In October 2011, 32 students from the MA Publishing programme at Oxford Brookes visited the Frankfurt Book Fair, where they took in the range of activities and events at the largest trade fair for publishing in the world. They also had meetings on stand with a number of publishers including Bloomsbury, Dorling Kindersley, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macmillan, New Internationalist, Pearson, and Perseus Books. Neil Munro, MA Publishing student, writes about his experiences:
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Sophie Hall, studying for the MA Publishing at Oxford Brookes, writes about the conference of the Society of Young Publishers held on Saturday 19 November 2011. The conference title was Press Forward: Updating an Outdated Industry – the programme was put together by Aaron O’Dowling Keane, who graduated from the master’s at Brookes in 2010.
Abigail Pukaniuk and Daniel Parker, the two recipients from Oxford Brookes in 2010 of bursaries from the Stationers’ Foundation, were made Freemen of the City livery company on Monday 24 October 2011. Abigail and Daniel have now graduated from the MA Publishing. At the same ceremony, the 2011 bursary recipients, including Emma Griffin from Oxford Brookes, were called forward by Nick Steidl, Chairman of the Foundation, to receive their certificates.
The poet Wilfred Owen was killed on 4 November 1918 at Ors in the north of France, seven days before the Armistice was announced. His parents received the news on Armistice Day itself.
His house has now been turned into an ‘imaginary building’ – a work of art by Simon Pattinson – leaving untouched the cellar in which Owen wrote his last letter home to his mother. ‘There is no danger down here - or if any, it will be well over before you read these lines.’ In a recent R4 programme, Bleached Bone and Living Wood, Jane Potter, Senior Lecturer at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, was interviewed about the conversion of the house. She was also interviewed in the Oxford Times.
On 3rd and 4th November a conference was held in Bucharest, Romania, with the title ‘Ebook revolution – challenges and perspectives’. Angus Phillips, Director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University, gave two presentations, ‘The Digital Tide in the UK’ and ‘Digital Currents: Issues and opportunities’.
He talked about the pace of change in the UK, with growing sales of ebooks, and the corresponding changes around workflow and the skills required of publishing professionals. Other speakers included Miha KovaÄ, publisher at the Mladinska knjiga Group in charge of the company’s digital strategy and Professor at the Department of Information Science at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Rüdiger Wischenbart of Wischenbart Consulting and lecturer at the University of Vienna.
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The British Book Design and Production Awards 2011 were celebrated at a glittering gala evening, held at the Lancaster London Hotel on Tuesday 8 November, with the great and the good of the publishing industry in attendance. The awards took the theme of Once Upon a Time whilst the celebrity host for the event was Tony Hawks, TV and radio comedian and bestselling author. He is the author of Round Ireland with a Fridge - the story of his quest to hitch round the circumference of Ireland within a month ... with a fridge.
The awards are designed to represent everything that is best in British book design and are seen as the flagship event in the industry’s year. A Book of Britain was selected to win the Book of the Year prize out of the winners of 16 other categories at the awards, supported by the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), Oxford Brookes University, and the Publishers Association. Published by HarperCollins, the book is written by countryside campaigner Sir Johnny Scott. The judging panel, made up of industry experts, said it won for its ‘glorious feel-good factor’ and ‘great choice of materials and images’.
The MA Publishing programme has high rates of employability on completion, and many publishers actively look out for our graduates. There are some companies which take a large number of our students each year, and a good example is Taylor & Francis, a leading academic publisher. From the class of 2010 they took 13 students, who all met up recently for lunch.
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On 26 September, Angus Phillips, Director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University, gave the invited Whitcombe Lecture at the annual conference of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). The conference was held at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. The lecture, entitled ‘Sitting by Nellie: The rise of publishing education’, covered the growth of publishing education, its industry links, and how publishing studies is developing as an academic discipline. The topic of the lecture fitted in with the overall conference theme of Skills, Freelancing, Education, Practice – a range of workshops took place over the two days of the conference.
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Angus Phillips, Director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes, spoke last weekend at the London Design Festival. He was on a panel which examined the question, ‘What is to become of books?’ He argued that we have now gone past the discussion about the death of the book – readers are actively reading books on screen. We should now be looking at the possibilities for innovation, either in digital form or in print. He talked of the new terminology in publishing, from pbooks to ebooks, from vanilla ebooks to born digital projects.
In partnership with Peking University, the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (OICPS) recently held a forum on the copyright trade between the UK and China. Held on the 29 August at Peking University in Beijing, the forum brought together a range of speakers and participants from both industry and academia.
From OICPS Angus Phillips and Adrian Bullock both gave presentations. Adrian Bullock presented the results of his recent research into the copyright trade, and showed that the trade gap is narrowing with more Chinese titles being sold into the UK. In 2003-04 the ratio of Chinese imports of copyrights to exports was 15:1; In 2010 it was nearer to 5:1. Overall UK publishers are still disappointed by the size of the Chinese market, in terms of the often modest print runs and low local prices. Although STM, ELT, and children’s publishing are all doing well, China is still outside the top twenty markets for British publishers, and accounts for less than 2 per cent of export revenues.
Amongst the speakers at the forum were Professor Xiao Dongfa from Peking University, Nie Zhen Ning, President of China Publishing Group, and Jackie Huang, a Brookes alumna now working for the Andrew Nurnberg agency in Beijing. The next forum will be held in Oxford in April 2012
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