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research

The Book Unbound – a short introduction

June 26th, 2012 by Scott_Russell | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Book Unbound – a short introduction
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The Book Unbound project aims to research the impact of new, digital technologies on the process of publishing and to create an iPad app demonstrating some of these technologies.

The idea was developed within the Centre for International Publishing Studies at University of Stirling in mid 2011. In late 2011 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) called for research projects based around the concept of digital transformations. The Publishing Studies team, led by Professor Claire Squires, saw this as an opportunity to integrate the app idea with more formal academic research. We wrote a proposal and submitted it in November 2011.

After the AHRC approved the project this February, we assembled our project team: Claire Squires and Padmini Ray Murray from Publishing (carrying out case studies); Scott Russell (designing and developing the iPad app); and author Paula Morris, a lecturer in Stirling’s Creative Writing programme (editing and writing).

On 29 March the project was presented to postgraduate students in Publishing Studies and Creative Writing, and the students were invited to apply for several project assistant jobs. Claire introduced the project, Paula Morris described the opportunities for potential content providers, and Scott Russell demonstrated the proposed software platform, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

DPS was chosen for several reasons. As part of Adobe’s InDesign page layout application, Digital Publishing Suite allows iPad apps to be developed without using coding or other bespoke development services. This simplifies the production process and makes app development available to a wide variety of publishers. As the industry-leading page layout application, InDesign is already used by many publishers to create books and magazines.

Pricing for DPS is also multi-tiered with a low cost entry level, making it very competitive with traditional printing and making app development a possibility for individuals and small organisations. We chose to develop an app over an ebook as the interactive features offered by the app format offered more scope for transformation than those of an ebook.

The project has a fairly short deadline – the end of August 2012 – so the project group immediately set about creating a production plan, developing designs and creating a call for entries.

AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society

June 12th, 2012 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society
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The University of Stirling is pleased to invite applications for a three-year Collaborative Doctoral Studentship, fully funded by the AHRC (UK/EU rate) with an additional contribution from The Saltire Society, plus associated expenses, to commence on 1 October 2012 or as soon thereafter as can be arranged.

This studentship will be a collaboration between the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication and The Saltire Society, a charitable organisation in Scotland. The project will focus on the Society’s book awards, which were established in the 1930s, and which were systematically awarded since 1982, as part of the Society’s overall mission ‘to foster and enrich the cultural heritage of Scotland’. Winners have included Alasdair Gray, Edwin Morgan, William McIlvanney, Norman MacCaig, Muriel Spark, Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith, George Mackay Brown, Liz Lochhead, Janice Galloway, John Burnside, A L Kennedy, James Kelman, Jackie Kay, Ali Smith and James Robertson; in addition to historians, literary critics, and biographers of Scotland, Scottish subjects and figures. The precise scope and emphases of the work will be shaped by the interests and initiative of the successful application in consultation with their academic supervisor, Professor Claire Squires. The successful applicant will spend some of their time based at The Saltire Society’s offices in Edinburgh, working alongside Saltire Society staff on the current Book Awards, liaising closely with Jim Tough and Sarah Mason (Executive Director and Programmes Manager of the Saltire Society respectively) and Professor Ian Campbell (Chair of the Book Awards judges).

Applicants must have a good first degree in an appropriate subject and a Master’s degree relevant to research into contemporary (late 20th/21st century) literature and publishing. A demonstrable interest in literary prizes and modern Scottish writing would be especially welcome, as would an interest in and aptitude for publishing and literary administration.

Eligibility to Apply

In order to apply, you must fulfil both the academic and the residency criteria laid down by the AHRC.

Academic eligibility – you must:

1. Have applied for and been offered a place to study at the University of Stirling (such an offer will be made to the successful applicant for this studentship);

2. Hold a relevant postgraduate Masters degree.

Residency eligibility – you must:

1. Be a British national normally resident in the UK; or

2. Be an EU national normally resident in the UK, the EU or Switzerland; or

3. Have been resident in the UK or EU for the past three years for reasons other than education.

For full details (particularly regarding residency eligibility, which has many conditions and exceptions), please see the AHRC’s Guide to Student Funding:

Further information on the studentship and on the application procedure is available as a pdf here: AHRC_SaltireSociety_CDA_fps. Potential applicants are welcome to contact Professor Claire Squires (claire.squires [@] stir.ac.uk or +44 (0)1786 467505) with any questions they may have.

