OPuS goes Brazilian for one night only
Two MA Publishing students, Aaron Dowling Keane and Joseph Kreuser, write about their experiences at the recent OPuS (The Oxford Publishing Society) International Evening.
Balloons, beer, footballs, Samba and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better - they brought out doughnuts and chocolate sauce. The OPuS International Evening 2010 took Brazil as its muse and so Brazilian flags hung proudly in the fashionable offices of Blake Lapthorn. The big and small publishing houses of Oxford were in attendance, along with a number of law firms and of course representatives from the Oxford Brookes MA in Publishing course. After the requisite mingling, nibbling and sipping, students Clarice (Brazil) and Natalia (Russia) took the floor. Both spoke about their experiences of publishing in Brazil and the importance of being open minded to the new and unknown. Both impressively commanded the attention of the room. Next was the main course and as we ate (a very impressive glass-holding contraption allowed you to hold glass and plate at the same time, they must have a name...) the Samba dancers twirled around. To encourage feedback the crowd at OPuS had six footballs to give away in a draw for anyone who submitted a suggestion for future OPuS events. These footballs came from Alive & Kicking, an innovative charity that hand stitches leather balls in Africa to provide balls for children, create jobs for adults and promote health awareness through sport. I really wanted one. And as ‘Aaron’ was called out I thought I’d won ... only to falter as I listened to the suggestion that was being read. I realised it wasn’t mine at the same moment as a guy, of the same name, walked forward to collect his ball. The trials and tribulations of being a girl named Aaron would make a gripping novel. Fortunately, for both me and the male Aaron who would have received glares for the rest of the evening, my name was called out and I did win a football. And with that, the event began to wind down. We left Blake Lapthorn with all the unwanted balloons, a football and full and happy stomachs. I look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s International evening which if my suggestion is received well will have an Irish theme. Bring on the Guinness and Riverdance.
Generally speaking, comparisons between England and Brazil in February are reserved only for the seriously deranged. However, the Oxford Publishing Society (OPuS) was able to import a small amount of South America to the English winter with their International Evening, where the focus was squarely on Brazil. In addition to the always engaging socializing, OPuS provided food, drinks and a dancing exhibition to highlight a country where the publishing industry, like everything else, is expanding.
Hosted by the solicitors Blake Lapthorn, the evening began with publishing’s ubiquitous socializing over drinks and appetizers. Interestingly, the wine selected for the event was from Argentina, not Brazil. Clarice Uba, a Brookes MA Publishing student and native Brazilian, declared that this was because Brazilian wine was ‘not very good’. After everyone had arrived, two pairs of dancers gave a well-received exhibition of three different South American dance styles.
After the dancing, Brookes took centre stage with speeches from Clarice and fellow MA student Natalia Syropyatova looking back at their experiences with the Brazilian publishing industry. With a significant number of their fellow students and several lecturers in the audience, Clarice talked about her time working as a designer, and Natalia spoke about coming to Brazilian publishing with an outsider’s perspective. Rough counts put the number of stoppages at 37 for applause and 2 for the Mexican wave.
Dinner was served after the speeches, and although no one was able to identify the precise ingredients in the main dish, everyone agreed it was delicious. As the socializing and conviviality continued, the last major event of the night was a draw for six footballs, to be awarded by the Director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, Angus Phillips. Despite being only about 15 per cent of the crowd, the Brookes students in attendance managed a stunning upset to come away with three of the six footballs. Reports that the draw had been rigged by Angus were not substantiated.
By any measurement the evening was a success. The Brookes students got the chance to meet with professionals involved in the publishing industry in different capacities, the professionals got to hear some personal accounts from a growing publishing market, and for a few hours, everyone had the chance to pretend that it was summer in Brazil instead of winter in England.