Diversity in Publishing

Unber Sheikh, a student on the MA in Publishing, writes about her time at Oxford Brookes and her participation in initiatives to encourage greater diversity in publishing:

When I applied for the MA in Publishing I underestimated the profound impact it would have on both my personal and professional development. Before applying I, like many, had felt the effects of this country’s worst economic downturn through an unexpected period of unemployment. During my job search, I came across the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University and applied hoping that it would help improve my situation. It’s one year on and I can honestly say that I have no regrets.

The MA in Publishing is a highly dynamic and versatile course. Throughout the year, lecturers would keep modules up to date according to industry news and trends. Student feedback was always encouraged and most importantly, acted upon. With the standing of OICPS in the publishing industry, networking opportunities were abundant with guest speakers, conferences, 'Working in Publishing Day,' and trips to book fairs. In fact, it was due to the Centre’s strong ties within the industry that I was able to secure my first work experience placement at Wiley-Blackwell.

During an 8-week placement in the SSH Content Management team at Wiley-Blackwell, I gained a thorough insight into the journals production process. Having previously worked as a Publications Assistant for a tri-annual journal, I was keen to understand more about production – an area I had little familiarity with. With the help and support of my team, talks were also set up with other areas of the business.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the course was how much it covered in such a short space of time. Not everyone on the course had a background in publishing; yet by the end of the year we had all developed the skills and confidence to present proposals for entirely new products.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the Publishing Training Centre Diversity Scholarship. For one year the PTCD Scholarship freed me from financial worries and motivated me to concentrate on my studies and make the most of my time at Brookes – an opportunity I am incredibly grateful for. The PTCD Scholarship has also made me aware of issues surrounding diversity in publishing. With this in mind, and the support of my lecturers, I applied and successfully secured a place on the Pearson Summer Diversity Internship Programme. I am currently halfway through the internship and it has proven to be a valuable transition from the MA into a real working environment. (There is also a Facebook page for the internship.)

I have been taught by kind and supportive lecturers and studied alongside hardworking and intelligent individuals. I have learnt so much and have now developed the skills and understanding to continue this learning process as I leave Brookes.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 16 Aug 2010 around 4pm

Filed Under Publishing