International Conference of Independent Publishers

Meetings of the International Conference in Pamplona, 23-26 November, 2021

Practical information
• Dates : 23-26 November 2021
• In partnership with the Navarra Book Fair and the Association of Independent Publishers from Navarre
• 4 days of meetings, discussions and workshops in 4 languages (Basque, Spanish, French and English)
• Actors of the book ecosystem : publishers, booksellers, librarians, authors, etc.
• Academics
• Representatives of solidarity and civil society initiatives
• Representatives of public authorities
• 50 countries represented

Pamplona-Iruña Conference
This programme will be finalised in the weeks to come, considering the international, intercultural, and collective dimensions of the Alliance. The main themes of the Pamplona-Iruña meetings have been identified by independent publishers as priority issues for REthink. These issues are obviously related to the values that have driven the international network of the Alliance since its creation (solidarity, equity in relationships, rebalancing of flows, circulation of ideas, local creations and productions, fair speech, ecological concerns...) and are articulated with the 80 recommendations in favour of bibliodiversity formulated during the 2012-2014 conference.

See the program here !

Physical meetings, virtual window, sound archives
The meetings can be followed in streaming (via the virtual lounge and/or the Alliance’s YouTube channel). They will also be recorded and may be the subject of audiovisual editing, depending on the agreement with the participants. The conclusions of the roundtables and workshops will be disseminated afterwards to all participants.

Bibliodiversity ambassadors !
Bibliodiversity ambassadors are public figures who have agreed to amplify the voices of independent publishers, to accompany the reflections and practices of publishers, to defend and support bibliodiversity. The public figures are not yet known at the time of writing this program, but authors and other public figures have been invited and will be present at the meetings in Pamplona-Iruña. They will follow the meetings and will be able to produce texts or creations that will be inspired by the exchanges.

Presence of international independent publishers at the Navarra Book Fair
A collective stand dedicated to the invited international publishers will present the variety and diversity of independent production internationally. This collective stand will be a meeting place for readers but also a space for sales/ purchases/ trade of copyrights between invited and local professionals.

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International Conference of Independent publishers 2019-2021

The “Conference”, a snapshot of independent publishing worldwide
Since the creation of the International Alliance of independent publishers (an international network of 750 independent publishers from 55 countries around the world) in 2002, the “International Assemblies/ Conferences” have been held every four to eight years and bring together some 100 independent publishers from around the world : in 2003 in Dakar (Senegal) ; in 2007 in Paris (France) ; in 2014 in Cape Town (South Africa) and in 2021 in Pamplona-Iruña (Province of Navarre/ Spain).

They represent a landmark moment for international independent publishers, bringing together actors from all continents – they collectively provide a portrait of global independent publishing (Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Arab world and Oceania). They are a unique space for debate, meetings, and reflection on independent publishing – with no other equivalent worldwide.

Celebrate and REthink in 2021...
Between 2017 and 2018, when the Alliance network was planning and launching the 2019-2021 conference, the goals of this event were obvious : celebrating bibliodiversity and the work of independent publishers, REthinking the solidarity practices that we build through perseverance and determination, but also the relationships with other book professionals, and the relationships with readers.

This is obvious in view of the progress made since the last meeting in 2012-2014, but also in view of the experience of the Alliance, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2021.

2020, a global health crisis, a year of transformation
While the consequences of the health crisis are still difficult to assess in detail from an economic, social, and political vantage point, REthinking remains obvious but also becomes a necessity.
Why are independent publishers important actors in this period of crisis ? How do they accompany societal transformations and transitions at work ? What are the tools and practices that they put in place to apprehend the realities of tomorrow, to understand them ? In what ways do books and the ideas they convey help defend and preserve the diversity of creations, points of view, ideas ?

“Tomorrow’s” independent publishing ?
This Conference is thus a moment of documentation on the state of the world, an international mapping of the movements of transition and/or interruption.
Its objective is to question and inform discussions on the role of books – of ideas – as a social and emancipatory trajectory.
It is a space for reflection, sharing of experiences and practical know-hows concerning the issues of today and tomorrow : ecology, social economy, inclusive publishing, cultural platforming...
Finally, the Conference is a space of solidarity, trust, human relationships, and dialogues between cultures.

