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08.05.2015 | SSP News & Releases

Catch the story behind the graphic murals at SSP’s 37th annual meeting

Great team effort moving a novel idea from concept to reality!
by Kuntan Dhanoya

This year at Society for Scholarly Publishing’s annual meeting, we all saw ideas get shaped into an artistic canvas. These never seen before murals caught everyone’s attention and energized the ambience. Illustrator and graphic recorder Greg Gersch and his team brought to life the theme and essence of the meeting by literally sketching the New Big Picture as the meeting unfolded. Attendees took delight in this artistic treat and talked about it on various social media.

Here is how the New Big Picture ideas journeyed to the canvas. The Program Committee was looking for an activity that would reflect the theme of the event and fuel more excitement, value, and engagement among attendees. The theme “The New Big Picture: Connecting Diverse Perspectives” was screaming for a visual component, and so was born the idea of roping in a graphic recorder.

Graphic recorders work live, so Gersch could easily cover the Ken Auletta and Jenny Lawton keynotes. But the question was how could Gersch cover the happenings during the six concurrent sessions? The essential insights of the event get shared in these sessions and the Program Committee wanted to make sure that these themes and takeaways were captured too.

Since there was no feasible way for Gersch to be in all sessions at once, he was setup in the foyer outside the exhibit hall. Passersby were polled about “What was your Eureka moment?” and “What’s driving change in scholarly publishing?” Gersch was very flexible and helped the committee develop ideas on covering such a large meeting. The committee used Twitter as a way to encourage participation and increase awareness, while Gersch and his helpers monitored the #ssp2015 twitter hashtag for inspiration. The Allen Press staff was very supportive in promoting the images and recruiting ideas throughout the meeting.

Eventually, the big pictures contributed to the conversation by bringing to color the ideas of the speakers as well as the participants. The novel approach taken by the Program Committee and Gersch did a fantastic job of converting the complex topics into simple and beautiful visuals and captured the attention of attendees who shared their thoughts on various questions and turned this initiative into a success.

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