Tag Archives: Diversity

Publishing Innovation Conference 2017: Decoding Diversity

What exactly does diversity mean in the publishing world? Is it solely about equality in gender or race? Can diversity just mean a difference in ideas rather than cultures? Are we any closer to being more representative of the different experiences readers have today than we were a decade ago?

The Publishing Innovation Conference is going to attempt to answer these questions! Organised by the current MA Publishing course at London College of Communication, this conference will encourage an engaging dialogue on the topic of diversity, ranging from issues of race, gender, class, disability and accessibility and how they are being addressed within the industry.

A great topic, and very timely.

Are you going to this event? Let us know!

London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB

 

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Beanstalk | Story Starters

Beanstalk Story Starters

Beanstalk | Story Starters

Last month our chosen charity, Beanstalk, received some fantastic news! They were awarded £1million by the DreamFund (People’s Postcode Lottery) for their partnership ‘Story Starters’!

‘Story Starters’ is a collaborative project, which will see Beanstalk working with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and LuCiD at the University of Liverpool. They will be working together to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds, receive one-to-one support and mentoring to develop their language and reading skills!

Beanstalk is a national literacy charity who recruits volunteers to work in primary schools with children to help them develop their reading. Volunteers are specially trained to spend 30 minutes, two times a week, reading with a child one-to-one for a whole year. To help children develop the truly important skill of reading. In 2016 alone Beanstalk helped over 11,000 children across the UK, in deprived areas, and with this funding they can help many more.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a global programme operating worldwide, with more than 1 million children receiving books per month, to help them fall in love with reading. LuCiD is a research collaboration which is researching how children learn to communicate with language.

Beanstalk

The CEO of Beanstalk, Ginny Lunn, and the Beanstalk partners receiving their DreamFund cheque – all rights attributed to Beanstalk

Previous research has shown that support within schools at schools can benefit children throughout their life. 20% are more likely to get 5 A*-C GCSE’s and earn more as adults.

This is a very exciting time for Beanstalk and we couldn’t be more pleased for them. With the £1million funding they will be able to recruit and train a further 600 Story Starter volunteers and help 1,800 children between 3-5 years old to develop their reading!

Beanstalk is a truly worthwhile charity and we’re happy to support them! If you would like to learn more about Beanstalk, and Story Starters make sure you check out there website!

Be sure to check out our previous fundraising challenge for them, and let us know your ideas for the next! You can send us your ideas via social media or commenting on this blog post: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

 

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Companies: Why You Should Consider Temps

Why You Should Consider Temps

Companies: Why You Should Consider Temps

Our articles on temping have typically been to inform candidates of the many benefits that come with temping, both professionally and personally. But today, we’d like to point out the many reasons why temping is such a useful avenue for clients to consider.

  • The flexibility of temps also means company flexibility.

If you’re expanding your team but you’re not quite prepared to hire a permanent person, a temporary employee is a great way to establish exactly what it is you need in terms of additional resources. Maybe you’ve never had extra hands on deck and you’re only now starting to realise the new objectives you can tackle. A temp-to-perm scenario can be a match made in heaven for company and employee alike. As someone grows into a newly created role and reveals the kind of results that can be produced with more staff. The manager can then take these results to HR as Exhibit A on what expanding the team can mean for everyone.

But more than that,

  • Temps bring their own expertise with them.

They don’t need to be entry-level candidates acting as a stop-gap. By hiring consultants or veteran freelancers, a company also gets to avail of a temporary worker’s own experiences, the different business practices they’ve witnessed in their time. New blood often means new ideas and even if the worker doesn’t stick around, their contributions can last forever.

And, of course,

  • Temporary workers can provide much needed breathing space to permanent employees.

When the day-to-day administration is taken off their hands, they’re able to concentrate on the bigger picture and implement the projects. This improve service and streamline practices. You can get a lot done when you don’t have to sweat the small stuff. Even if it’s only for a little while.

So, for anyone who’s currently reviewing team numbers or work-loads, don’t commit until you know for sure exactly what you need – try a temp today! Get in touch with Kellie Millar, who manages our Temps and Freelancers desk, or her colleague, Alison Redfearn, and they can send you more workers than you can shake a stick at!

5 reasons to get a temp:

  • Cover sick leave
  • Cover holiday
  • Help with a project
  • Flexibility – have for 1 day / 1 week / 1 month…
  • No admin – we cover all payment, NI, holiday pay, pension

Kellie Millar
E: kelliemillar@atwoodtate.co.uk
Tel: 02070347897

Alison Redfearn
E: alisonredfearn@atwoodtate.co.uk
Tel: 02070347922

You can also contact us with any questions via our social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing

building-inclusivity-in-publishing

Our pledge to help publishing to build inclusivity

Last month The London Book Fair, in partnership with The Publishers Association, held a conference on Building Inclusivity. I attended the event for Atwood Tate, because in our role as a publishing recruitment agency we have a responsibility to ensure recruitment processes are inclusive and offer all suitable candidates an equal opportunity to be considered for a role.

