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Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference 2017

By uczcmsm, on 15 November 2017

Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference Room

On Monday (13th November) the London Book Fair and the Publisher’s Association held the second Inclusivity in Publishing Conference. The day was insightful and motivating, filled with interesting and inspiring panel members. The aim of the day was to address the diversity issues in the industry with a big emphasis on what we can do to move forwards! A quick summary of the day goes:


Managing Disability in the Workplace

Kiren Shoman – SAGE Publishing (Chair), Andie Gbedeman and Mark Brooke – Dimensions UK, Vicki Partridge – Books Beyond Words

We need to move away from the misconceptions regarding what people are capable of and look at what every individual can offer. The recruitment process needs to be flexible; for example, working interviews are less intimidating for people with learning disabilities. Training can be provided for employees to help them communicate with colleagues who may communicate differently to them, including using pictures, accessible easy-read documents and ‘Listen-Up’ training. It is vital to provide positive narratives about people with disabilities in children’s books and not to make disability the focus.


Keynote: Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Creative Industries

Different perspectives are invaluable in such a diverse country. Positively, new imprints are emerging that are focused on diversity and schemes have been setup to improve diversity in entry level roles. A theme that continued throughout the day was the economic benefit of diversity. ‘Diversity is opening the door. Inclusion is inviting people through it’.


Mirroring Inclusivity – How Role Models are Building an Inclusive Industry

Simon Dawson-Collins and Nancy Adimora – HarperCollins

Role models need to reflect the diversity in society so that all young people can see themselves mirrored in higher roles. To ensure this happens, there need to be lots of different people involved in the recruitment process. They also mentioned the importance of talking about diversity. For our industry this will both develop a more diverse readership and the ability to understand and reach them in the employment force. Unconscious bias training should be given to recruitment employees, and to as many members of staff as possible.


Looks Like Me

Selma Nicholls

Selma told us the story of her daughter feeling out of place in society and not considering herself beautiful because of the images she was bombarded with everyday. Selma, passionately and proactively, then told us what she has done to change this. Looks Like Me is a talent and casting agency that strives to create imagery that reflects all young people. They work with many companies and started the incredible campaign: #sowhiteproject. She invited us to be the change we want to see, a call for all of us to address injustice.


Getting Writers from Minorities Published – Supply Chain Challenges

Chris Gribble – Writer’s Centre Norwich (Chair), Sharmaine Lovegrove – Dialogue Books, Emma Paterson – Rogers, Coleridge & White, Monica Parle – First Story.

There needs to be a genuine desire to make diversity happen. It’s not about the industry doing BAME citizens a favour, it’s about what they can do for us. The panel discussed ways in which we can achieve truly publishing for the whole of society: being less London-centric and making jobs more transparent (so people know of the abundant roles in publishing and can strive for them). We should look forward to the day that this conversation can end.


Audience Development: British Asian Community

Abir Makherjee

As a British Asian, Abir Makherjee says that we must change to cater to the demands of this changing society. As an accountant, Abir was appalled by how much further ahead the finance industry are in battling this issue. Paying for diverse talent is not an expense, it is an investment. We need to see growth in genre fiction from BAME writers, to extend marketing into other channels, to forge links with key community organisations, to take minority authors into schools and societies. Publishers need to be more culturally aware.


Broadening Inclusivity in Entry-Level Recruitment in Publishing

Nancy Roberts – Business Inclusivity (Chair), Linas Alsenas – Pride in Publishing, Heidi Mulvey – Cambridge University Press, Siena Parker – Penguin Random House

This panel discussed the ways in which their companies are trying to increase diversity. CUP have created many apprenticeship roles for people leaving school. Penguin Random House have started a randomised work experience program to give everyone an equal opportunity. They also now use video interviews and other technologies for the recruitment process to focus on talent rather than ‘type’ of person. Linas Alsenas has recently created ‘Pride in Publishing’ which aims to create a networking and social space for LGBTQ+ employees.


Diverse City

Jamie Beddard

Working in the arts industry, Jamie described how storytelling is key to: understanding, empathy, contextualising and re-imaging. We need to be telling untold stories and listen to unheard voices to develop a more inclusive and understanding society. We need to value people’s differences.


June Sarpong in conversation with Razia Iqbal

Razia and June discussed June Sarpong’s new book, Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration, and her career in the media industry. June addressed how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Her book not only addresses issues of race but also age, disability and gender. To hear more from June herself I would recommend listening to the CTRL, ALT, DEL podcast here.


The day finished with a presentation from Equal Approach on what they can do to help our industry diversify and company and individual’s pledges to address this issue and move forward, hopefully ending the discussion altogether.


To see more follow #inclusivityconf2017

MA Publishing Students at Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference

‘The Wild Wild West of Records Management’! An Award Winner’s Conference Experience

By uczcvlp, on 8 June 2015

irms‘Welcome to the Wild Wild West of Wales’ was the theme of the opening evening of the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) Conference 2015, held from 17th – 19th May.

