On the 5th June I attended the Digital Showcase for the City University Publishing MA students who were finalising their end of year projects. The course is currently overseen and run by the Programme Director Mary Ann Kernan. Those in advisory attendance included several leading industry professionals and key figures in the industry including myself.
The session began with a chance for several established industry professionals to spend time with the students overlooking their group based collaborative projects. Each project was entirely digitally focused and looked into revitalising an existing publisher’s backlist into a profitable, interactive digital sales platform. Each group also had additional projects in which they explored their personal interests in line with designing and producing specific digital projects.
What struck me at first was the sheer diversity of ideas generated within each group. The level of detail that had gone into each individual project was quite astounding. Having worked in publishing for some time now it’s clear to me that the students at this point are way ahead of the game. The intrinsic understanding of not only digital publishing but the cultural and commercial implications of the market itself were very impressive.
What’s important to highlight in this is that there was a real sense of collaboration within each team. The session ended with a series of mock job interviews conducted by the industry key figures in attendance. Eric Huang made an interesting and wholly viable comment around the idea of empathy within working in publishing. This idea certainly appears to be at the centre of the ideologies behind the MA Publishing course itself. It was certainly refreshing and somewhat illuminating to see individuals working together to produce such cohesive and, essentially, profitable ideas.
Overall Mary Ann has managed to collectively steer a creative and bright collection of individuals straight into the choppy waters of this new digital age. As a recruiter I tend to keep both ears and eyes open. Overhearing Mary Ann not only engage the group but advise each individual based on their strengths and backgrounds was a brilliant insight into the level of knowledge she has managed to accumulate. Mary Ann knows the industry like the back of her hand.
The future looks uncertain. The future in hand for each student finalising their MA in Publishing Studies at City University is very promising indeed.
I’d like to say a huge (very late) thanks to Mary Ann for inviting me along. Mary Ann is Programme Director of the MA in Publishing Studies at City University London. You can find her on Twitter at @maryannkernan
The details of the MA course are here.
Finally I’d like to thank all the students for taking the time to showcase their projects. It’s clear to me that the collaborative approach running to the core of the MA Publishing course itself is producing a new generation of firebrand.
Keep it up.