EL7045 - People in Publishing

What will I learn on this module?

This module will analyse publishing structures and practices and explore how forces both inside and outside publishing are impacting on the ways in which the industry approaches inclusivity, diversity and representation. The module will focus on people working with the industry and in organisations that connect closely to it, as well as deepening students’ awareness of the lives and careers of authors.

You will learn about the law and policy contexts of inclusivity, diversity and representation for people with protected characteristics and those from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the creative industries. Teaching will examine inclusivity policies and practices, business strategy and audience development. You will explore the history, current balance and cultural context of representation within the creative industries and publishing and writing in particular by drawing on recent published work, reports, articles and interviews with writers, publishers and activists. You will examine the concept of free speech and freedom of expression as they impact within the publishing context drawing on both an understanding of the law and presentations from relevant organisations working to uphold freedom of expression in the UK and internationally. Thinking about representation through a wider lens you will consider how translation and international partnerships contribute to widening dialogue and representation and consider the unique place they occupy in the publishing landscape. Module sessions will explore free speech, the ethics of publishing, literature sector bodies, prize culture, festivals and international events.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered via a series of lectures and workshop discussions with industry professionals, researchers, writers, campaigning groups and activists. Associated reading will include studies of the creative industries, recent key texts about access and representation and reports and research published by a wide variety of organisations. You will learn by engaging with the people who are leading change within the industry and will ultimately gain an understanding of how to consider, apply and support progressive movements and diversity and inclusivity activities.

Working with industry experts, you will gain an understanding of the current profile of diversity and inclusivity policies, practice and frameworks and how they seek to change and improve the publishing landscape. You will also gain understanding of the operating context of commercial publishers and the wider cultural sector. You will learn about and from the wider cultural and societal debates that inform the delivery of work in this area and gain a view of the how cultural norms and expectations have changed, and are changing over time. You will be informed about representation and inclusivity within the creative industries and how recent research and cultural movements are raising awareness and shaping change within the industry.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Working with your module tutor you will:

• Gain confidence in the use of appropriate language and terms reflective of this area of work
• Discuss ideas in an open and respectful forum
• Formulate your own responses to ideas in the module
• Be supported to examine your own unconscious biases and to understand your own perspective
• Think critically about the specific issues raised by the module and how to apply them to your future professional aspirations

Assessment and tutorial support will be available through consultation with the module tutor, while the e-learning platform will provide additional opportunities for engagement with students and staff on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Show understanding of the practices, structures and challenges across different publishing sectors, the socio-cultural and economic contexts of the publishing industry and the role of EDI;
• Demonstrate knowledge of research and practice and evaluate these in terms of contemporary opportunities and challenges

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Reflect critically on practice and organisational management
• Demonstrate communication skills and collaborative working practices
• Critically review and evaluate relevant research to inform your thinking and perspectives

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Demonstrate the capacity to work as a member of a team, professional development and to understand the various roles in publishing in a wider commercial and professional context;
• develop awareness of issues relating to discrimination and barriers associated with exclusion within the publishing industry.

How will I be assessed?

Summative (week 5)
Group Pitch to Class: identify an existing EDI issue in publishing and offer a critical review of existing interventions and solutions (equivalent 2000 words)

Summative (assessment week 2)
Essay: drawing on a literature review of relevant research, policies and procedures students will produce a response to a live brief challenge relating to an EDI issue in the publishing workplace. The essay will require historical and industry context as well as legal and ethical considerations to approach the challenge and propose potential solutions (3000 words).





Module abstract

In this module you will explore how diversity, inclusivity and representation work within publishing and the wider creative industries in relation to writing and production. The module will examine perspectives on the protected characteristics of disability, gender, ethnicity and religion and those of social class and how they impact on representation issues within publishing. It will consider how the intersection of protected characteristics can present barriers both for access and representation and we will explore recent movements, leadership and progress that are seeking to change the landscape for the better. We will consider the place-based and regional perspective on access and explore how recruitment practices and creative access to careers in writing, publishing and the broader creative industries works. To understand these issues, you will hear from publishers, writers, researchers, organisations and activists who are leading change within their industries and related creative industry sectors.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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