What is the Spare Room Project and how does it work?
Let’s be honest, opportunities in the publishing industry are mainly in London and this can be a real obstacle for anyone looking to enter the industry from outside of the capital. This is where the Spare Room Project comes in. In 2016, James Spackman (publisher and consultant) with the support of the Publishers Association, set up this project, which provides aspiring publishers with the opportunity to stay in the city for free and take up work experience placements.
So how does it work? It’s simple really: interns are matched with hosts who are willing to offer their spare room for a week. If you sign up to the Spare Room Project, you’ll be added to a mailing list and alerted when there are new lodgers to host. There’s no immediate obligation to host and you only need reply when you see dates that will work for you. I would urge anyone with a spare room to sign up and see whether you can help now or in the future.
Helen’s experience hosting interns
I’m excited to be hosting my third Spare Room Project intern in June. Not being a Londoner by upbringing, I am sympathetic to the challenges facing anyone looking to enter the industry from outside of the publishing hubs of London, Oxford and Cambridge, so it’s been great to be involved in this scheme. It’s not only good to be doing something practical to enable those without existing contacts to gain an insight into publishing and hopefully get a foot in the door, but it’s also been an enjoyable and enriching experience from my point of view. We’ve had two quite different guests so far, one who was a huge fan of musical theatre and managed to get cheap tickets for shows most evenings, so we hardly saw her and our second guest, who quickly became part of the family and was a huge hit with (and incredibly tolerant of) my children. Quite different experiences, but both were perfect lodgers and no problem at all to host.
You can find out more here https://thespareroomproject.co.uk/ or on their Twitter, @SpareRoomProj, and don’t just take my word for it, read some of the testimonials on the PA’s website and check out their FAQs https://www.publishers.org.uk/activities/inclusivity/spare-room-project/.