Arts & Literary Magazines Summit

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Yes, it’s back! On Thursday, April 25, participate in a full day dedicated to arts and literary magazine publishers. This year’s Summit is curated by editor and writer Lindsay Nixon and hosted by writer, artist and journalist Angela Sterritt. Be prepared for a stimulating deep dive into the theme of “Transformations”.

Canadian publishing is facing new and challenging issues. In the last several years, it has witnessed reconciliatory public funding mandates, the #MeToo Movement, Black Lives Matter, and a plethora of other social issues that have influenced a period of rapid transformation in the field. How could magazines take advantage of topical conversations by working in community-engaged ways? Could publications run more ethically to influence change and make space for the voices at the centre of contemporary political issues? How are magazines better editing in response to current social issues to increase readership, circulation, and subscription demographics? Is it possible for magazines to do profitable work that is ethical, reciprocal, and responsible to editors’ communities, writers, organizations, and all groups engaged by the publication process?

This full-day event is included with a full MagNet pass or available as a separate purchase. If you have any questions about the Summit, please contact Evan Dickson at

For more information on pricing, click here.

This year’s Arts & Literary Magazines Summit Agenda

9:00 am

Keynote Speaker: Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott’s forthcoming book A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, out spring 2019 through Penguin Randomhouse, is one of the most highly anticipated texts of the year. In her short but potent career, Elliott has already transformed Canadian literary industries through Indigenous activism, and situated herself as a respected public figure, editor, and writer. Elliott will respond to a year in Indigenous activisms and reflect upon how that activism has played out in Canadian literary communities.

9:45 am

Relationship Building Show and Tell: Britt Gallpen, Peter Morin, Gwen Benaway

Several publications in Canada did outstanding collaborative work in 2018 with Indigenous communities to publish superior arts and literary content. Three editors will reflect on a single issue they edited in 2018, and the outcomes, processes, and challenges involved in working in consensual and collaborative ways with Indigenous communities.

10:45 am


11:00 am

Publishing the #MeToo Movement: Kai Cheng Thom, Chelene Knight, Zoe Whittall. Moderator Bianca Spence.

Canadian audiences are demanding content about the burgeoning #MeToo movement in Canada. But an increase in discourse and writing about gender equity in Canadian publishing has also created new challenges for publications wanting to support the #MeToo movement. For instance, what are the legal challenges publications face when publishing #MeToo content? And how can editors and publishers better support writers addressing gender misconduct in the industry?

12:00 pm


1:00 pm

Rethinking Style Guides: Saima Desai, Hannah McGregor, George Abraham. Moderator Samia Madwar

Style guides are not static: they are living, like our communities. And like anything that supports our communities, style guides should be evolved and adapted over time. Canadian style guides should stay attune with current social movements to evolve diverse responses to a wide range of peoples, experiences, and situations. Editors, writers, and publishing experts will discuss the urgency of reflexive and adaptive style guides in Canadian publishing.

2:00 pm

Innovative and Ethical Partnerships: Nicholas Brown, Bryne McLaughlin

Join the Canadian Art Foundation for a conversation on the role of strategic partnerships and programming initiatives in the support of nonprofit publishing. How can vertical publications and small arts magazines support challenging and critical writing through partnerships that reflect their values, missions and mandates?

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

How to Find New Contributors: Jessica Johns, Brett Cassady Willes

Editors are increasingly using inventive avenues to publish unique content from burgeoning critical voices. For instance, Twitter and Instagram have become mainstays in any successful editorial process—a far cry from the the insular communities of Canadian publishing’s past. Editors who have gained attention for their smart and “finger-on-the-pulse” content will discuss how they approach commissioning.

4:15 pm

Respondent: Chelene Knight

Award-winning author and managing editor of Room, Chelene Knight will reflect on the day’s discussion.

4:35 pm

Cocktail Reception

Don’t run off before you share a snack and a bevvie with your arts & literary peers from across the country. You might not see them again until next year!