As well as reflecting the new Welsh location of the Conference for 2015, at the rather spectacular Celtic Manor Resort – a change of scene from the Conference’s usual residence at the Hilton Metropole Brighton – this (rather tongue-in-cheek) theme of the opening night resonated with the broader purpose of the Conference: to explore the reality that information professionals are working at the frontiers of cutting-edge new advances of understanding around the uses of information, records and data. The emphasis was on dialogue, learning and discovery around what this means for our sector, our society, our world – even human progress at large.

I was lucky enough to attend the full conference courtesy of the Society, being this year’s recipient of the Alison North Award for New Professionals. The prize – full conference attendance and the opportunity for mentoring time with RM author, consultant and award sponsor Alison North – is awarded annually for the best essay submitted by someone in the first 3 years of their career in the sector, based on a reflection on their information and records management experience.

Before I began my Archives and Records Management MA with UCL, I spent some time working in public sector records management, in a large professional team with an advanced electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) in place. This RM programme, like countless others, makes heavy use of a network of 250+ non-professional office staff, trained to assist their colleagues with information management matters and to administer their local area of the EDRMS. This arrangement struck me as less than ideal, especially as this additional role was not voluntary, not salaried, and on top of an employee’s daily work (as is invariably the case elsewhere), and my entry to the Award was a critique of this element of so many business-as-usual RM programmes. I feel that there are better ways of encouraging end-user buy-in and take-up that keeps records management systems as a help, rather than a hindrance, for all users.

Award presentation with Alison North, Award Sponsor (left) and Meic Pierce Owen, IRMS Chair (right).

Alison North (far left) and IRMS Chair Meic Pierce Owen (far right).

Consistent with the intrepid theme of that first evening, and indeed of the entire event, this conference was a new experience for me. Such an opportunity to meet, network and engage with experienced professional colleagues is truly irreplaceable, and I learnt a great deal not only about the enormous value (in every sense of the word, including fiscal) that can be ascribed to the information we create, receive, manage and use, and to our professional endeavour, but also of the huge potential that there is in this sector for interdisciplinary, cross-profession collaboration, dialogue and learning: I heard talks by experts in digital preservation, information architecture, system, software and storage developers, international business, asset management and information compliance, as well as from the Deputy Director of the US Department of Navy’s division for records management – a speaker who generated a lot of audience interest.

The official theme of the conference was ‘Information: the new currency’, and this bold statement elicited strong responses in disagreement as well as in agreement – as I am sure it was intended to. In the breakout sessions I attended, there were memorable arguments both for and against, from both practical and theoretical perspectives. Jon Garde from RSD (an international Information Governance solutions developer) proposed information as actual currency, something to which we ascribe value as a medium of exchange, with a fluctuating market value in business, using ideas from Infonomics (Information + Economics). He closed by suggesting that the Information Managers of the future will be the ‘Information Accountants’ of businesses.


IRMS Conference 2015

At the opposite end of the spectrum of information value, Alan Bell from Information Compliance at Dundee University posited that information today is so ubiquitous, it is not a currency at all, but rather a commodity. He drew on the thinking of UCL’s own Geoffrey Yeo in exploring the nature of recorded information, as well as managing to weave Elvis and Fifty Shades of Grey (or was it Records Management…?) into his talk.

I took away from these contrasting viewpoints that ‘information’ today remains malleable and context-bound in nature and value, as well as in form, and that this malleability poses questions as well as opportunities for all of us. Does information decrease in value to us because there is more of it, or does it rather increase in value? For me, it is the very volatility information’s value today that presents us with the greatest opportunities in human history, as well as, arguably, the greatest risks.

The IRMS Conference 2015 was altogether a superb experience, and will remain a landmark in my career. My thanks must go to the fantastic IRMS Exec, who made me so welcome and the event so memorable. I also thank the Archives and Records Management programme staff here, who brought the award to my attention and whose excellent guidance and teaching over the last year has encouraged me to see that a new professional such as myself can – and should – share my thoughts with the wider profession. Everyone has something to offer, perhaps now more than ever. It is a challenging but certainly exciting time to be an Information and Records Management professional.

I should also say that the Wild West-themed opening evening did not disappoint: a rooftop garden barbeque was accompanied by highly appropriate entertainment – I will always bear in mind that a Bucking Bronco acts as an excellent ice-breaker!

Reading for Excellence by Becky Scott

By Anne Welsh, on 17 November 2014


I recently attended the School Library Association’s Reading for Excellence one day conference.

Wendy Cooling MBE, founder of Bookstart, opened the day with an inspirational talk on her own journey of reading and libraries. Reading for her meant two words: power and passion. Reading, she believes, gives young people power and without it they have very few choices. Passion, as librarians, is what we all have for reading and we have a responsibility to ignite this in our young people.

Dr Clare Wood then presented a number of studies conducted from the Reading Research and Insights into Achievement centre at the University of Coventry. A recent study by PHD student Emily Harrison investigated the link between children’s ability to hear speech rhythm and their progress in reading. Her research is not yet in the public domain but previous research by Corriveau et al on auditory processing skills and language and literacy achievement is available.