Deadline for applications: 12 noon on Wednesday 11 July 2012.

Interviews will be held at The Saltire Society, 9 Fountain Close, 22 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TF during the week beginning 6 August 2012.

AHRC Digital Transformations Project: The Book Unbound

February 15th, 2012 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on AHRC Digital Transformations Project: The Book Unbound
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 We’ve just heard that the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication has been awarded a grant from the AHRC in its Digital Transformations Research Development call.

Our project, ‘The Book Unbound: Disruption and Disintermediation in the Digital Age’, will be led by the Centre’s Director, Professor Claire Squires, with Dr Padmini Ray Murray (Lecturer in Publishing Studies) and Dr Paula Morris (Lecturer in Creative Writing) as Co-Investigators. The staff team will be completed by Scott Russell, as an External Consultant. We’ll also be working with the Electric Bookshop in order to present some of our findings, and there will also be opportunities for collaborations between creative writing and publishing students.

The project will examine changing business models in the digital publishing environment and their impact on the communications circuit and notions of authority, authorship, audiences and access. It will do this both via a series of case studies, and an experimental mode (live publishing – watch this space!).

We’ll have a new website up with full details of the project soon, but if you’d like any information about it in the meantime, please get in touch via our Contact page.

Saltire Society Literary Awards 2011

December 1st, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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Alasdair Gray's award winning A Life in Pictures

Professor Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, has this year been one of the judges for the Saltire Society Literary Awards. The Awards were made today in a ceremony at the National Library of Scotland. She writes here about her experience of being a judge:

For a while now, I’ve had a research interest in literary prizes. I organised a conference on the topic in 2003, at which James F English gave a keynote lecture which would eventually end up as part of his impressive book on cultural awards, The Economy of Prestige. I’ve also written about literary prizes, including in my book Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain. In this, I traced the role of literary prizes in validating books, establishing authors’ careers, promoting literature, and – all important to the publishing industry – selling books.

More recently, I’ve been acting as the administrator (this year, with the able assistance of  MLitt in Publishing Studies student and intern Helen Lewis-McPhee) for the DeLong Book History Book Prize, which the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing runs, and wrote a blog for them about literary prizes over here. Back when I worked at Hodder & Stoughton, I had the responsibility for submitting our books to prizes (and I remember our excitement when William McIlvanney won the Saltire Book of the Year Award for The Kiln.)

But this year for the first time I’ve been acting as a judge, for the Saltire Society Literary Awards. This has meant, since June, reading over 100 books for the First Book of the Year and the Book of the Year. As you can imagine, this proved both a fantastic experience and a challenge, to the point where I actually felt physically sick from reading so many books at one point. (Don’t worry – I’ve recovered and am reading again.)

Today, we made our awards: to Luke Williams for his brilliantly assured debut novel The Echo Chamber, and to Alasdair Gray for his wonderful A Life in Pictures. Awards were also made for the Scottish History Book of the Year to Emma Rothschild for The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth Century History and for the Scottish Research Book of the Year to James McGonigal for Beyond the Last Dragon: A Life of Edwin Morgan. His publisher Sandstone later celebrated with deluxe chocolate brownies, I hear.

The experience of judging literary prizes is always going to be slightly different from that of analysing or commenting upon them, but nonetheless the two awards I was involved with backed up some of my knowledge about how they work. Luke Williams’ publisher Hamish Hamilton confirmed after the ceremony that they’ve brought forward the release of the paperback of his book to capitalise on sales. Fancy a prize winner for Christmas? (I’d recommend it!)

And then: controversy! The judging panel had decided (unanimously) to award Alasdair Gray the Book of the Year. However, just before the ceremony, we found out via his publisher Canongate that he had decided to refuse the award. We quickly reconvened and – although we had a very fine shortlist (including one of my favourites, A L Kennedy’s The Blue Book) – we decided (as BooksfromScotland.com reported it) to refuse the refusal. Will this refusal end up having a greater publicity impact than accepting? We’ll see. There’s almost bound to be an article in the Scotsman about it tomorrow…

Book Cultures, Book Events Conference

October 23rd, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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Proposals for papers now being accepted. Deadline 6 January 2012.

