Feedback - Lacey Decker - John Henry Brookes Scholarship 2008

Lacey Decker was awarded a John Henry Brookes Scholarship in 2008. She writes below of her experiences on the MA Publishing programme at Oxford Brookes.

My decision to apply for the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University was prompted by my first foray in publishing during my final year of my undergraduate degree at Canada's Memorial University of Newfoundland. Together with a final-year colleague, we obtained a grant from the Faculty of Arts and undertook the publication of an independent collection of creative writing and photography that we titled Paragon, which ultimately contained local, national and international contributors.

I jumped into that experience not having any idea what to expect from the publishing process, and had a very rapid introduction as to what it meant to receive and edit submissions, market and publicize a new book, as well as tackle design and production issues. The experience of bringing a book into the world entailed some of the hardest work I'd done, but also brought such a great sense of enjoyment and satisfaction - that initial adventure made me sure of choosing a career in publishing.

Saying I've learned a lot since coming to Oxford Brookes in September would be an understatement: proofreading and copyediting skills from the editorial side of things; how books and paper are actually manufactured from production; effective marketing strategies and how to buy and sell rights; among a host of other things. The coursework is only one facet of the MA in Publishing, however. There are many opportunities to meet, talk and network with people from all areas of the publishing industry at various events - publishing is nothing if not a very social business! These connections can also lead to work experience, and luckily, living in Oxford gives you plenty of opportunity to obtain internships at many publishing houses in Oxford itself, as well as London.

I had a number of work experience positions during the MA. During the fall term I worked in the marketing department at HarperCollins in London working on promoting books from their imprints like Harper Perennial, 4th Estate, Harper Press and Blue Door. In the same semester, I also took on the responsibility for the design and layout of the Oxford Women in Politics (OxWIP) biannual journal, Tone. In the winter, I worked one day a week at the Independent Alliance publisher, Icon Books. Currently, and for the duration of the summer, I have a placement at Berg Publishers based in Oxford working in the editorial department for the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The work experience very much allows what you're learning in the classroom to translate into a real-world environment, and it's always encouraging to see publishers impressed with what you've been learning through the coursework and classes.

Being awarded the John Henry Brookes Scholarship has been a great help to me in paying the tuition fees and improved the financial circumstances of moving overseas. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to study at Oxford Brookes, and along with the benefits of the course and work experience, meeting seventy-five fellow students from all over the world has truly been the best aspect of the programme. I would encourage anyone with an interest in publishing to complete this master's course and see where it takes you.

Posted on 08 Jun 2009 around 12pm

Filed Under MA PublishingPublishing Work ExperienceScholarship and Funding