Ahead of Wednesday’s AGM, where we hand over to our brand new committee, one of our two co-chairs for 2015-16, Julie Stirling, looks back on the year. Do make sure to join us on Wednesday the 30th for a night to meet the old and new committee, chat and drink! Full AGM info can be found here.
As the AGM approaches and myself and my co-chair look to hand over the reins, I wanted to take a look back over what has been an incredible year for the SYP in Scotland! I think this has arguably been the best year yet for the society. Not only have we hosted our brilliant monthly events, every single month of the last year, but we have also hosted our first ever conference, which in itself has been a year in the making.
Every month our dedicated committee has met up to pitch ideas and get planning – it’s a haven for creative thinkers – and equally for practical livewires! You can check out our event posts and 2015 round-up for a full list of what we’ve been up to.
My own personal highlights were our May and October events. In May we were thrilled to host local paper artist and bookbinder, Rachel Hazell, who took us on a journey of exploration through the physical book. Goodie bags were made, thinking caps were adorned and little wonders were created for the coveting owners to take home and ponder. The bookseller in me was particularly pleased to hear so many of our members enthusiastically discussing the value of the physical book and its importance in delivering narrative.
Our October event saw us taking a look at the design of a book, From Concept to Customer. From the designer who works on the cover, and finally the bookseller who puts it in the hands of the customer, this fantastic event walked our members through the whole process of making a single book – and really put their value into perspective.
I am proud to say that in this last year we have aimed to curate diverse and substantial events which cater not just for publishers, but for authors and artists too. Our partnering with PPA Scotland saw us host an event that looked at how magazine publishing models were evolving and revolutionising the industry – opening up a dialogue with our members about how different areas of the industry can inform and influence each other and moving us away from our usual focus on trade publishing. The same can be said about working with local creatives too – such as with our bookbinding workshop; which not only supported Rachel’s craft, but also brought new skills to a new audience.
Another exciting partnership was in November, where we were extremely proud to partner with The Saltire Society on their Annual Literary Awards, by providing a shadow judging panel, made up of students, young professionals and our members. The shadow judges were invited to attend the awards ceremony and meet the makers of the books they had been judging. It was yet another unique and inspiring opportunity offered by the society.
Mentoring Scheme & Student Talks
We are now in our third year of our popular mentor scheme which aims to connect young publishers with a professional in their field of interest who will mentor them throughout their studies. This year we successfully paired 25 members who applied for the scheme with an industry mentor!
We have attended Stirling, Napier and Glasgow Universities to talk to students about publishing and about our society. We also hosted a welcome Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for Napier and Stirling students, which was very well received! If you would like us to visit your University please do get in touch.
Talking about amazing and unique opportunities I must now say a few words about our first conference, 2020: A Publishing Odyssey – not only an appropriate title for the day but for our committee, for an odyssey it was – an epic journey from its conception to its completion! We were awed by the phenomenal support shown from across the industry – from our speakers, sponsors, artists, exhibitors, and delegates – every person involved went the extra mile to make the day a success. Our huge thanks goes out to all of them.
Our wonderful keynote, Nick Barley, hit the nail on the head when he spoke of his belief that books can change the world, and that the need for conviction and bravery in the publishing industry is alive now more than ever.
As co-chair it has been a privilege to have had such an incredible team working tirelessly, to not only organise our monthly events, but to produce a conference that exceeded all of our expectations on top of that. The strength of the society and its success is down to the tenacity and commitment of its volunteers and I could not feel more proud of our amazing committee for the achievements of the last year.
I for one, cannot wait to see what’s next.
Join us at our AGM this Wednesday. We look forward to seeing you there.