The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, in collaboration with Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh), the University of Dundee, and Bookfestival Scotland announces the conference ‘Book Cultures, Book Events’, to be held at the University of Stirling from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March 2012.

Plenary  speakers include: Dr Danielle Fuller of the University of Birmingham

Call for Papers:

A significant development in the environment of literature and the book at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries has been the growth of literary festivals and book towns. As part of the literary marketing mix, book festivals and towns offer publishers the opportunity to promote their authors and sell their products. Such locations also provide physical and sociological spaces in which readers encounter writers and literature, and become book consumers. Book festivals and towns have clear links to regional economies, and are heavily used in the promotion of tourist destinations, as testified by the strategic partnerships and sponsorship arrangements with a variety of agencies. As part of this process, concepts of cultural identity are forged and commodified, conjoining literature to cultural heritage, the creative industries and political ideology. In the era of new media and digital delivery, the opportunity to meet authors and fellow readers face-to-face, to buy books and other merchandise, and to align a liking for literature with travel and tourism, is being taken up by hundreds of thousands of readers every year. Literary festivals and towns, while heavily promoted by digital marketing activities, afford physical meeting spaces for authors, books, readers and ideas.

To explore these events and environments, the Book Cultures, Book Events conference will bring together academic and student researchers from different disciplines with practitioners and stakeholders, to their contemporary perspectives and historical precedents. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • literature as live event
  • analyses of contemporary or historical book events, festivals, conferences and environments (including bookshop spaces)
  • the role of live events in the digital age
  • author/reader interactions at live events
  • literary travel, tourism and heritage
  • literary commerce and merchandising
  • book events and other media/cultural forms
  • partnerships and sponsorship
  • constructions of cultural identity via literature events
  • literature in the context of cultural heritage, the creative industries, and political ideology

Proposals for papers of 20 minutes are invited. Please send as an email attachment abstracts of 300-400 words, plus a biography of 100-150 words, by 6 January 2012, to: book.cultures@stir.ac.uk .

The conference is supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and as such registration costs for the conference will be minimal.

The conference is part of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Workshop Book Events: The Transnational Culture, Commerce and Social Impact of Literary Festivals, organised in association with the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling, Queen Margaret University, the University of Dundee and Bookfestival Scotland.

For any enquiries, please contact: book.cultures@stir.ac.uk

Project Assistant for Book Cultures, Book Events research

October 2nd, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Project Assistant for Book Cultures, Book Events research
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With funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Claire Squires (Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication) and Professor David Finkelstein (Queen Margaret University) will be running a series of events on the topic of literary festivals and live book events in 2011 and early 2012, including an academic conference and practitioner/stakeholder-focused events. Project assistance is sought for the following roles:

Research and Administrative Assistant for events from late October 2011-March 2012. 60 hours @ £15 an hour. Skills and experience needed for the position:

  • Aptitude for events organisation and administration
  • Knowledge of and interest in contemporary publishing, literature and creative industries
  • Experience and/or aptitude for research in areas relating to the project

Research Assistant for completion of report and other outputs March-April 2012.

  • 20 hours @ £15 an hour. Skills and experience needed for the position:
  • Knowledge of and interest in contemporary publishing, literature and creative industries
  • Experience and/or aptitude for research in areas relating to the project

The roles can be combined. The work pattern is part-time and flexible on negotiation with Professor Claire Squires and Professor David Finkelstein and some of the work can be completed remotely; however, the assistant will need to be within commuting distance of Stirling and Edinburgh for project meetings and events.

To apply, please email Professor Claire Squires claire.squires [at] stir.ac.uk with a cv detailing your relevant experience, and a covering email by 14 October 2012. If you require further information, please also contact Claire Squires.

Further Details

RSE Workshop Book Events: The Transnational Culture, Commerce and Social Impact of Literary Festivals

A significant development in the environment of literature and the book at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries has been the growth of literary festivals and book towns. As part of the literary marketing mix, book festivals and towns offer publishers the opportunity to promote their authors and sell their products. Such locations also provide physical and sociological spaces in which readers encounter writers and literature, and become book consumers. Book festivals and towns have clear links to regional economies, and are heavily used in the promotion of tourist destinations, as testified by the strategic partnerships and sponsorship arrangements with a variety of agencies. In the era of new media and digital delivery, the opportunity to meet authors and fellow readers face-to-face, to buy books and other merchandise, and to align a liking for literature with travel and tourism, is being taken up by hundreds of thousands of readers every year. Literary festivals and towns, while heavily promoted by digital marketing activities, afford physical meeting spaces for authors, books, readers and ideas.