As members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, we adhere to its Code of Professional Practice.  A respect for diversity is one of the main guiding principles of this code. We adhere to all applicable legislation, encourage equal opportunities in recruitment and establish working practices to safeguard against prejudice.

Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the thoughts and insights that were shared at the Building Inclusivity event.  To start with, in using the word “inclusivity” rather than “diversity” the organisers of the event were clearly trying to drive on the tired conversation which has been stalling for a long time in the publishing industry.  Semantics can have a strong effect and I did feel that there was renewed energy and determination shown by speakers and delegates at the conference.  There was a focus openness and accessibility rather than a defining of differences and analysis of the norm versus the “other” in the publishing industry as things stand.

In her keynote speech, Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder of OWN IT!, reminded us that books lead to readers developing empathy, and empathy leads to humanity.  I only learned about this proven link between reading and the development of empathy and morals when reading Maryanne Wolf’s wonderful Proust and the Squid (which incidentally I would recommend to anyone interested in literacy, reading, neurology and sociology), so whilst a lot of people in the book industry may know about the importance of reading for society, Mahey-Morgan’s words were a powerful reminder.

Charities like Beanstalk do important work in getting into schools to promote reading to all, but I know from observing my own children learning to read, that in order for a person to want to read, the content needs to be engaging and interesting.  None of us expect our friends and family to necessarily share all of our interests or preferences, so we already accept a variety of genres and content, but the consensus at the Building Inclusivity conference was that the books published in the UK are not wholly representative of our society or meeting its needs.

Recruitment & Inclusivity

It was clearly felt that there is a correlation between what is published and who is working in publishing and that’s where the recruitment side of things comes into play.  The industry needs to be more than just “open” to recruiting from outside of the traditional profile of publishing people but needs to make an effort to demonstrate the desire to be inclusive and take measure to increase accessibility to a wider pool of prospective employees.

At the conference, employers were encouraged to make a pledge as what measures they would aim to take after the conference in order to play an active part in creating a publishing industry that is inclusive and representative of our society as a whole.

My pledge on the day to do more at the grass roots level with Beanstalk was inspired by looking at what we could do personally at Atwood Tate to help bring a love of reading to a wider range of children.  Crystal Mahey-Morgan’s words about humanity and the story of author Robyn Travis struck a chord with me, as a governor at a primary school in a deprived area, where a lot of children a brought up in homes without books.

However, we at Atwood Tate also want to make it our pledge to ensure that we are providing as much advice and support to our publisher clients, as possible to help them to promote equal opportunities in recruitment and share ideas as to how to establish working practices to safeguard against prejudice and promote inclusivity and equality.

We are not HR consultants or expert advisors, but we can offer the following:

  • As trained members of the REC, we all have a solid understanding of all applicable legislation and Atwood Tate embraces diversity and seeks to promote the benefits of diversity in all of our business activities and to develop a business culture that reflects that belief.
  • Through our daily work and attending industry events and REC round table meetings we keep up to date with new trends and initiatives. We can share the knowledge and insight we have about what is being done in publishing and other industries to improve inclusivity in recruitment processes.
  • We are expert at writing engaging and non-discriminatory job advertisements and we are able to advertise widely and reach out to candidates outside of the publishers traditional networks.

What are your thoughts on inclusivity in publishing? Let us know in the comments below or contact us on our social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing

Our consultant Helen Speedy will be attending the Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference run by the Publishers’ Association and the London Book Fair. The day-long conference will look at each component of the publishing industry and the representation of people in each area, from authors to consumers.

You can read more about the event and the speakers attending at our blog here. As an equal opportunities employer and business we feel this is a very important event and one we can’t wait to hear about in further detail. Expect a blog post shortly after the event to summarise the main points featured.

If you are attending the event let us know via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. And be sure to say hello to Helen if you see her!

Building Inclusivity in Publishing

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Equal Opportunity and Diversity in Publishing

 

equal-opportunities-and-diversity-1

Building Inclusivity in Publishing Event

On the 15th November our consultant Helen will be attending the Building Inclusivity in Publishing event, run by the Publishers Association and the London Book Fair.

The day-long conference will look at each component of the publishing industry and the representation of people in each area, from authors to consumers.

The day will encourage the attendees to re-evaluate their ideas of diversity and to see who the real audience are, by drawing on positive examples and personal experiences! By the end of the conference the attendees will know how to build inclusivity within the publishing industry!

