Round Up: Week One

So, as was made evident by the last entry, I am now back from the mammoth Christmas holidays, trying to get back into the real world and running head first into Semester 2. I have just completed my first week, filled with obligatory introductory lectures which, while informative, tend to be somewhat mind-numbing. There are only so many times you can take a guided look through module documentation without feeling a little bit queasy.

That said, it has been a good week. Let the round up commence:

Monday: New Product Development (NPD)

Starting at 12 was a novel idea or would have been if not for the bus timetable I am chained to. Naturally, I was in from 9am. The session began with an introduction to our teams and a few exercises, which included coming up with five ground rules for our teamwork (my favourite was #5 Have fun, be nice, bring snacks), describing yourself beginning only with J or H and coming up with ways you can fail.

There was a short break and then we found out what the module actually entailed, something we are still a little bit confused about.  NPD is like a giant roleplay, wherein each and every one of us is part of a broad publishing company which publishes everything from Children’s to STM to Trade Non-Fiction. The lecturers are the board of directors, each taking on a department. We are split into divisions and inside those divisions (made up of 7/8 people) we are split into departments too.

My team were given the Humanities and Social Sciences division, a division which, according to the scenario, has shown some complacency but did well with collections/journals/series on ethnology, particularly their Balkan and Native American series. From what I gather, we have to come up with a new list (both digital and print products) and win over the board with our proposal, convincing them that we deserve the money to see through our ideas.

I am not particularly well-versed in HumSoc but after spending 12 weeks at Berghahn, I do feel I have some idea of what we’re doing, which is comforting. I will be taking the role of head of Design in our division as well as assistant to the head of Production and we will be teaming up on top of that to focus on the Digital opportunities for our division. Both of us are taking the digital module, it seemed like a good fit.

After being talked through the different board members and the module handbook, we were given an informative slide show about the module and then sent off to our own little seminar rooms (one per group) to talk about said module and try to decide what we were doing. We had a lot of questions but our group seems pretty solid, so solid we will be having cupcakes and team bonding time over the weekend. As we know, cupcakes are very important.

Tuesday: Children’s

As introductory sessions go, Children’s was pretty good. We got to look at various books (and I got to geek out about one to my lecturer at the end of class, which was satisfying) and were given a run-through of what was happening in the world of Children’s, as well as a quick author quiz. Next week, we will be viewing a special collection of very old children’s books and in a few weeks we get to go and play with the Wonderbook in Wheatley. I can’t wait, even if getting there might be a bit of a hassle.

We will be having lots of visiting speakers, which promise to be interesting, and while others are off to Bologna Book Fair we who are left behind may be getting a copy writing master class (specifically for children’s books) with Sue Miller. There is definitely a silver lining to not being able to afford to travel to Italy on your birthday.

Wednesday: Digital Media Publishing

I won’t talk about the visiting speaker here, as I blogged extensively about that on Wednesday, check out my last entry. Instead, I will hop, jump and skip to the introductory session. If you follow me on twitter, you will have seen the live tweeting of intermingled sass and excitement (the former fills me with a small amount of guilt – sometimes you just need to sass). Despite what my twitter might suggest, it does sound like it will be a good module, it is just that most of the things we were told in the introduction we were told as part of two different modules last semester so it wasn’t anything new.

I did, however, get a bit of feedback on my first assignment. It’s not due in until week three but being the keen bean that I am, and already knowing the basics of HTML and CSS, I attempted it before the semester started. According to my lecturer, it is looking good. Excellent.

Major Project Meeting

Also taking place on Wednesday, I had a meeting about my major project. My idea has changed since I last blogged about it but I will still not be revealing what that idea is until the proposal has been handed in and approved. My idea was liked and I may possibly get an internship with a Children’s publisher – though, it’s a very small office and it may not happen but it’s nice that she’s trying to help me.

I now just need to work on the proposal of my major project, which is scary in itself and something I should be getting on with rather than writing this blog.

But instead we skip to Friday because my Thursday productivity plans went up the spout when I lost something important and then had to find it again. I did, however, do some work on my proposal and write some of this blog.

Friday: Market Research and Fun

It’s quite good that my Thursday plummeted, it meant I was able to do a little bit of work then have a long break of fun and play involving Doctor Who Monopoly (in which I got rich and then ended up in jail with very little to my name) and friends and French food followed by more work when I got home.

On the subject of work, I have recently accepted a work experience position with Dodona, a one-person publishing operation which produces local calendars, as well as diaries and coasters and the like. The position is mostly market research and looking for local photographers to take part in a possible local Oxford/Cotswold calendar and Friday, today, was the first time I’ve been able to go out and get things done. True, all I managed to get done was to glance at some shelves in a few book shops but it has given me some idea of what to ask when I talk to supervisors (hopefully on Sunday before team-building/getting-to-know-each-other shenanigans in Jericho). I still have to work out the best way to present my findings and I am currently thinking ‘report’.

Now that I’ve had all of my introductory sessions, it is time to get my head down and crank up the work hours and with that, despite the time, I go back to work on my proposal. Let the proposing commence.

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