Clare also spoke about a study by Smith et al on reading enjoyment and how despite a steady improvement in children’s reading ability between the ages 8 – 12, their enjoyment and self-efficacy declines. As a school librarian working with children in this age group, this is of particular interest to me. One finding of the research suggested that 80% of pupils enjoyed books that they selected for themselves. This highlights the importance of reading for pleasure and the need for us as adults, librarians, teachers and parents to reconsider what we view as legitimate reading and the importance of validating pupils’ own reading selection choices.

Karen Goulding, Learning Hub Director at the University of Reading, challenged us to consider our library space and ask ourselves: “Are we making a substantial impact on all children? How do we decide what to include? Do we realise that means we make choices about exclusion too?” This was a powerful insight into thinking about school libraries. Karen advised us spend time simply observing how pupils move around the space, what sections they are drawn to and which areas they overlook. She also emphasised the need to engage with our users and develop a clear strategy for moving our libraries forward.

There was also the chance to participate in a workshop. I selected Thinking Skills and Reading because I want to develop a deeper understanding of the role of reading across the whole curriculum. Sue Dixon, founder of the Thinking Child, stimulated us with a range of practical activities which we could take back and explore with our pupils. Sue highlighted the importance of pupils as social and political critical thinkers in our information rich society. The activities were designed to promote curiosity, imagination and questioning.

The day concluded with a talk from Marilyn Mottram, Her Majesty’s Ofsted Inspector, Deputy National Lead for English and Literacy. The audience welcomed the recognition of the importance for reading for pleasure in the new curriculum. Marilyn identified that 10.2% of pupils aged between 8 – 16 do not enjoy reading at all. This is a challenge for schools to overcome and it is through partnership that it can be achieved. Everyone in education has a role to play. It begins with being a reader yourself and as a librarian being ready to share your subject knowledge and passion with teachers, parents, and of course, pupils.


Becky Scott (@the_bookette), School Librarian, St Aubyn’s School, is completing her MA LIS part-time.

Image: St Aubyn’s School Library by Becky Scott, used with permission.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Becky Scott is the sole author of this piece, and also holds the copyright for the image.

CILIP New Professionals Day 2014 by George Bray

By Anne Welsh, on 11 October 2014

The UX workshop, tweeted by @jonasherriot

Tweet: @jonasherriot

Yesterday I attended CILIP’s New Professionals Day. Of the eight workshops that ran, each person could go to four, so the following account is selective in coverage.

Simon Edwards (CILIP) pointed out the paradox of a world where information’s value was increasingly acknowledged, but where information professionals were often considered unimportant. It is up to individuals to ensure that we make our relevance apparent; we need to keep up with current trends, expand our networks and perspectives, and always remember the importance of continuing professional development.

Workshop: Hooked on a (UX) feeling: research, users and academic libraries:
Georgina Cronin (University of Cambridge) led an engaging workshop on UX (user experience) research. Typically associated with web design, it offers vast scope for improving library services and providing observational data when librarians need to prove their services’ value. Attendees undertook some ‘cognitive mapping’ UX research, wherein we made drawings of our study- and work spaces, subsequently reflecting on the significance of the order in which we drew them.


Workshop: The Library of Birmingham: rewriting the book:
Dawn Beaumont (Library of Birmingham) spoke on the context and content of one of the UK’s biggest public libraries. She emphasised that public libraries constantly need to justify themselves to people who do not understand the tremendous value of such places for society’s vulnerable groups. It was surprising to learn that Birmingham Library is as frequently used as a space for events, social and business meetings as it is accessed as a ‘traditional’ library service, though this continues to play a fundamental role.

Keynote presentation:
Jan Parry (CILIP) gave advice derived from years of experience in government libraries. Her main message was the importance of keeping ourselves active in our careers, knowing what to do and what to look out for in order to help broaden our prospects and get to where we want to be. We must keep our work interesting and challenging, and not be afraid to ‘move sideways’ if we cannot ‘move up’.

Workshop: Professional registration:
Franko Kowalczuk (CILIP Candidate Support Officer) presented useful guidance on the registration process, including the types of material in a portfolio used when applying for Chartership. Since a lot of the process involves the ability to think and write reflectively, attendees were asked to reflect on a recent event/activity in which they had taken part. What had we learned from it and how did we intend to incorporate our experiences into future work?

Maddie2Workshop: Make yourself a ‘must have’ and go places:
Emily Allbon (City University) offered tips on improving our professional value and marketability. These included: gaining insight into our libraries’ broader organisations and how our activities contribute to their goals; not being limited to ‘library stuff’ and getting involved with other disciplines, widening networks and perspectives; developing new skills and improving existing ones; being able to foster expertise as well as more generic transferable skills; and raising our profiles (i.e. cultivating a social media presence and ‘getting noticed’).


This was a very interesting and useful day. It was great to meet and talk with a variety of information professionals and the workshops were very thought-provoking.


George Bray (@NexGenGB) is studying for his MA LIS this year.

Inset tweets: Maddie House (@thevonfresh), who is taking her MA LIS part-time while working.

Image: Jonas Herriot

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was postedby Anne Welsh. George Bray is the sole author of this piece, with tweets by Maddie House and Jonas Herriot.