Book art, tea and Radio 4

June 17th, 2012 by Emma_Dunn | Posted in Blog | 2 Comments
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I have just spent a lovely week interning with the amazing Rachel Hazell of Hazell Designs Books. Rachel is many things in one; she is primarily a book binder, but also an artist, a teacher, a writer and a traveller. Her mission this year is to teach twelve different workshops in twelve different inspirational places, and write a book about the experience.

Rachel makes book art, from miniature, intricately bound books, to delicate sculptures using traditional techniques.  Her work is poetic, always extremely neat and detailed and no piece is ever the same. She takes inspiration from the natural world, from the wilds of Skye to the bleak, white beauty of Antarctica, and this is clearly reflected in her work: nautical themes run throughout, with a passion for miniature boats, old maps and the changing tide.

I was there to help her commission work for The Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey in Devon this weekend, which is the sixth place on her list. From stamping and sticking to carving and cutting, Rachel allowed me to make all sorts, from tiny music envelopes to word art and miniature labels. I got to use a range of tools including the Japanese Screw Punch, which apparently is always a favourite. It was really interesting to the see the craft of book making at a time when digital books are at the forefront of everything, and to appreciate their tactile quality and how important it is to have both.

Overall, I had a thoroughly enjoyable week and would recommend anyone to intern with Rachel. I have a new appreciation for Radio 4 and was grateful for the many cups of tea and chocolate. I did do some traditional publishing related activities such as press releases and research, but it was nice to see the making of books from a different perspective.

For more information about Rachel and her books please see:

Facebook Page


– Emma Dunn

Breaking In and Standing Out

September 25th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Breaking In and Standing Out
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Suzanne Kavanagh of Skillset

A report on career advice from Suzanne Kavanagh, Visiting Speaker Semester 1, 2011-12, by Rachel Chase

Though Suzanne Kavanagh announced that her intention was to “scare” the publishing students at the University of Stirling on Thursday, September 22nd, she cleverly presented her material in a way that was more optimistic than frightening.

Suzanne works for a not-for-profit organization called Skillset. At Skillset, she supports individuals and businesses in the creative industries by offering them skills and training. She has been involved in the publishing industry for 16 years (specifically marketing) and she was kind enough to share her vast knowledge with us about making a career in publishing.

Though her presentation was not “scary” overall, it did have some frightening elements. Take, for example, the fact that sixty-seven per cent of the workforce in the publishing industry is over thirty-five-years-old (which is downright discouraging for anyone in their twenties who is trying to break in). In addition, the number of freelance editors has dropped and the number of people working in publishing has dropped significantly since 2007, due, in part, to the digitalization of books. In short, there are fewer jobs and more people trying to get in.

What does all of this mean for post-graduate students studying publishing at the University of Stirling? It means that things are tough, but not impossible. Suzanne emphasized that there is a shortage of sales and marketing skills among those who are trying to get into publishing. Editorial is not the only way to go, and, in fact, Suzanne suggested that getting into publishing through another door—say, marketing—is a good idea to break in.

Her lecture was very informative and I came away with specific areas in which I can improve my resume. Among the most important aspects for making yourself stand out are work experience (thirty-five per cent of the publishing workforce have done unpaid work), computer skills, specific software skills, and even math skills (though this fills many book-reading editor-bent students with horror—numbers matter!). The bottom line is that publishing is a business and unless a publishing house makes money, they cannot continue to publish the wonderful books that we love to read.

Thanks Suzanne for a great beginning to the list of fantastic visiting speakers lined up for this semester! If you want to learn more about Skillset, visit their website.

Visit us at the London Book Fair

March 10th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visit us at the London Book Fair
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The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication will be attending the London Book Fair from 11-13 April 2011. We will be attending as part of the Publishing Scotland stand, sharing space with publishers including Black & White Publishing, Floris Books and Saraband.

