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Three Take Aways from #IPGAC 2023

On 20th September 2023, IPG members gathered for the IPG Autumn Conference 2023. Some of the biggest topics in publishing were discussed in inspiring talks, informative breakouts, engaging workshops and plentiful networking opportunities. A few of the recurring themes throughout the day were AI and technology, long-term planning, and empowering women in publishing.



1. “There is almost no area of publishing that is unaffected by AI”, George Walkley.

Independent consultant, publishing expert and academic researcher, George Walkley  kicked off discussion on this popular topic, considering the challenges and opportunities for progress in ‘AI in Action’. A sentiment of this session which was echoed throughout the day was that while AI might seem intimidating, it is also “too useful to get rid of”, Searsha Sadek, @Shimmr_AI.

Sarah Faulder, Chief Executive of Publishers’ Licensing Services, and James Bennett, Head of Rightsholder Relations at Copyright Licensing Agency, discussed AI’s implications from a rights perspective. Considering the big question: ‘Where Next for AI?’, Faulder argued that to become the world leader in AI our government aims for us to be, “policy must establish the rights of the originators of content; those rights must be enforced”. Bennett and Faulder both emphasised the crucial importance of establishing comprehensive policies around AI licensing and data mining.

These speakers each underlined the importance of approaching generative AI proactively and striving to understand its uses and limitations within publishing.


2. We are seeing a “growing need for businesses to think long term” (Mary Cannam)

In the morning, Diana Broccardo , Managing Director and Founder, Swift Press, stressed that “The books we publish can change the world for the better”. Looking broadly at some key issues which impact sales, production and other elements of the publishing industry. Publishing must consider its impact on future generations in terms of sustainability, education, and engagement.

In ‘Leaders in Publishing’s Big Issues’, Mary Cannam, Managing Director, Faber and Faber, stressed the need for a holistic approach which considers long-term value beyond mere economic growth.

Helen Kogan, Kogan Page emphasized the significance of participating in action groups, not only for independent companies but also to provide input to policymakers. She stressed the importance of collaborating with collective licensing organizations to shape AI and IP policies for long term planning, especially in the current landscape.

All these speakers underscored the significance of long-term, transparent, and holistic strategies to procuring and empowering talent from the next generations as well, moving towards future proofing publishing.


3. “Leave the door open and a ladder down”.

The Female Leadership session emphasized the importance of addressing obstacles faced by women in the workplace through a multi-faceted approach. Delving deeper into what it means to “leave the door open and the ladder down”, Suzy Astbury, Inspired Selection, and Cassie Rocks, The FLIP discussed the ways which everyone in the workplace can do their bit to empower and enable women in publishing.

Madeleine Albright’s famous phrase encapsulates the idea that companies should actively support female staff by providing financial resources, management strategies, and mentorship opportunities. As well as considering how individuals can combat diminished confidence, imposter syndrome, microaggressions and other barriers women and cross-marginalised groups have to face regularly.

Overall, the message encouraged proactive efforts to champion female leadership and diversity, offering recommendations such as giving credit where it is due and actively mentoring others.