As an Equal Opportunities company Atwood Tate are very keen on spreading the word on inclusivity throughout Publishing! Within our company we never discriminate against the candidates, clients or employees we work with, we encourage diversity in publishing! For more information on our Equal Opportunities and Diversity policy click here.

The Inclusivity conference will include panels and speakers from all areas of publishing, including authors, agents and booksellers. Here’s the Conference Programme.

Speakers Include:

  • Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder, OWN IT! Publishing
  • Robyn Travis, author, Mama Can’t Raise No Man
  • Tim Hely Hutchinson, Group CEO, Hachette UK
  • Louise Clarke, Latimer Group
  • Diana Broccardo, Profile Books
  • Emad Ahmed, Creative Access and ex-News Statesman
  • Sunny Singh, academic and author, co-founder Jhalak Prize
  • Siena Parker, Penguin Random House
  • Jessica Kingsley, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • Jazzmine Breary, Jacaranda

And many others! For a full list of speakers see here! Conference Speakers.

The panels and case studies look fascinating and we can’t wait to hear the thoughts of everyone who attends!

Be sure to watch out in the days after the conference for a summary blog about the event and the level of inclusivity in publishing, and please say hello to Helen if you see her!

In the meantime we will be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to cover the conference! Let us know if you’re attending.

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BAME in Publishing

Sarah Shaffi, online editor and producer at The Bookseller, and Wei Ming Kam, sales and marketing assistant at Oberon Books, have recently set up the BAME in Publishing network “in response to the endless diversity debates and panels that have come and gone in the last few years”. The following blog is from Sarah, giving a bit more of the background behind the network and some next steps we can all take to improve things for everyone in the industry.

BAME in Publishing - correct
sarah shaffi
Let me tell you a story.

I was at a book launch and was introduced to a man working for the publishing company which had released the book in question. We’d not met before but within seconds this man, let’s call him Colin (not his name), said that we had. I told him we hadn’t.

He then named a very specific occasion on which we’d met. Impossible, I said, I wasn’t at that event.

Ah, of course, Colin countered, he’d met me at this other event, he said, naming a place and rough date. Nope, not me either, I said, with frustration probably suffusing my voice.

Luckily he stopped, because I was this close *holds thumb and forefinger apart just enough to slide a piece of paper in between* to snapping at him that he was clearly mixing me up with some other brown girl he’d met at a publishing event.

My story isn’t unusual. Ask any person from a Black, Asian or majority ethnic background in publishing if they’ve ever been mistaken for someone else because of their skin colour, and I guarantee most of them have similar stories to mine.

Which is one of the many reasons it’s time to make sure publishing diversifies its workforce. It’s a selfish reason, but I’d like there to be more brown girls in publishing so the six of us here already (OK, maybe a few more than six) don’t keep getting mistaken for each other.

But on a more serious note, publishing should recruit more people from ethnically diverse backgrounds (and economically and geographically diverse backgrounds) because it will be a good thing for the industry. Why? It kind of boils down to one thing…

The wider the backgrounds of the people working in publishing, the more likely publishers are to come up with new ideas and new books and see new voices. And this means that publishers can reach wider audiences, sell more books, and make more money.

Helping to increase the number of people from BAME backgrounds in publishing, and then hopefully the number of books by BAME people published in the UK, is behind why me and Wei Ming Kam set up BAME in Publishing.

The group, which is for people already in the industry and those aspiring to work in publishing, is a positive, fun space for BAME people, but also a safe one, where people can share experiences, get advice, and make connections and find mentors. It’s time to turn the discussion around diversity in publishing from one where we moan about how terrible it all is to one where we celebrate the BAME talent already in the industry, support them, and make sure they’re visible, to the industry itself and to those wanting to join.

For people from ethnic minority backgrounds wanting to come into publishing, I have the following tips:

  • Don’t be afraid. I know it can seem daunting to be one of the only non-white faces around, but you’re paving the way for future generations, and you should always remember that.
  • Speak up. One of the valuable things about you is that you might look at the world from a slightly different perspective, so if you have an idea or an opinion, share it. (Politely and in an appropriate setting, of course.)
  • Go for paid positions. There are a number of paid internships out there, so make sure you apply for them. Work experience is fine, but working for free should only be done for a week or two absolute maximum.
  • Make connections. Find people who have done the jobs you want to do, and drop them a line to say hello and ask if they would mind you asking their advice. It’s especially easy to do this with Twitter.
  • Join BAME in Publishing!

And for publishers, a few things you could be doing:

  • Look beyond Creative Access. Creative Access is brilliant, but one intern a year in your company probably isn’t going to change anything fast.
  • Reach out to schools. London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and so many UK publishing firms are based in the capital. It’s not difficult to find schools where the make-up of pupils is diverse, so go out there and talk to them, make sure they know the many different roles and opportunities available to them at a publishing house.
  • Pay. I can’t say this enough – publishers should be paying interns and, if possible, should at least be shouting travel expenses for work experience students.
  • Widen the advertising net. Sure, The Guardian and your own website are great, but are you making an effort to reach new audiences with your job adverts? Are you advertising on Twitter and Tumblr, in publications targeting people of different ethnic backgrounds?

