London Book Fair: Pandemic Issues Play Into Education Conference

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The first of June’s four London Book Fair conferences, the ‘What Works?’ education conference, will take a series of looks at educational issues arising from the pandemic.

A new stone carving of a masked National Health Service (NHS) worker has appeared at Christchurch Priory in Dorset, this image of it made on March 26. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Fat Man Photo UK

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘EdTech That Works’ and More
Aweek ago, London Book Fair announced its plan to expand its digital presence in June well beyond its originally announced dates.

The first effort is a series of four conferences in the week of June 7 before taking a pause the following week to let the Bologna Children’s Book Fair play through. The program then picks back up to run June 22 to July 1.

London’s registration is open, here. In a standard year in which the event is held at Olympia London, the fair will draw some 20,000 professional publishing players. It’s an industry event, a trade show, not a public-facing book fair or festival.

The four conferences going into the June 7 week are:

  • “Introduction to Rights,” June 7
  • “The Writers’ Summit,” June 8
  • The “What Works?” education conference, June 9
  • The “Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum,” June 10

And today’s information (May 14) from Reed Exhibitions is about the plans for the latter two of those first week’s four conferences, “What Works?” on June 9 and the “Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum” on June 10.

For more information and bookings, the conferences page of the London Book Fair site is here.

‘What Works?’ Education Conference

June 9, 13:00 to 16:30 BST (12:00 to 15:30 GMT / 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. ET)
Ticket price: £75 (US$105.75)

Familiar to regular London Book Fair goers, this is a half-day conference that tends to pay strong attention to issues in edtech, which of course turns out now to have been a useful years-long runway to the concerns of the 2021 iteration and a logical deep focus on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.

This year dwelling on remote learning and many markets’ return to classrooms, the theme of the conference is “COVID-19: A Catalyst for Change?” and the program is being curated by Linden Harris, who is managing director of Insight & Perspective, Ltd. based in Stonehouse and Tewkesbury.

The conference is to be chaired by Lindsay Nadin, director of primary learning services at Pearson.

A keynote address is expected from Neelam Parmar, director of educational technology, digital learning, and innovation at AISL Harrow Schools in Asia. She’s a member of the DfE EdTech advisory board group.

Sessions and speakers provided to us today are:

  • “Responding to the need for remote learning in Uganda: Lessons learned and building back better”: Emily Goulborn and Daniel Omaya, Promoting Equality in African Schools
  • “Insights from case studies and research with schools during lockdown”: Sam Derby, Oriel Square Publishing and Strategy
  • “Panel discussion: EdTech that works; lessons from edtech suppliers and the classroom”: Dan Sandhu of Sparx
  • “Opportunities and challenges for teachers and students in the post-lockdown classroom”: Rob Chambers of the Astrea Academy Trust and St. Ivo Academy
Research and Scholarly Forum

June 10, 09:30 to 13:00 BST (08:30 to 12:00 GMT / 4:30 to 7 a.m. ET)
Ticket price: £75 (US$105.75)

This year’s conference program is devised to “explore the realities of open access with the theme ‘Shared Vision? Shared Destiny? How Open Are We?'”

The conference will be chaired by Alicia Wise from Information Power. Wise has created the program and is to be joined by Steven Inchcoombe, chief publishing and solutions officer at Springer Nature. 

David Sweeney, executive chair at Research England and Sudeshna Sarkar, professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur are to give keynote addresses.

Speakers are to include:

  • Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome Trust
  • Vanessa Proudman, director at SPARC Europe
  • Rod Cookson, managing director at IWA Publishing
  • Diana Chan, library director at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

Wiley is sponsoring the Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum, and Research Information is the conference’s media partner.

The Coronavirus in the United Kingdom

Concerning news today in pandemic news from the UK. Jason Douglas is writing for the Wall Street Journal from London, “The UK’s plans to cast off almost all public-health restrictions next month are in peril after a highly contagious coronavirus variant first identified in India sparked new clusters of COVID-19, highlighting the risk of outbreaks even in countries where vaccination is widespread.”

Considered by world public health experts to be a sharp warning to countries now moving fast to loosen restrictions, the news of the B.1.617.2 variant’s aggressive spread is being watched carefully. Douglas reports that more than 1,200 cases and four deaths have been linked to this variant as of May 12, and that it came into the UK, of course, among travelers from India.

“British scientists now think B.1.617.2 is more transmissible than B.1.1.7,” Douglas writes.

Emma Harrison at BBC News is echoing the North American reports within the hour of this story’s publication, writing of Boris Johnson having said today, “The Indian variant could pose ‘serious disruption’ to lockdown easing in England on 21 June.”

At this writing, the 3:20 p.m. ET Monday update (2020 GMT Wednesday) of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees 4,462,599 cases in the UK’s population of 67 million, with 127,930 fatalities. Those numbers place the market at No. 7 in the world in caseload. The UK has administered 55,836,564 vaccine doses.


More from Publishing Perspectives on London Book Fair is here, more from us on book fairs is here, more on the UK market is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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