Process and phases of the Conference
The Conference of the Alliance is built of our own accord over a long period of time, against the often-frantic rhythm that has become the norm. It follows a common thread that has been running for 20 years within the Alliance : the issues defended by the Alliance since its creation are always prominent (solidarity, equity of relations, rebalancing of flows, circulation of ideas, local creations and productions, fair speech, ecological concerns...). These are the foundations on which the independent publishing movement is based and are addressed considering contemporary issues and debates.

They are built collectively, based on the work carried out since the 2021-2014 conference and the 80 ensuing recommendations, from feedback from professionals in the field of books, from monitoring independent publishing throughout the world, from regular dialogue with other cultural actors, but also from observation of practices, trends, and alternatives that emerge here and there.

The Conference is built on two levels (public and “internal”), which feed each other and are complementary.
A public level with an aim to meet, discuss, learn – which is embodied by meetings open to all (book professionals, readers, cultural actors, academics, civil society movements, etc.). It is about taking advantage of the space that the Alliance is to REthink practices, question the relationship of independent publishers to the current world, explore themes, allow each other utopias, look together to the future.
An internal level (focused on the Alliance network) to formulate recommendations and tools, to elaborate objectives for the upcoming period, to define and refine the governance of the network.

The conference is structured around working groups and thematic workshops set up since the 2012-2014 Conference of the Alliance (1/on public book policies ; 2/on the freedom of publishing ; 3/ on digital publishing ; 4/on publishing in local and national languages ; 5/on solidarity-based editorial partnerships ; 6/on the impacts of book donation practices).

Concretely, for the Alliance network, the aim is to achieve the following results for the period 2022-2025 :
• Recommendations (based on the 80 recommendations from the previous Conference but also in the context of the current crisis)
• Objectives and action plan for the period 2022-2025
• Adjustments and validation/ endorsement of the governance of the association

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Why an international Assembly 2012-2014 ?

"In this age of deep transformation, we wish to convene a meeting to reflect on our practices, listen to new ideas and include new generations of publishers who share our concerns. Considering two new factors – emergence of new digital actors and global financial crisis – we wish to question our role and reaffirm the issue of bibliodiversity.

In this spirit, we have decided to hold the International Assembly of Independent Publishers, which will be a series of preparatory and thematic workshops in 2013, closing with an Assembly of allies (general meeting) in 2014. The whole process will lead to :
* propositions and recommendations towards bibliodiversity aimed at public authorities ;
* cooperative and innovative publishing between independent publishers, based on equity principles ;
* new forms of partnerships with other professionals from the book industry meeting in the context of bibliodiversity.

Gathering more than 100 independent publishers from the five continents, the International Assembly of independent publishers is a unique event, professional and intercultural. Professionals, public authorities, institutions and civil society representatives are invited to join us to strengthen and keep bibliodiversity alive".

Paris, on 26 October 2012

by the International Committee of Independent Publishers :
Nouri Abid (Med Ali publishers, Tunisia),
Serge Dontchueng Kouam (Presses universitaires d’Afrique, Cameroon), Susan Hawthorne (Spinifex Press, Australia),
Hamid Medhipour (Forough Verlag, Germany),
Araken Ribeiro Gomes (Contra Capa, Brazil),
Juan Carlos Sáez (JC Sáez Editor, Chile)

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International Assembly 2012-2014, a guide

First step - 2013 preparatory workshops : from practices to propositions promoting bibliodiversity

Throughout 2013, independent publishers will meet in Latin America, Africa and Europe, in the context of preparatory and thematic workshops. The 2014 Assembly of Allies in Cape Town (South Africa) will close this process. These workshops have a trifold objective : develop and mutualise cooperative and innovative work practices between independent publishers ; sustainably strengthen professional capacities and human relations amongst the book industry’s actors ; formulate concrete propositions towards bibliodiversity.