My hope is that, if we all work together, BAME in Publishing will no longer need to exist, and I’ll never be mistaken for that other brown girl in publishing again.

Want to find out more? Go to BAMEinpublishing.tumblr.com/faqs, email bameinpublishing@gmail.com, or leave a comment below.

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Unconscious Bias

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a fascinating workshop on unconscious bias, held by the Publishers Association and the Publishing Training Centre. Here’s what I learned:

You may have heard of it before but for the majority of us, this is something that is happening (you guessed it!) unconsciously. It is essentially snap judgements our brains make about people and situations, based on our own cultural backgrounds and experiences.

We all like to think of ourselves as enlightened and working hard to create an all-inclusive environment at work. It is built into the mission statement of most companies. So it’s scary to think that in spite of our determination to diversify, our brains are subtly leading us to assumptions about people that we may not realise but which have we have become conditioned to, due to our own experiences that happened to us in our formative years.

But don’t feel distressed that you may be guilty of unconscious bias, the experts say it’s perfectly natural. There is no way to reach adulthood without holding some unconscious bias. The important thing is to be aware of it as a phenomenon. Once we become aware of the associations our brains are making, we can resist falling into those patterns of thinking and treat everyone we encounter as the individuals they are.

Companies have been growing increasingly aware of the issue. For example, Interview panels are typically made up of several people to ensure one person’s unconscious bias doesn’t influence the final decision. Likewise, there are tests you can take which help you to recognise your own personal preferences and prejudices – like the Harvard Implicit Association Test, which was created to increase awareness about unconscious bias.

The good news is that more and more people are talking about it, and recognising a problem is always the first step towards resolving it. When we all take ownership for our unconscious biases, the sooner we can make efforts to resist them and to think clearly about people based on their merits and not our own cultural baggage.

For more info, check out the The Publishers Association website and their blog including Tackling Diversity: a PA workshop and lots more info on Diversity and Equality.

There’s also a guide to Creating a Representative Publishing Industry (click on the front cover of the guide).

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Claire Law nominated for Women in Publishing Prize!

Congratulations to Atwood Tate’s Managing Director Claire Law, who has been nominated for Women in Publishing’s Pandora Prize for significant and sustained contribution to the publishing industry!

The other nominees are Ursula Mackenzie, current chair of Little, Brown Book Group, and Lynn Michell of Linen Press.

The nominees for the New Venture Award for pioneering work on behalf of under-represented groups in society are Teika Bellamy of Mothers Milk Books, and Bel Greenwood & Lynne Bryan of Words and Women.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 9 Dec at a networking and buffet event at The Betsey Trotwood.

Order your tickets online. Members free, non-members £3. 7pm-9.30pm. Buffet food provided, pay bar. All women welcome.

Good luck to all the nominees!

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Diversity in the Publishing Industry – a workshop

In September I attended a fantastic workshop on Diversity in the Publishing Industry, hosted by The Publishers Association, in association with EQUIP, Creative Skillset, and Creative Access.

Building on events and discussions following the publication of the Writing the Future report published by Spread The Word. The workshop aimed to provide case studies and discussions on how to increase diversity and equal access to employment in the industry.

Danuta Kean started the discussions with her eye opening findings from her research with Spread the Word, looking into the representation of BAME writers and employees within UK publishing. Danuta discovered during her research that the turbulent change affecting the UK book industry in the last 10 years has unfortunately had a negative impact on attempts to become more diverse. Her findings demonstrated that Black and Asian authors are struggling for representation in the UK and there is a marked absence of ethnic minorities within trade publishing houses.
There also followed thought provoking, themed discussions on unconscious bias and an interesting case study from Kate, a Commissioning Editor at Harper Collins who talked about her involvement in the Diversity Forum in the company. There was also a chance to hear from interns from Creative Access who were able to share their first hand experiences of employment in the publishing industry.

The day ended with a practical discussion looking at the main challenges to increasing diversity and the strategies publishers can use to build diversity. As a group we discussed ideas such as the importance of education within schools to highlight the diversity of careers within publishing, banning unpaid internships which discriminate those of lower socio economic groups, better monitoring and recording of figures regarding race gender and sexual orientation of employees and industry accreditations to applaud those who maintain a diverse workforce.

The fundamental idea from the day was that publishers must move away from a homogenised workforce and employ individuals at all levels who have an understanding of the diverse communities within the UK and this is ultimately the key to remaining relevant and profitable.

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