MA Publishing students coordinate Future of Publishing event
True innovation not only involves understanding the current creative landscape, but also curiosity around the ways it can shift, shape and grow. At London College of Communication (LCC), we explore the importance of future-facing perspectives in ways that enable us to build responsive approaches to an ever-changing world.
In April, our MA Publishing course considered the wider scope and possibilities of their discipline by launching Future of Publishing: a digital event which aimed to explore the trajectory of the industry by focusing on the ways in which a range of social, environmental and technological developments are driving its continued evolution.
Organised, curated and programmed by current students, the event comprised of speaker sessions and online activities designed to facilitate spaces for discussing topics ranging from diversity and inclusivity to technology and accessibility.
Audiences were invited to join the conversation and consider issues such as the impact of NFTs, BookTok, Wattpad and zines from professionals including Syima Aslam, CEO and Artistic Director of the Bradford Literature Festival; Jin Youn, Publisher and Editor of Achim; and Julius Wiedemann, Chief Curator at Domestika.
This emphasis on gaining industry knowledge and practical skills is key to MA Publishing at LCC, which supports students to gain the creative and professional tools they need for their future career in a dynamic sector.
Combining a range of theoretical and practical approaches underpinned by creativity and entrepreneurship, they not only gain a holistic and critical understanding of print and digital publishing, but also have opportunities to put their ideas into practice through collaborative projects, development of creative content and exploration of innovative audience engagement.
We caught up with current student Emily Gates about her experience of project managing this year’s Future of Publishing event, along with her passion for creative collaboration and top tips for prospective students.
Have you always been interested in publishing?
Sort of. I've always been interested in books and magazines, and since watching The Devil Wears Prada, I was set on working in a magazine - classic!
I studied English Literature for my undergrad, so publishing seemed to make sense as a career to pursue afterwards. As I got closer to the end of my degree, I became a lot more interested in the industry and decided it was the one for me.
Studying on the MA Publishing course has definitely confirmed that I made the right choice.
Tell us about your creative practice - do you focus on any technique, message or approach?
I've always wanted to focus on how we can improve access to the arts - whether that's through visuals, writing, events or publishing itself. That's what I really want to continue to work towards, and so finding the best way to do so with the skills I've developed at LCC is super important to me.
I think creative collaboration is a big part of that. I'm not a super 'artsy' person myself, so throughout the course, I've been thinking of ways that I can involve myself in that process - be it through editing, writing, or project management, like with the Future of Publishing event.
How did you find out about the opportunity, and why did you decide to get involved?
This project was part of our Professional Practice and Enterprise unit.
I'm really grateful that we had the opportunity to work on something so huge as it really felt like we were gaining practical, useful skills. I think it was a great way to give us total control over something while enabling us to collaborate and work together as a course.
What was your role in the project, and what kind of activities did you take part in?
I was the Project Manager, which means that I basically just oversaw each ‘department’. I must admit I felt bad at sometimes - like I was nagging people a lot!
Being Project Manager involved a lot of organisation: creating timelines, keeping track of documents and deadlines, and essentially checking that everything was on track.
What did you most enjoy about the experience?
The event itself, because it went really well and there were some really interesting discussions between the speakers.
Seeing everyone's hard work come to fruition was a great moment, and everyone was really proud of what we'd done.
How has the opportunity helped you to develop your skills and practice?
It's definitely given me a lot more insight into the role of Project Manager, which will come in handy when it comes to working on campaigns or managing the publishing process later on in my career.
This project also tested my organisation and communication skills, for sure.
What have been your highlights as an MA Publishing student at LCC?
One highlight has been the incredible range of industry speakers that we've hosted throughout the course. From past students to industry professionals, we've been able to gain insights into so many different parts of the publishing world and related careers.
I'm also really looking forward to a new podcast project that a few of us are about to start working on, which will be in collaboration with Penguin Random House.
What advice would you give to prospective students who are interested in exploring the world of publishing?
Find projects to get involved in - whether that's student journalism, trying social media and content work, or even following your own passion projects! They'll help you discover what part of the industry you're interested in, and then you can direct your learning in the future to develop those skills.
There are so many different roles within the life of a book or magazine, and having an idea of where you fit in helps everything to make much more sense.