The project is funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is run in association with the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling, Queen Margaret University, and Bookfestival Scotland .

André Schiffrin, Visionary Promoter of Independent Media

July 22nd, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on André Schiffrin, Visionary Promoter of Independent Media
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Andre Schiffrin (photo credit Micheline Pelletier)

Never before has the control of the global conglomerates over the publishing, media and culture industries been under such scrutiny.

With Publishing Scotland, we present an event on Monday 22 August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival which goes to the heart of this debate.

André Schiffrin, the speaker at the event, was the Director of Pantheon Books for almost thirty years, bringing authors including Pasternak and Foucault to an American audience. His landmark 2000 publication The Business of Books expressed his belief that Western publishing was in a crisis, fuelled by the concern that the five largest conglomerates in the US controlled 80% of the books produced. His belief that this profit-driven industry prevented him from publishing books propelled him to resign and set up the non-profit New Press.

In his new book Words and Money, Schiffrin builds on his earlier arguments by focusing on the crisis in the general media, examining the European market to illustrate how the US corporate model has influenced practice worldwide to the detriment of serious journalism. He proposes measures to safeguard the future of publishing, bookselling and the press.

In this timely intervention into conglomerate ownership practices and philosophies, and what can be done to counteract them, Schiffrin will give a presentation and then open the floor to questions from the audience.

For further information and to book your place visit the Edinburgh International Book Festival website.

The event is organised by the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication in association with Publishing Scotland and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute Independent Publishing Programme of Enquiry.

Independent Publishing Events

May 30th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Independent Publishing Events
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The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, in association with the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, is running a series of seminars over the summer in Glasgow on the topic of Independent Publishing: Making and Preserving Culture in a Global Literary Marketplace. The seminars will feature a mix of publishers and others in the book trade, from Scotland and across Europe, and also of academics and other commentators on the industry. The three seminars will be:

 9-10 June Digital Technologies and Publishing (keynote speaker: Chris Meade, Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book on ‘The Amplified Author in the Unlibrary’)

23-24 June Globalisation and Independent Publishing (keynote speaker: Professor Simon Gikandi, Princeton University on ‘Scenes of Reading in the Global Literary Marketplace: Some Postcolonial Reflections)

 22-23 August Cultural Policy (keynote speaker: André Schiffrin, publisher and author of The Business of Books and Words and Money; in association with Publishing Scotland and the Edinburgh International Book Festival

All events are free, but registration is required. You can register direct for the keynote lectures by clicking on the following links: Chris Meade (9 June); Simon Gikandi (23 June). If you would like to attend the seminars in full, please send an email to publishing [@] stir.ac.uk and we will send you a registration link. More details are available from the Programme website.

Claire Squires at the World Book Summit 2011

January 12th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Claire Squires at the World Book Summit 2011
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Claire Squires, Director of Stirling Centre of International Publishing and Communication, has been asked to speak at the forthcoming World Book Summit 2011 in Ljubljana, Slovenia in March.

She will be appearing alongside speakers including Francis Galloway, Roger D Sell, Rudiger Wischenbart and Mike Shatzkin. The Summit will discuss current issues in the publishing industry, including electronic and print books, changing business models in publishing, state subsidy in publishing, digital reading, and translation and cultural exchange.

She will also be promoting the Slovene-language edition of her book Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain, which has just been published in Slovenia.

The International Publishing Industry: Contemporary Perspectives from Oslo

December 4th, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The International Publishing Industry: Contemporary Perspectives from Oslo
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The Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, Claire Squires, recently returned from Oslo where she was an invited speaker at a seminar on ‘The International Publishing Industry: Contemporary Perspectives’.

The seminar, organised by the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo, brought together a number of scholars who are engaged with examining the contemporary publishing industries around the world from a number of perspectives. The academics from Norway, Sweden, Austria, Slovenia and the UK were joined by a number of publishers, booksellers and writers to discuss overall trends in international publishing, publishing in different international contexts, the future of publishing in the digital world, and cultural policies and authors’ and publishers’ rights.