers will offer distinct perspectives on the foundational question of how university presses might create a more equitable and just society by imagining new forms of knowledge production and collaboration. They are:

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, creator of the landmark 1619 Project, and cofounder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, an organization dedicated to increasing the ranks of investigative reporters of color.
  • In conversation with Hannah-Jones, Jeffrey Stewart, professor of Black Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara and author most recently of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press), winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.
  • Lisa Lucas, senior vice president of Pantheon and Schocken Books, who was also the youngest person, first woman, and first person of color to be the executive director of the National Book Foundation (2016-2020).
  • Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, a queer disabled femme writer, cultural worker, and educator, whose most recent books include their fourth collection of poetry, Tonguebreaker, and Beyond Survival, a reader on the transformative justice movement co-edited with Ejeris Dixon.

Also featured will be Jorik Mol, an autistic trainer, speaker, mentor, and activist based in the UK. He has worked in the UK’s National Health Service as an autistic advocate and now works independently. He is a member of the Autistica Insight Group through which he contributes to academic research that benefits the autistic and neurodivergent communities.

Sessions on “The Change You Wish to See: Acquiring Editors as Agents of Transformation,” “Making Content Accessible,” and “Addressing and Meeting the Needs of BIPOC Authors” will address equity and justice in the scholarship our community publishes. Panels on “Early Career Pay Equity and Inclusivity” and “Career Strategies for the Mid-Career Professional,” along with the annual Mellon Diversity Fellows Forum, will advance ideas for building workplace equity. Numerous networking breaks are also planned.

Session presenters are also expected to share successful strategies for collaborating with campus and community, advocating for the humanities, and working with independent booksellers as cultural partners. Others will explore different models for open access, examine changes in library purchasing, and offer cross-departmental advice on developing competitive regional trade books. Virtual exhibit booths will provide attendees opportunities to learn more about publishing innovations from a number of service providers.

In addition, the AUPresses community will celebrate this year’s Book, Jacket, and Journal Show with a session featuring several of this year’s judges. This annual juried competition honors the design and production teams whose work furthers a long tradition of excellence in university press publication design.

A preliminary program is available online and registration is now open.

About the Association of University Presses

AUPresses is an organization of 160 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, the Association of University Presses advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds intellectual freedom, integrity, stewardship, and equity and inclusion as core values. AUPresses members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.

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Vi fremmer den vigtige indsats hos en verdensomspændende sammenslutning af forlag, hvis væsentligste opgave er at sikre fremragende akademisk arbejde og styrke vidensformidling.

— AUPresses Mission Statement in Danish