If you’d like to visit us at the Fair, please either drop by the stand (H350), or contact us in advance. Whether you’re a graduate of our courses and would like to tell us what you’re doing now, would like to talk to us about employment and internship opportunities for our students, or are interested in talking to us about publishing research, training and consultancy possibilities – we’d like to see you.

Are you a first time attendee at the Fair? Read some recommendations here.

Helena reports from New York!

September 2nd, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Helena reports from New York!
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Regular readers of our blog may remember Helena O Leary’s post on her getting an internship at Continuum, New York. Six weeks in, Helena lets us know how positive her experience has been so far…

Six weeks into an internship with Continuum International Publishing Group in their New York office and I couldn’t be happier with how its going. Within my first hour of work I knew (with a certain amount of relief) that there was no doubt in my mind that publishing is definitely the industry for me. So far there has not been one task I have completed that has not excited and enthused me, encouraging me in my future career in publishing.

My tasks have ranged from filing and mailing, to permissions and transmittals, as well as reviewing contracts and liaising with authors. Each experience has afforded me invaluable insight into the editorial process. I couldn’t offer greater advice to future publishing studies students of the University of Stirling than to do an internship, do multiple internships. The experience gained compares to no other and it will increase the value of your resume/CV beyond theoretical learning. Having said that, however, I owe any present or future successes within the publishing industry to the University of Stirling Mlitt. In Publishing Studies program and all the staff within the department. I am eternally grateful to you all.

Outside of office hours one can find me on a frantic search for a full time job in a publishing house here in the city. In recessionary times this is an unenviable task, but I am confident that armed with my Mlitt. From the University of Stirling and my practical experience from the internship, success in this matter is not too far away at all.

— Helena O’Leary

Publishing Scotland conference

February 27th, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publishing Scotland conference
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Publishing Scotland conference 2010Members of staff from the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication recently attended the Publishing Scotland conference in Edinburgh. The conference featured a Keynote Speech from Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs, and talks on successful strategies for digital publishing, getting the best out of book festivals, retail trends in 2009/10, and the Google Book settlement. The talk from Jon Reed of Reed Media on using social media to promote your business gave us lots of great ideas – thanks Jon! We’ll put some of these into action soon…

As a Network Member of Publishing Scotland, we exhibited the Centre in the Network Showcase. We took a sample of practical work undertaken by students on the MLitt in Publishing Studies, discussed opportunities for work experience and internships with publishing companies, and opportunities for consultancy and training.

Despite the recession and a recent, contentious report from the Literature Working Group to the Scottish Government which advocated that publishers in Scotland no longer be represented by Publishing Scotland but by the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG), the mood was upbeat at the conference. For us, this was helped by meeting some of our alumni, and also staff from Floris Books, who told us the good news that they’ve just employed one of last year’s graduates from the MLitt on a permanent basis following a temporary contract.

My Publishing Dream Come True…

January 30th, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Publishing Dream Come True…
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ContinuumI began the MLitt in Publishing Studies at Stirling in September 2009. Before October 1st had passed there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that the publishing industry is exactly where I want to be. It was the most wonderful realisation – excitement and happiness with the place I found myself at twenty-one years of age. Here I don’t simply refer to place as location but as a state of mind.

With each passing week I find myself more and more enthused by the career possibilities in my future. This happiness was increased immeasurably last week when, as a publisher and traveller, a personal dream came through. This coming summer I will be moving to New York for a few months to take up an internship with Continuum, a publishing house mostly concerned with academic publishing. Perhaps for some my excitement over an unpaid internship may seem a little over the top. But to be honest, I don’t care! This is the kind of opportunity I have been working for my whole life. I may not have realised it before but this is my dream come true and no one or no thing will ever take that from me now. As a publishing student I feel that this is the most wonderful opportunity that could have come my way.

So bring it on – visas flight booking and all the other necessary preparations cause come June, after graduation, I’m leaving on a jet plane!

— Helena O’Leary