The workshops will be held over three to five days, and are structured on a common template :
* Practical training (with the intervention of professionals and/ or specialists, depending on the themes) and knowledge and experience sharing based on concrete projects and little known initiatives ;
* Formulation of propositions and recommendations towards bibliodiversity.

For workshops to meet expectations, publishers will design their own daily programme, based on the local context in which they operate and on their concerns. As beneficiaries and actors, the transmission of practical knowledge and practices is at the heart of these days.

To enrich these workshops and promote cooperation, some professionals from the book industry, associative structures, and private and public institutions are invited to share original projects and unique experiences that could be repeated in the publishing sector.

The conclusions of each workshop are centralised by the International Committee of Independent Publishers – and redistributed to participants – to collectively build the 2014 Assembly of Allies’ agenda.

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Workshops 2012-2014 to promote bibliodiversity

Bibliodiversity in action in Guadalajara
In the context of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (Mexico)
24 to 28 November 2012

Book donation : A system to review
In the margins on the Paris Book Fair (France)
20 and 21 March 2013

African Youth Literature : What visibility on the international market ?
In the margins of the Bologna Book Fair (Italy)
23 and 24 March 2013

Local and national languages : What opportunities for publishing in Africa ?
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
11 to 13 June 2013

Fair Trade book : A real issue for tomorrow / Co-publishing, rights transfers and other solidarity publishing partnerships
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
14 to 17 June 2013

Diffusion of human and social sciences works : What innovative strategies to get what you want ?
In the margins of the Frankfurt Book Fair (Germany)
13 to 15 October 2013

Digital publishing : What issues for bibliodiversity in the Arab-speaking world ?
In the margins of the Abu Dhabi International Book fair
30 April to 3 May 2014

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The 2014 Assembly of allies in Cape Town : 62 independent publishers united for bibliodiversity

After the 2013 preparatory workshops, an Assembly of Allies will be held from 18 to 22 September 2014, in Cape Town, under the patronage of UNESCO.

In order to achieve this, and in line with practical case studies and sharing of practical knowledge during the workshops, it is essential for publishers to discuss the evolution of bibliodiversity in their countries and publishing houses since 2007 : How does bibliodiversity materialise itself on a daily basis for a Malian publisher, an Indian publisher, an Argentinian publisher ? How does independent publishing empowers itself in the various countries ? How does the publishing field in Madagascar, Peru or Afghanistan professionalise itself ?

The Assembly of Allies, a unique intercultural and multilingual space in the field of publishing, is in itself a reflection of international independent publishing. For four days, publishers will discuss their background, for some their struggle, share their experiences and the risks they face. Communication digital tools offer the possibility for publishers to be in regular and quasi instant contact – but they cannot replace human exchanges, essential to trust and solidary relations characteristic of a network such as the Alliance’s.

The Assembly of Allies is moreover a decisive moment for the Alliance’s governance : directions for the coming years, and the ensuing programme of activities, will be decided upon there, collectively.

In the spirit of long term capacity building of its members, the Alliance therefore continues to work towards an international solidarity professional network – to promote the circulation and access to works and ideas.

As a unique meeting, the Assembly of Allies primarily serves publishers’ desire to federate around common wishes : to promote and strengthen bibliodiversity together.

We thank our valued partners : Jacana Media (South Africa), Modjaji Books (South Africa), Open Book Festival (South Africa), French Institute in South Africa, Alliance française du Cap (South Africa), National Library of South Africa, Goethe Institut (South Africa), Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer (Switzerland), Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, région Ile-de-France (France), Centre national du livre (France), Fondation de France (France), Direction du développement et de la Coopération (Switzerland), French Institute in Lebanon, French Institute in Tunisia, Cooperación Regional Francesa para los Países Andinos (Bolivia), Canarias Cultura “Canarias crea” (Spain), Copyright Agency Cultural Fund (Australia), Centro Estero per l’Internazionalizzazione (Italy), Centre Universitaire de Recherches sur l’Action Publique et le Politique (CURAPP) / Université de Picardie Jules Verne (France)… and the publishers themselves !

Contact : assises@alliance-editeurs.org

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