Arts & Literary Magazines Summit

Event Date: 21st September 2019

Time: 10:00AM – 4:30PM
Location: Varscona Hotel, Rutherford 1 Room, 8208 106 Street, Edmonton AB, T6E 6R9

Some days it can feel like no one could possibly understand your workplace challenges. AMPA wants to put you around a table with the people who get it. Our arts and literary magazine summit aims to bring you face-to-face with your peers and other industry professionals who understand the ins and out of your role, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from successfully navigating the demanding world of magazine publishing.

The summit will offer AMPA members an opportunity to collaborate and share best practices through case studies, presentations and expert-led roundtable discussions. Bring your proven solutions, and your questions, and prepare to learn from each other and from industry experts.

Join a group of experienced publishers led by Geist publisher, AnnMarie MacKinnon, and staff from AMPA member arts and literary magazines to discuss a wide range of topics including:

  • How to diversify revenue streams
  • How to create space, time and money for staff, interns and volunteers
  • A keynote presentation on creativity

Registration Fees
AMPA Member: $75
Non-Member: $150
*Includes lunch. Please contact with any dietary restrictions.

For out of town registrants, you can book a preferred room rate at the Varscona Hotel through here.

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Creating Space, Time and Money for Interns & Volunteers with Graeme Dearden, Volunteer Alberta
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Most small magazines are reliant on volunteers and interns and have very small (if any!) staff. In this session, we’ll learn how to create meaningful projects and skills-based volunteer positions that are mutually beneficial for both volunteers and organizations. We’ll also learn about how to ensure that approaches to volunteer engagement hold space for and encourage folks from underrepresented groups to fully take part in working with cultural magazines.

Ch-Ch-Changes: How Geist has Survived for 29 Years with AnnMarie MacKinnon, Geist
11:00AM – 12:00PM
Geist magazine started in 1990 and a lot has changed in the magazine industry since then. Geist’s current publisher, AnnMarie MacKinnon, will take you through the magazine’s twenty-nine-year history and talk about succession planning and organizational change, the evolution of the magazine’s processes and systems, editorial policies and house style, HR, and favourite leaps and missteps.

Keynote with Jordan Abel
12:00PM – 12:45PM

12:45 – 1:30PM

Diversifying Your Revenue Streams Panel with Meghan Bell, Room; AnnMarie MacKinnon, Geist; Matthew Blackett, Spacing
1:30PM – 2:20PM
In this panel session, led by Meghan Bell, we’ll talk about some of the ways small arts & literary magazines can bring in revenue (and save money!), including fundraising campaigns; events; sponsorships, and grants. Come prepared with questions and your own best practices to share.

Case Study: Make New Friends and Revenue the Spacing Way with Matthew Blackett, Spacing
2:30PM – 3:30PM
This workshop aims to highlight the ways a magazine can generate revenue outside the ‘regular’ realm of publishing. Showcasing a variety of strategies, Spacing’s Matthew Blackett will shed light on how he helped stabilize his magazine’s finances in turbulent times by exploring new business opportunities that reach new audiences and engage readers.

Hot Takes from Your Colleagues with everyone, knowledge exchange
3:40PM – 4:30PM

What have you learned that could really help your colleagues? How have you really messed up, and what would you share about the experience that might prevent a colleague from encountering the same pitfall? What kind of tools do you use to get more done or make your magazine’s processes smoother?

In this facilitated session, attendees will have the opportunity to mix and learn from one another. Everyone will determine one thing they or their organization does well (or one failure!), and one thing they’d like to learn from their colleagues. We’ll break into small groups. For each group a facilitator (the speakers from other sessions) will guide a conversation in a particular publishing domain (editorial, circulation, fundraising, marketing/social media, HR, etc.). After 15–20 minutes, we’ll each move to another group to join a new conversation. Come ready with questions and to share what you know.



Jordan Abel is a Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize),Un/inhabited, and Injun (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize). Abel’s latest project NISHGA (forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart in 2020) is a deeply personal and autobiographical book that attempts to address the complications of contemporary Indigenous existence and the often invisible intergenerational impact of residential schools. Abel recently completed a PhD at Simon Fraser University, and is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta where he teaches Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing.


Meghan Bell is the publisher of Room magazine, the marketing and development manager of the Growing Room literary festival, and a freelance grant writer for events such as the Honda Celebration of Light, the Skookum Festival, JFL NorthWest, and Women Deliver Culture Night. Meghan has coordinated and collaborated on multiple projects aimed to grow Room magazine’s influence and diversify its revenues. Over the course of nearly a decade, these projects have helped the magazine transform from a small volunteer-run publishing collective to a diverse literary and advocacy organization supporting multiple paid staff members, including a full-time managing editor. She is also a writer, cartoonist, and poet, and has appeared in publications across Canada and the United States, including Grain, Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly, Joyland, and Rattle. Her first short story collection will be published by Book*hug in 2021.


Matthew Blackett is the publisher, creative director, and co-founder of Spacing magazine, and was named 2007 Editor of the Year by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors. Since its inception, Spacing has been named Canadian Small Magazine of the Year six times, Best Canadian Magazine Blog, Best Canadian Magazine Web Site, and has been nominated for 20 National Magazine Awards. Matthew has collaborated with a number of publications and organizations including CBC Radio and TV, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and others, and is a strong advocate for Toronto, having been awarded the 2007 Canadian Urban Leadership Award for “City Soul” for his part in creating Spacing magazine.


AnnMarie MacKinnon is the publisher and editor in chief of Geist magazine. She has worked in both magazine and book publishing for over fifteen years in a number of editorial and marketing positions, including for Edible Vancouver and Douglas & McIntyre. She has also worked as a freelance writer and editor.




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